Most fishermen consider the carp to be a lowly fish. Some even shoot them with bow and arrow. And there are those who use dough balls or worms and fish for just what some call "buglemouth bass."
Occasionally, a carp is caught on an artificial lure, usually accidentally, and the angler who does it is usually surprised by the strong battle these bulky fish put on.
Carp also are good eating, if you prepare them right. Some steak them; that is, make vertical cuts so that you wind up with steaks an inch or two thick around the backbone. Filleting them works well, too.
Years ago, I was fishing for bream with a fly rod and crickets in the Augusta Canal below the old lock and dam. This was before Thurmond Lake was built. I hooked a huge fish and finally was able to net it. Turns out it was a 15-pound carp.
After I cleaned it, my mother wrapped bacon around its body and baked it in the oven. I still remember how good it tasted after all those years.
My friends at Merry Land Brickyard Ponds are sponsoring a carp tournament on July 3. Check out their report for details. Here's your chance to see for yourselves the quality of those big ol' reddish-brown fish.
Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington and Doug Pentecost), (706) 595-5582 -- The catfish bite has been strong, with several fishermen catching them right off the banks of our marina.
Capt. David Willard, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed full-time professional fishing guide specializing in hybrids and stripers and trophy largemouth bass. (Boat phone: (706) 214-0236. (803) 637-6379 (www.crockettrocketstriperfishing.com) -- Water temperature is 86 degrees and the lake is clear. The fish have moved into their summertime pattern and are grouping up into large schools. We've had a great week and all of my clients have caught limits of hybrids and stripers in the first few hours after sunrise. The action has been fast and furious and everyone, including me, has had a great time. Alex Chilton brought Daniel Cortez, 8, and his brother, Ryan, 7, and their grandfather, Tim Flanagan. They blistered the fish. Bob, Fred, Matt and Mark Cota also had a great morning catching fish as fast as they could get the baits down. John Schmidt, from Aiken, brought over a couple of his biking buddies, Bob Reynolds, Sinclair Short and Doug Groft. John had been telling them about this lake and they decided to come try it. They had a blast. Roger Erb brought some of his colleagues -- Phillip Lyons, Jeremy Bennett, Kevin Pinson, Richard Hand and Roger's son, Hunter, who gave everyone a fishing lesson. Toni Jerome and husband Mike give the grandchildren a treat every summer when they spend a week together doing fun things. They call it "Camp Jerome." This year, they decided to go striper fishing on Lake Thurmond. It was Duncan, 13; Lily, 12; Sullivan, 9; and Isabelle, 13, all from the Kleinbub family. They brought a friend, Wren Fisher, also 13. They slaughtered the fish and the kids said it was the best camp ever. Roy Altman brought up a few of his fishing buddies -- Brian Brunelli and his son, Phil, and friend Rick Huckabee. Roy worked the net so it was an easy morning for me and the guys had a great time catching their limits. Fishing's just going to get better as the fish go deeper and get more congregated.
Ralph Barbee, professional guide specializing in hybrids, stripers and bass. (706) 860-7373 -- I caught five largemouth bass on the Yellow Fellow after seeing some minnows hopping out of the water on a point. The fish would not hit top water lures.
My next show features me catching largemouth bass and big stripers in the Raysville area of Thurmond Lake. Fishing with Ralph Barbee airs Saturdays at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 1:30 p.m. on Comcast Ch. 21, My12TV, Knology Ch. 7, Atlantic Broadband (Aiken) Ch. 7 and Northland Ch. 9 (Fort Gordon).
Billy Murphy, professional guide, with twins Brad and Jim (706) 733-0124 (Web site www.doubletroublefishingguides.com) -- We're catching fish that are staking up on drop-offs in 32 feet of water. Fishing with me last Monday was Larry Freeman, of Grovetown, and my grandson, Johnathan. We caught 18 with Larry catching a 12-pound striper, the biggest fish of the day. Check out the new photos on my Web site. My VHF radio handle is doubletrouble on Ch. 68.
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: Jimmy Hickson and Chad Hickson, Martinez; Ryan Eubanks and Joe Eubanks, Albany, Ga.; Brett Godfrey, Thomasville, Ga.; Gregg Godfrey, Edgefield, S.C.; and Phillip Cerillo Jr., Augusta, caught 35 stripers and hybrids. Harry McGahee, Jeff McGahee, Ginger McGahee, Lee O'Kussick, Beth O'Kussick, Thomas Treadwell, Brett Nevin, Nick Maloney, Oscar Walker, Jame Parker and Ryan Shearer, all of Augusta, caught 51 fish, including a 5-pounder. Steve Gavin and Luke Torrell, Martinez; Lee Torrell, Hobe Sound, Fla.; and Curtis Lacey, Camden County, Ga., landed 45 fish including a 4-pounder. Billie Baldwin and Glenna Baldwin, Green Pond, S.C., caught a limit of hybrids and 35 crappies. John Haos, Libertyville, Ill.; Don Currie, York, Pa.; Bill Currie, Grand Rapids, Mich; and Lee Currie caught a limit of hybrids and stripers. Dan and Beth Vinsack, Rock Hill, S.C., and Frank and Joyce Depuy, Youngstown, Ohio, limited out on hybrids and stripers. Clyde Gunn, Butler, Ga.; Dena Wilson, Jacksonville, Fla., and Jim Gunn, Pensacola, Fla., limited out. We're catching our fish 30 to 40 feet down on live herring. Check out www.williamsasserfishing.com.
Capt. Tommy Dudley, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids. (706) 833-4807 -- We are still in the middle of some hot fishing. The quality is increasing, with nice slab hybrids and a few stripers. The fish are starting to get more into the summer pattern of deeper water, some as far down as 50 feet on the bottom. As long as there's wind, you can catch fish. We're fishing up to 10 a.m., and enjoying a "long" bite. Don Horton, grandson Michael, 11, and Will, 8, and Winston Yoder and son, Clayton, 14, had an outstanding morning. They got on fast downline fish and caught 43 big slab hybrids. They're from Spartanburg, S.C. Marvin Smith, Mike Liscio, Ian Byrd and Ronnie and Bobby Overstreet, from Savannah, Ga., caught 43 fish. We had to make a few moves to avoid the white perch bite, but our fourth stop was magic. Gordon Barrickman, of Savannah Lakes Village, and friend Ken Dired, visiting from Arkansas, had to be patient, but finally got on some big hybrids, limiting out. Check out my Web site: www.fishlakethurmond.com.
NEW SAVANNAH BLUFF LOCK & DAM
Lock and Dam Bait and Tackle (Bob Baurle), (706) 798-3252 -- Large shiners and live bream are catching hybrids and stripers for anglers fishing off the wall. Bream and redbreasts also are biting. Best times to fish are early morning or late afternoon.
MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS
Gene Kirkland and Brantley Toomer, (706 722-8263) -- A carp tournament will be held here July 3. Entry fee is $12 per person. Fishing hours are safe light until 4 p.m. Call to pre-register and for more information.
Winners of last Friday's bass tournament were Chris Kelly and Mike Diles with 11.13 pounds. Gene Moyer and Mike Craig were second at 7.44 pounds. Mike and Greg Leaptrotte were third with 3.73 pounds. Big fish: Kelly and Diles, 4.17 pounds. Forty-one fishermen competed.
Hugh Roland caught seven carp including a 21-pounder on a "secret bait." Albert Black and Willie Bushman caught 37 crappies in the Ditch on minnows. Liza Roundtree caught 42 bream on crickets in the Warren Pond. Hiram Shelby caught nine bass of 3 to 5 pounds on plastic worms in the White Elephant Pond. Lonnie Gehagen caught 41 catfish on liver in the Stick Pond. Joe Myer caught a 4-pound bass in the Warren Pond. Dora and Lynn Hammond caught 63 catfish on cut bait in the White Elephant Pond. Matt Andrews and his kids caught 14 carp in the Garden Pond on dough balls and worms. Two of the fish weighed more than 15 pounds each. John Jones caught 10 bass in the Expressway Pond on a Fat-Free Shad. One was a 6-pounder. Paul Patterson caught 14 crappies over 2 pounds each and a total of 50 crappies.
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) -- Carter: High temperatures and a bright sun have slowed the trout fishing. Best bets for successful trips this time of the year are from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., or 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. I had one great trip on Jones Creek. It's pretty high up in elevation and has a canopy of trees to block the sun and keep the water temperature in the low 60s. I used grasshopper flies to entice wild brown trout to come to the surface and devour the presentation. I landed about 30 trout in the 7- to 12-inch range. We need some rain to improve fishing conditions.
BEAUFORT, S.C., & VICINITY
Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 -- Fishing is excellent, with redfish, whiting and black drum. The redfish have been mostly too big to keep, but fun to catch. Spanish mackerel are schooling off Fripp Island sand bars and around wrecks. The dolphin bite is strong offshore, but kings and wahoo are slow. Bottom fishing is good.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 -- Black sea bass are on the bite. Be sure to check the regulations before heading out. There is a 12-inch minimum size limit and the creel limit is still 15 per person per day. Best bait remains cut squid, cigar minnows and cut fish.
Trolling off the W2 Warsaw Sound sea buoy is producing some good catches of Spanish mackerel. Trolling Clark Spoons in waters beneath diving birds resulted in many hookups.