Webster defines a mentor as “a trusted counselor or guide.” I think back 70 years ago when I was 13 (sometimes I can recall that era, but not last week!) and had just discovered fishing.
Two blocks from my home was a younger kid named Andrew Mulcay III. He might have been a year or two younger, but he had the fishing “smarts.” He became my first angling mentor, although I didn’t know enough to call him that.
He raised his own worms in a deep wooden box in his back yard and fed them grounds from his father’s coffee. He cut down bamboo canes six or seven feet in length and hung them tip down from a higher limb. A brick tied to the tip assured him that the cane pole would be straight once it dried.
Andy took me two or three places within easy bicycle rides from our neighborhood. One of our favorites was the deep hole below the Lake Aumond spillway off Walton Way. Every species of fish to be found in the lake was in that hole: largemouth bass, black crappies, bluegills, warmouth (big mouths, small bodies) and catfish.
There were many flat rocks in the Rae’s Creek bed below the spillway and we’d lift them up, finding tough-skinned helgrammites armed with pincers in their jaws. We’d cut off those – they hurt when they pinched one’s fingers – and thread the body onto a size 12 “bream hook.”
Andy wouldn’t use a sinker or a cork, letting the baited hook fall naturally into the hole, which was six or seven feet deep. Then he’d watch the tip of his pole and if it moved, he’d set the hook. Naturally, I copied everything he did and soon became “expert” in catching those fish.
Sadly, Andy is no longer with us, but the fishing lessons he taught I still remember to this day. Later, I “graduated” to learning how to cast with bait-casting, spinning, spin-casting and fly fishing outfits, but I’ll never forget those cane pole days of the late 1940s and early ‘50s.
Professional guide Billy Murphy hasn’t been able to fish, but said his buddy Larry Freeman, of Grovetown, was with a two-boat party on Thurmond Lake last Tuesday. They fished live herring around submerged trees and wound up with a total of 50 fish, including a 9-pound striper.
Capt. David Willard, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed, fulltime professional guide specializing in hybrids, striped bass and trophy largemouth bass. Boat phone: (706) 214-0236. (803) 637-6379 (www.crockettrocketstriperfishing.com) – Water temperatures 48 to 52 degrees depending on the time of the day. It’s still cold. We’ve been doing some scouting for some folks who want to go, but bad weather periods have made it difficult. We’re picking up some nice fish in the shallows, especially in the afternoon. We’re also catching some nice perch on small minnows. The perch are at 30 to 40 feet with an occasional striper or hybrid from that depth. Seven to 10 feet are the magic numbers for fishing live herring behind planer boards in the shallows. I am expecting some more cold weather and don’t expect fishing to improve until mid March.
William Sasser’s Guide Service, (Capt. William Sasser, Capt. Bradd Sasser, Capt. Andrew Tubbs, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed, full time professional guides specializing in crappies, hybrids and striped bass). (William) (706) 589-5468, (Bradd) (706) 267-4313, (Andrew) (803) 507-5083 – Bradd Sasser: The lake level has crept up to 324 feet (about six feet below normal pool) and by the time everything settles down over the next few days (rain forecast for the weekend), the lake should rise some more. Surface temperatures are hovering around 50 degrees and the lake is expected to be stained from the rain. The downline bite for stripers and hybrids has been fantastic, especially right around daybreak, and it continues steadily throughout the day. The fish are schooled up more along the channel edges and creek mouths around humps and points. Move into 25 to 45 feet in the early morning and brace yourselves for a feeding frenzy. Then the schools move into 30 to 60 feet of water and are still feeding, but chumming with bits of chopped herring and tapping on the boat’s deck with a cane or stick have been crucial to holding the fish beneath the boat. We are seeing an early movement of fish moving back to mid areas of the lake and also to the Cherokee Creek side of Little River Bridge. Crappie fishing has been phenomenal with slab-sized crappies being caught from the bank and also trolling doll flies near shoreline cover. Dark-colored jigs with light-colored tails have been extremely productive, especially when the jigs are tipped with small live shiners.
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MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS
Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, (706 722-8263 – There are multiple ponds offering good fishing for largemouth bass, bream and shellcracker, crappies and catfish.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – Pity the poor periwinkle. Why? During periods of full moon, the tide reaches areas it doesn’t normally reach. Periwinkles cling to marsh grass in those areas and are safe until redfish swim in with the high tides. Then you’ll see the tiny snails climbing higher on the blades of grass because their instincts tell them they could become a fish’s meal. When fishermen see the snails high in the grass, they know to fish for the nearby redfish. Save the Snails!
Our artificial reefs and the Savannah Snapper Banks are holding some very nice sheepshead, black drum, trophy redfish and flounder. There are lots of bottom-huggers off the banks, including black sea bass, vermilion snapper, all kids of porgies and trigger fish. Yes, they all are biting.