Chances for record perch or jack increase as ponds, fish grow older

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Back in George Perry’s day and before, fishing records weren’t considered important. When he caught his world record largemouth bass on June 2, 1932, there really wasn’t the hoopla that such a catch nearly 80 years later would take place. Of course, his record was tied in 2009 by my Japanese angler friend, Manabu Kurita, but Perry’s prevails when it comes to longevity.

Gavin Matthews, 8, of Grovetown, caught this fat yellow perch in Thurmond Lake, fishing with his father. They caught 10 perch and some half-pound shellcrackers.  SPECIAL
SPECIAL
Gavin Matthews, 8, of Grovetown, caught this fat yellow perch in Thurmond Lake, fishing with his father. They caught 10 perch and some half-pound shellcrackers.

Speaking of longevity, what species of fish holds the all-tackle world record the longest?

The Civil War was winding down when Dr. C. Abbot landed a 4-pound, 3-ounce yellow perch near Bordentown, N.J., on May 1, 1865, according to International Game Fish Association records.

Brad Murphy, of Augusta, holds the Thurmond Lake yellow perch mark with 2 pounds, 8 ounces, the same weight as the Savannah River record fish caught by Larry Poole in 2008.

Another world record fish that’s been hanging around since 1961 is the 9-pound, 6-ounce chain pickerel (jack) caught in a private pond near Homerville, Ga., by the late Baxley McQuaig Jr.

He is the only other of the three world record holders I have had the pleasure to meet. One of Billy Murphy’s boys, Jim or Brad, told me years ago of catching and releasing a huge jack “that would go 9 pounds” in Thurmond.

So as our lakes and rivers age, so do the fish populations, giving all of us who fish for perch and jacks a shot at setting a record of our own.

• The mini umbrella rig called the “Alabama Rig” has been banned from use in the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society’s Bassmaster Classic and the Bassmaster Elite Series.

So says the Bassmaster Elite Series Rules Committee, which advises B.A.S.S. on tournament rules, according to BASS Times editor Dave Precht, writing in the February issue.

My personal view is that multi-lure rigs are unfair to fish and go against the rules of fair chase, which applies to fishing as well as hunting. I want to catch a hybrid or a striper on just one lure at a time and enjoy the fight before releasing the fish.

• Here’s wishing Billy Murphy a speedy recovery from the “bug” that’s put him in bed.

FISHING NEWS

THURMOND LAKE

Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington and Doug Pentecost), (706) 595-5582 – Cliff Crowe, Thomson, limited out on crappies, caught 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.crockettrocketstripherfishing.com) – Water temperature is in the mid 50s and the lake is clear. If the weather gets any nicer, the fish are going to think it’s springtime. We’re picking up some nice fish on herring pulled behind planer boards in the shallows. Best days have been overcast and/or foggy mornings. The fish are moving out of the shallows on sunny days, and fishing has been slow after 9 a.m. We picked up a bunch of white perch out from Modoc Shores in 30 feet of water on the Berry’s Flex-It Spoon. These were pretty good size, about three-quarters of a pound apiece. We’re also catching a few largemouth on the herring fished shallow.

Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide specializing in largemouth bass. (706) 860-7373 – Mike Tyler and I fished last Tuesday. I caught two big slab crappies about 2 pounds apiece jigging a spoon in 60 feet of water. He borrowed a Yellow Fellow and caught a 2½-pound bass. That was it.

My latest show features Capt. Dan Utley out of Hilton Head, S.C. We catch large redfish, a 100-pound bull shark and another fish that got away. We fished cut mullet. Fishing with Ralph Barbee airs Saturdays at 11 a.m., and Sundays at 1:30 p.m. on Comcast Channel 21, My12TV, Knology Ch. 7, Atlantic Broadband (Aiken) Ch. 7 and Charter Ch. 9 (Fort Gordon).

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: Sammy Bledsoe, Americus, Ga.; Jerry Griffith, Americus; J Wanner, Americus; Patric Parker, Lincolnton, Ga., caught 20 hybrids and stripers 4 to 9 pounds, downlining live herring in 55 feet of water. Check out my Web site at 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) (facebook.com/flyfishingnorthgeorgia) – Hunter: Severe fluctuations in temperatures and stream levels in the north Georgia mountains have made the fishing unpredictable. Trout have fed fairly aggressively at times pretty much every day, but it’s been different times and on different flies each day. Generally speaking, nymph fishing is your best bet right now. But be willing to change flies more often than normally. Also, know that just because mid-morning hours didn’t produce many strikes doesn’t mean the afternoon will be just as slow. Give each run a few extra drifts and don’t be afraid to go back to some of the better looking holes for a second try later in the day.

MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS

Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, Gene Kirkland and Brantley Toomer, (706) 722-8263 – The Ditch is still producing great crappie catches. Lucky anglers were Frank James, 41; Ken Warren, 39 (in Membership Pond); Bob Griffin, 35; Junior Spikes, 49, and Johnny Jenkins, 36. Minnow are the baits of choice. Sylvia Lawrence caught 42 bream and catfish in the Connell Pond on worms and liver. David Wolf and Mike Grubbs caught seven bass and 20 crappies in the Expressway Pond on minnows and plastic worms. Harry Cooper caught 29 crappies and seven bass in the Ditch on plastic worms and minnows.

SAVANNAH, GA.

Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – Fishing ought to heat up. Look for improved spotted sea trout fishing in the tidal creeks. The fish ought to start moving out of the deep holes as the water temperature creeps above 55 degrees.

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