Fall is one of my favorite times to fish Thurmond Lake for several reasons, some of which do not relate to the fish.
All along the shoreline are hardwoods ranging from small sweet gum trees to huge oaks and their leaves have burst into a riot of color. I call the yellows, oranges and reds “eye candy.”
This is the time of the year when hybrids and striped bass move into the creeks and up the river systems after blueback herring and threadfin shad. The Raysville section of Little River, including Lloyds, Germany and Hart creeks, as well as upper Little River around the Goose Farm, Red Bank Island and Holiday Park, will be red hot for striper and hybrid fishing from Thanksgiving on.
Another good area where the fish school is Big Branch, which runs off Keg Creek past Wildwood Park.
The lake has nearly fallen to 11 feet below norm, so boaters must use caution and keep one eye on their depth-finder screens. It’s also commonplace to find large areas of early morning dense fog.
My friend, Billy Murphy, told me he heard boats foolishly running full speed through a fog so thick “I could hardly see 5 feet in front of my boat.”
While many boats are equipped with GPS systems, unless the operators also have radar, it is stupid to run blindly at 40 to 60 mph. Boats do not show up on GPS screens.
• Ray Scott, who founded the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society in 1968, has been named the official spokesman for American Bass Anglers.
Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington and Doug Pentecost), (706) 595-5582 – Cliff Crowe and Don Ginder, of Raysville, caught 38 crappies in our area on minnows. The next day, Crowe caught a limit of crappies fishing by himself, also on minnows.
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 – Jack Royalty and his group, Bill Bray, Dick Shank and Frank Shallow did their own version of “Operation Fast and Furious,” going through seven dozen baits in about 45 minutes en route to a limit of nice hybrids and stripers. At one point, I think I had all the fish in the lake breaking in front of us or beneath my boat, and it was a beautiful sight. Chuck Lambert and his group didn’t find the breaking fish, but we sat on a hump up Little River and caught a limit as the fish came through two and three at a time. This cool snap this weekend should help improve things a bit more as it will push the fish and the bait back into the creeks.
Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide specializing in largemouth bass, (706) 860-7373 – Kirk Daniel and I fished the Raysville area Tuesday. He caught three bass and four jackfish. Biggest bass weighed 3 pounds. I caught three bass, biggest 2 pounds, and all came on the Yellow Fellow. Most of the fish came off points and out of pockets along the shore. We went to Soap Creek on Wednesday and caught nothing. We returned to Raysville and went to Hart Creek. I fished a yellow spinnerbait and yellow skirt and caught six bass and Kirk caught five. I caught two nice bass on the spinnerbait. Biggest fish was 4 pounds. We also caught seven jacks. We caught the fish around stickups and trees.
Billy Murphy, professional guide, with twins Brad and Jim (706) 733-0124 (Web site www.doubletroublefishingguides.com) – I fished last Tuesday with Jeff Coleman, of Augusta. It was the first time I’d been on the lake in a couple of weeks. We caught 12 hybrids and stripers that were on the small side. On Wednesday, we went out again and had a better outing. We launched at Cherokee in the fog and slowly headed toward our fishing area. It was tough finding stripers in the fog. After arriving, the fog got thicker and we could see only 5 feet or so in front of the boat. We heard boats running and became afraid of being hit. After they went past (we never saw them), we were rocked by a heavy wake. We caught a bunch of white perch waiting on the stripers. About 9:30 a.m., a school of stripers and hybrids surfaced and stayed up for about 15 minutes. We fished live herring on downlines and also cast to the breaking fish. Those fish left and we started catching white perch. The stripers and hybrids were back schooling about 12:30 p.m., and we caught 18 weighing 2 to 3 pounds each.
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: Fishing with me were Gene King, South Carolina; Ray King, Missouri, and Clayton King, North Carolina, catching 25 hybrids and stripers and some white perch, all on live blueback herring fished on downlines in 30 feet of water. William: Larry Watson, Liberty, S.C.; Clint Paulk, Evans; Oscar E. Wells, Augusta, and Charles July, Augusta, caught 120 fish including hybrids, crappies and white perch. Derrick and Eddie Williams, Martinez, and Cornelius Bryan, Augusta, caught 75 fish (20 hybrids, 55 white perch. www.williamsasserfishing.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) – Carter: Low, clear water has made for some tough trout fishing, but the delayed harvest streams are full of feisty trout. Best results have come from the Amicalola River delayed harvest section which recently was stocked with rainbows and brook trout. I fished it during two late evenings and the fish were rising to any small dry fly that came through their feeding zone. Hunter and I had trips on the Toccoa delayed harvest section, but the fish did not bite any of our flies. The water is very low and clear and the fish are scattered, but they are hugging the bottom and are hard to catch. I also had a successful trip on Mountain Town Creek Plantation at the Coosawatee River. Most fish were caught on weighted stone flies fished in deep holes.
MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS
Check-in station, 1410 Doug Barnard Parkway, Gene Kirkland and Brantley Toomer, (706 722-8263) – Claude Daley and Jerry Archer caught 55 big crappies on big minnows in the Ditch. Leon Bush caught 38 crappies in the Ditch, also on minnows. Freda Mack caught 24 catfish on liver in the Pollard Pond. Vince Loomis caught nine bass on plastic worms in the Expressway Pond, Harry Jenkins caught 433 crappies on minnows in the Membership Pond. Alex and Beulah Fleetwood caught 39 crappies and six catfish in the Membership Pond on minnows. Dan Dixon caught 13 big crappies 1½-to 2 pounds on big minnows in the White Elephant Pond. Mel and Sharon Langston caught 20 good crappies in the Ditch on minnows. Ozzie Malphrus and sons caught 26 catfish and bream in the Warren Pond on crickets and minnows.
New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam: “We’re getting good reports of bream caught above and below the locks,” said Brantley Toomer. “Some good crappie fishing is taking place in the dead lakes areas below the dam.”
Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 – The Kids Fishing Thanksgiving Tournament is Nov. 25. More information: Fripp Island Marina, (843) 838-1517.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – While fishing the Savannah River last week, our customers were treated to a steady striped bass bite. Using live shrimp beneath adjustable floats worked well.