The future of sport fishing in the Augusta area just turned brighter, with the organization of fishing teams at North Augusta Middle School and Augusta State University.
The teams received a boost recently when the 22 bass clubs of the Clark Hill Committee voted to support both teams materially and financially. Hayes Marine, of Appling, is also supporting the North Augusta kids, while Martinez-based Buckeye Lures is doing the same for both teams.
Clark Hill Committee members led by Larry Gilpin, as well as Buckeye, donated a bunch of fishing tackle to the North Augusta team at North Augusta Country Club on Wednesday afternoon. The team is coached by Sean Hall, with plenty of assistance from “Den Mom” Jeannine Wilson.
The Augusta State team is sparked by Wesley Steinmeyer, of Appling, who serves as president. It was the Augusta State freshman’s idea in the first place and he quickly worked to get school authorities sold on the program. Vice president is Shane Wyatt; secretary is Amanda Rogers, and treasurer is Lucas Johnson, all of Harlem.
Steinmeyer and Kiwanas Andrews, of Lincolnton, Ga., represented the team in the FLW College Fishing program on Lake Okeechobee in Florida last Jan. 21. They placed 13th out of 40 teams. Steinmeyer and Johnson will compete in the next tournament on Lake Seminole on March 24. They are competing in the Southeastern Conference which includes Georgia, Clemson, Auburn and Georgia Southern.
College events are set up around the FLW EverStart Series. Those tournaments with a field of 150 pros run Thursday through Saturday, with just the top 10 fishing the final day. “We ask for volunteers who do not make the top 10 to take the college teams fishing on Saturdays,” said Julie Huber, an FLW spokesperson. “It has worked well.”
The North Augustans are a part of the Youth Fishing League, a program supported by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources and The Bass Federation of South Carolina. There are currently 12 schools involved and if the number climbs to16 or more, the S.C. High School League could then consider making bass fishing an official high school sport, according to a story in the current issue of S.C. Wildlife magazine..
North Augusta Country Club Manager Cary Lonis is working with the middle school team, allowing the kids to practice in the clubs’ ponds, as well as hold tournaments there.
• Condolences to the family of pro guide Tommy Dudley, of Plum Branch, S.C., whose mother, Delaine, 82, died Wednesday after an extended illness.
Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington and Doug Pentecost), (706) 595-5582 – James Jenkins, of Dearing, caught 26 crappies on yellow jigs. Don Ginder, of Thomson, caught nine crappies and an 8-pound, 6-ounce largemouth, fishing minnows. James Graham caught 20 crappies on jigs and minnows. Marquis Chisolm caught 30 crappies and one largemouth bass on minnows and jigs. Debbie and Jay Percival, of Raysville, caught 22 crappies on jigs and minnows. Lee Benson, of Statesboro, Ga., caught a 5¼-pound largemouth on a chartreuse plastic worm and also four crappies.
Capt. David Willard, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed, fulltime professional guide specializing in hybrids and striped bass and trophy largemouth bass. (Boat phone: (706) 214-0236. (803) 637-6379 (www.crockettrocketstriperfishing.com) – I continue to have to reschedule trips due to rain and high wind, but that’s typical for March. On the good weather days, we have really gotten into the fish. I’ve had groups from as far away as Michigan and they have had a blast, catching 4- to 6-pound slab hybrids, 8- to 12-pound stripers and 3- to 5-pound largemouths. One of the families, the Margraves – Glenn, Kyle and Ryan – had a bad fishing season due to a mild winter that did not allow the lakes in their Upper Peninsula region of Michigan to freeze over. They were visiting locally and decided to try our fishery. They had a great day, catching some of the largest fish of their lives.
Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide specializing in largemouth bass. (706) 860-7373 – Kirk Daniel and I fished in Grays Creek on Thursday and Kirk caught four bass on a Bandit crank bait with red eyes, square bill and yellow belly. Biggest fish weighed 4 pounds. He also caught four jacks. I caught one jack. The fish were off steep banks.
My new show features The Bassmasters. Fishing with Ralph Barbee airs Saturdays at 11 a.m., and Sundays at 1:30 p.m. on Comcast Channel 21, WRDW-My12, Knology Ch. 7, Atlantic Broadband (Aiken) Ch. 7 and Charter Ch. 9 (Fort Gordon).
Billy Murphy, professional guide, with twins Brad and Jim (706) 733-0124 (Web site www.doubletroublefishingguides.com) – Winds finally calmed down enough for my friend, Doug Holland, and I to head for the lake. We checked for crappies on the 45 trees that we put out this year. There wasn’t a lot of fish hanging around them because the trees were in deeper water than the crappies. We caught most of our 27 crappies in four to five feet of water, trolling Hal-Flies 18 inches below the corks. Most of the fish were four-finger size so we put them back. We kept eight larger fish which we caught trolling in 10 to 12 feet of water without corks. Doug caught the biggest of the trip, a 2¼-pounder.
William Sasser’s Guide Service, (Capt. William Sasser and Capt. Mark Crawford, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed, full time professional guides specializing in crappies, hybrids and striped bass). (706) 589-5468 (William), (706) 373-8347 (Mark) or (864) 333-2000. (Clark Hill Herring Hut) – Mark: George and Janet Burttram, of Savannah Lakes Village, caught two 18-pound stripers and two largemouth bass of 3 to 4 pounds. The fish came on live herring and rainbow trout pulled behind planer boards. William: Steve Price and Adam Jackson, both of Greenville, S.C., caught a limit of 8-pound hybrids and 10- to 12-pound stripers. John and Mary Mixon and son Jay and his wife, Heather, all of Augusta, caught 15 hybrids.
Bradd Sasser, Clark Hill Herring Hut, Clarks Hill, S.C. (864) 333-2000 – Derrick Williams, of Martinez, caught a 26-pound striper on cut herring fishing by the dam, His rod broke and he had to handline the fish in. Limits of stripers and hybrids are being caught early and late between the S.C. welcome center and the off-limits cable, dowlining herring 30 to 40 feet.
NORTH GEORGIA MOUNTAIN STREAMS
Carter and Hunter Morris, licensed professional guides specializing in fly fishing for rainbow, brook and brown trout. (706) 833-1083 (www.flyfishingnorthgeorgia.com) (facebook.com/flyfishingnorthgeorgia) – With so many choices of trout streams where fishing is good right now, it’s a bit difficult to recommend one over another. I floated the Toccoa River a couple of times this week and caught a lot of rainbows and browns each day on San Juan worms and black hair caddises, with each day producing a couple of fish over 18 inches. The Chattahoochee and Amicalola rivers are both fishing extremely well. On both my trips to Fern Valley on the Soque River this week, we caught lots of really nice rainbows on stonefly nymphs and Parachute Adamses.
MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS
Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, Gene Kirkland and Brantley Toomer, (706) 722-8263 – Robert Henderson and Ronnie Best caught 71 crappies 1 to 1½ pounds in the Ditch on minnows. Paul Wolfe and Mike Grubbs Jr., caught 12 good bass on plastic worms in the Membership Pond. Sammy Hogan caught four crappies over 2½ pounds each and two bass of more than 4 pounds each in the Garden Pond on minnows. Herman Jenkins caught 54 catfish in the Pollard Pond on liver. Linda Lawrence caught 36 crappies on minnows in the Ditch. Hiram North caught 47 big crappies in the Membership Pond on minnows. Bubba Johnson caught 29 crappies over 1½ pounds each in the Membership Pond on minnows. Sam and Jean Sims caught 41 crappies, 10 over 2 pounds each, in the White Elephant on minnows. Lock and dam: Jason Ervy and Jason Mayberry caught 20 shad over three days of fishing. Chiles Fiske caught nine hybrids and stripers above the Lock and Dam on liver herring. Milton Flournoy caught a 7½-pound striper and a limit of shad. Matt Napier caught a limit of shad off the lock and dam.
BEAUFORT, S.C. & VICINITY
Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 – Until the full moon appeared, fishing for redfish and other species was red hot. The sheepshead bite is still going strong. But the moon phase caused the water to become cloudy and good fishing turned into sorry fishing. However, the weekend is looking good.