“Take me to the river!” sang Billy Bass, the electronic gizmo that was so popular a few years ago. I got so tired of hearing it that I put it back in the box and shut it in my upstairs closet.
However, my wife and I joined Albert Moody on his new 20-foot pontoon boat on the Savannah River below Thurmond Dam on Wednesday afternoon. We were hoping to catch yellow perch, which spawn up the river when cooler weather arrives.
Bea out-fished me 2-0, but I soon caught up and Albert added one more. The fish were all bucks; the larger hen fish (as the female perch are known) will come up after the first frost. We released the fish.
Albert is an expert river fisherman, especially on this river. The 51-year-old Clarks Hill, S.C., resident has been fishing the Savannah since age of 7 when his father showed him how to catch’em in the Bettys Branch and Stevens Creek-Deep Step sections. He started fishing the seven-mile stretch between the big dam and the Stevens Creek Dam just a few years ago.
Albert is 6-foot-5 and weighs more than 500 pounds. He opted to fish worms for bream and caught two the same time (“first time I’ve ever done that,” he said). His immense size dwarfed the catch. In fact, his stature would dwarf a 20-pound striper!
Albert is fun to be with and doesn’t mind sharing his river secrets with friends.
• Congratulations to Sean Anderson, of Leesville, S.C., for winning the American Fishing Tour Angler of the Year Fishoff on Lake Greenwood on Oct. 22. He qualified to compete in the American Bass Anglers National Championship now under way on Lake Murray near Columbia. The tournament ends today.
• Five delayed harvest trout streams in the north Georgia mountains will open to fishing next Tuesday. Free maps showing the streams and other information are available at www.gofishgeorgia.com.
• “Just let everybody know we certainly appreciated all the support that we’ve gotten for the 11th annual John de la Howe School Rufus Sawyer Memorial Children’s Fishing Tournament,” said David Annis, of Augusta. He and his wife, Bonnie, are honorary weigh masters for Saturday’s event out of the Dorn Fishing and Boating Facility on Thurmond Lake in McCormick County. “We have all the boats needed.”
Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington and Doug Pentecost), (706) 595-5582 – Capt. Gary Edge of Papa’s Guide Service and guests Beck Wetzeland and Babe Cunningham, of Jackson, S.C., caught their limits of crappies. Most weighed more than 1½ pounds. Randy Thorpe, Wayne Hardeman and Floyd Beasley, of Mount Vernon, Ga., caught a limit of crappies in the Raysville area. Doug Pentecost of Thomson caught 12 crappies on jigs. Cliff Crowe caught 27 crappies on jigs and minnows in the Raysville area. Tonya Burdett and Desmone Burdett caught 11 crappies, one catfish and one bass in our Fish House.
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) – Water temperature is in the high 60s and the lake is clear. I love fall fishing and right now, we’re in the beginning of what looks like a great season. White perch population seems to be exploding like it does every few years. My clients are not only catching limits of stripers and hybrids (over 250 for the week), but six other species as well: largemouth, spots, white perch, yellow perch, channel and flathead catfish that are shadowing the white perch. Rick Price and his group caught a limit of stripers and hybrids faster than you can say “pass the peas!” We had hide the bait to get them over the side. They also had some nice largemouth and white perch. Drs. Phillip Kennedy and his wife, Denise, and twin 8-year-olds Reagan and Greer smoked the fish going through seven dozen baits in less than two hours. The Rev. Buddy Myers and his group had a tougher day (no wind), but managed to catch 32 fish. Jerry O’Brien and his group from Ohio hammered the fish so hard that I am expecting an influx of fishermen from the Buckeye State. The fish are at all depths and even breaking on the surface. The lake is beautiful, leaves are starting to turn, just don’t cut any points too close (the lake is nearly 9 feet down).
Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide specializing in largemouth bass, (706) 860-7373 – Kirk Daniel and I fished last Saturday in the Big Hart Creek section of Raysville. He caught six largemouth bass. I caught five. Most of the fish were 2 to 3 pounds. Every one was on or behind a point with grass. All came on the Yellow Fellow. We tried other lures, but they wouldn’t hit anything except the Yellow Fellow. We fished the Red Bank Island area on Monday and caught 20 fish (10 each) weighing from a pound to 3½ pounds. They were on the flats with stumps. On Tuesday, we found small schooling hybrids in Little River opposite Raysville Marina. We caught 10 bass and one hybrid fishing the grass in Lloyds Creek. We each had one about 3½ pounds. Most are 1½ to 2 pounds. We put in at Cherokee on Thursday and caught five bass, including my biggest of about 5 pounds. All came on the Yellow Fellow.
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) – Charter Capt. Andrew Tubbs took out Bob Pruett, Jon Pruett, Jackson Pruett and William Pruett, all of North Augusta. They wound up with 15 hybrids and a dozen or so white perch. Wayne Burgess, Laurens, S.C.; Mike Brock, North Augusta, and Ray Berrett, Willlington, S.C., had a limit of hybrids and stripers. Tony Duncan, Augusta; James Mills, Waynesboro, Ga.; Drew Mills, Waynesboro, and Micah Black, Thomson, caught some nice hybrids and stripers. Mike and Kathy Boyd, North Augusta, caught 15 hybrids and stripers. Check out my Web site, www.williamsasserfishing.com.
Capt. Tommy Dudley, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids. (706) 833-4807 – Because of family issues, I won’t be making any guided trips for awhile. I’ll let everyone know when I am able to be active again. Check out my Web site, www.fishlakethurmond.com.
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) – Hunter: The fishing has been extremely good on pretty much all of the private trophy streams. I’ve had trips to Fern Valley on the Soque River, at Noontootla Creek Farms and in Mountaintown Creek this week. Big stonefly nymphs have caught some really nice rainbows in all three streams. Hopper patterns have also brought a lot of nice trout to the surface and streamer fishing has proven productive in the deeper slack pools where large trout are cruising around in search of a meal.
MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS
Check-in station, 1410 Doug Barnard Parkway, Gene Kirkland and Brantley Toomer, (706 722-8263) – Lots of crappies are still being caught in the Ditch and other ponds.
BEAUFORT, S.C. & VICINITY
Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 – The redfish bite is still red-hot, while spotted sea trout are showing. High tides and dirty water caused by the full moon slowed things down a bit. The Owen Perry Memorial inshore tournament was disappointing, with only six boats showing up. Capt. Pat Perry on the Hanna Jayne won for the largest bass, Capt. Stovall Walker on No Problem IV won for the biggest trout. Capt. Hamp Manning on What-A-Deal won with a channel bass sporting the most spots (10), while Walker also won for a sting ray. Chef Dee Doolittle carried on with the tradition of his father, who died recently. Next event is the Kids Fishing Thanksgiving Tournament on Friday, Nov. 25. Registration is free and tee shirts, food, drinks, ice cream and many prizes will be awarded. Kids must bring their own tackle plus an adult sponsor. For more information, call (843) 838-1517.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – Spotted sea trout, redfish and flounder are giving fishermen lots of action. I fish a Strike King ZTOO soft bait in baby bass for trout. Once I cast it, I let it fall to the bottom. Then I sharply raise the rod, then drop the rod and twitch the rod tip to give the lure an erratic, darting motion, all the while turning the reel handle four to six times. If you don’t get a strike when you have reeled in a quarter of the line that’s out, reel in the remainder and make another cast.
The black sea bass season is now closed until next June. Last week while bottom fishing my clients caught and released 160 bass of assorted sizes. On another trip, we caught and released 133 bass. Vermilion season will close next Monday until next March 31.