Fish for free during April tournament

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Here's something new: a free bass tournament.

The Fish for Life Foundation will hold its inaugural Anglers Appreciation Day Open Team Bass Tournament on April 23 at Wildwood Park on Thurmond Lake.

The top five teams will share $2,500 in prize money, with $1,000 going to the winning team. Participation is free.

All participants' boats must be 16 feet or longer and equipped with working live wells and kill switches. All live wells will be checked to make sure they are operational. The boats' owners must carry at least $100,000 in liability insurance.

It will be mandatory for all entrants to attend a pre-registration meeting on Thursday, April 21, between 5 and 7 p.m., at Academy Sports and Outdoors, 4210 Washington Road, in Evans. Drawing for boat positions will be held at 7 p.m.

Entrants residing more than 75 miles away can obtain registration forms by calling (706) 830-5439, or (706) 833-8135.

Sponsors of the event, which will be held annually, include Aaron's, E3Sports Apparel, Academy Sports and Outdoors, Power Pole, Milton Ruben Toyota, Weinberger Furniture, Ben Dreamin Outdoors, Columbia County, Lincolnton Marine, Cliatt Crossing, Giffin Plumbing, Pair of Jacks, Southern Anglers Challenge, anglerschannel.com, Ray Diamond Glass Co., and Broadway Bait and Tackle.

- The 2011 Georgia Sport Fishing Regulations are out and sharing the cover with pro bass fisherman Tom Mann Jr., of Gainesville, Ga., is George W. Perry in a 1934 photo. The same image is on the cover of my book, Remembering George W. Perry . Most bait and tackle stores have copies of the regulations.

- Effective immediately, anglers possessing a valid Georgia fishing license will not have to register with the National Saltwater Angler Registry and pay the $15 annual fee, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

THURMOND LAKE

Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington and Doug Pentecost), (706) 595-5582 -- Bob Tyson and Brian Smith caught 30 crappies. Largest weighed 2 pounds. Danny Johnson also has been having good luck fishing every day.

Capt. Tommy Dudley, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids. (706) 833-4807 -- I'm not striper fishing, but crappie fishing in an oxbow lake off the Savannah River on my hunt club. I'm catching some big ol' crappies during the late afternoon, slow-trolling or drifting small shiners. Check out my Web site: www.fishlakethurmond.com.

MERRY LAND

BRICKYARD PONDS

Gene Kirkland and Brantley ("Captain") Toomer, (706 722-8263) -- They've been tearing up the crappies. One man caught 125 crappies in the Ditch. Roy Overton caught 40 crappies in the Back Ditch.

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.flyfishing northgeorgia. com) -- Carter: Hunter and I have access to trophy trout water as have now added Unicoi Outfitters in Helen and Blue Ridge to our selection. They have trophy waters on the Chattahoochee in Helen, on the Soque River near Clarksville, Mountaintown Creek near Ellijay and at Noontootla Creek Farms near Blue Ridge. We have spent the last week fishing and guiding on these great waters and the results have been awesome. The water is very cold, but the fish are taking big rubber-legged Woolly Buggers fished in slower deep pools. We caught three around 20 inches and one 26-incher. Most of the fish were around 16 inches. Even in the very cold, the fishing can be good and comfortable if you prepare properly by layering your clothing and getting out of the water every 30 minutes to allow your feet to warm back up. I also fished the delayed harvest sections of the Toccoa River and Amicolola River with good results on those same Woolly Buggers. Fishing is great this time of the year because you don't have to worry about snakes, hornets, yellow jackets, bears or crowds.

SAVANNAH

Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 -- The sheepshead bite continues to be good, especially around the artificial reefs. You'll also catch black drum and maybe some trophy redfish. You can keep the drum, but you must release the reds.

Bottom fishing remains good for black sea bass, triggerfish, white bone porgy, knobbed porgy, red porgy, banded rudder fish, mutton snapper, almaco jack, amberjack, tomtate, rock bass, scup and etc.


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