That Kicks 99 “Hooked on Country” Open Team Bass Tournament turned out to yield the richest payout of the year – more than $30,000 in all. Congratulations to Woody Parks, of Lincolnton, Ga., and North Augusta’s Bart Blackburn for catching the lion’s share of the purse – $10,000. Their margin of victory was 21.82 pounds to the 21.40 pounds caught by Robert Stampley and Reid Radford.
“Talks are under way to make this an annual event,” said Robin Whisenant of the Clark Hill Committee, which oversees most of the major local bass tournaments on Thurmond Lake. There were 278 teams entered and that must be a record. Greg Davis remembered an Old Milwaukee tournament held out of Tommy Shaw’s Marina years ago that drew something like 240 teams.
Success of the tournament is due to the overwhelming support of the bass fishing brotherhood. Even better, the results show that our favorite lake’s largemouth bass population is healthy, with 561 bass weighed in and most of them released alive after the finish at the Tommy Shaw Memorial Weigh-In Station at Wildwood Park.
Those of you who remember Tommy and his enthusiasm for bass fishing know he certainly would have enjoyed fishing in this one.
• On the back window of a pickup, there was a University of Georgia “G” with the figure of a duck’s head superimposed on it. I told my wife, “Betcha that’s a ‘Georgia Quacker!’ ” She is still speaking to me.
Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington and Doug Pentecost), (706) 595-5582 – Austin Williams, Swainsboro, Ga., caught a 9-pound catfish on a hybrid pink worm. Samuel Stalvey caught a 4-pound catfish on cut herring in Germany Creek. Here are some reports from our fish house: Clifton Holloman caught a big mess of crappies on minnows. Mark Watson caught six catfish totaling 45 pounds on cut herring beside the fish house. He also caught five gar and nine crappies (on minnows). Jackie Young, of Waynesboro, Ga., caught 15 crappies and one big bluegill.
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 temperatures are in the mid 70s and the lake is clear. The spawning run featuring hybrids, stripers and largemouth bass, as well as blueback herring, that was temporarily interrupted by the cool spring weather is now back on. We had a great week, catching stripers, hybrids and largemouths. The “G-Man,” Michael Graziano, and his friends, Javier Torre, of Mexico City, limited out on Wednesday morning. Cole Beaver and his fishing buddies, Dalton and Jerry, from Summerville, S.C., had a great morning on Thursday. These guys were up at Hickory Knob for a youth bass tournament last Friday, but decided they wanted to catch some hybrids and stripers before the tournament. They had a cooler full of nice fish by daylight. I think the fish will get into their regular pattern and will progress into the early summer pattern. The full moon coming Sunday has caused the shellcrackers to go onto their beds in the backs of most of the creeks. We could really smell them.
Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide specializing in largemouth bass. (706) 860-7373 – I caught four good bass, biggest 3 pounds, along the points around former Little River Marina. I caught them on a silver and black jerk bait. I put in at Wildwood Park and caught six bass off a point inside. Most were 2-pounders and came on the Zara Puppy. When the winds stopped, so did the fish.
My new show features The Bassmasters. 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, G-Force (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) – Last Saturday, Glenn Tanner, of Evans, fished with me, my first mate (grandson Johnathan). We pulled live herring behind planer boards and free lines over humps and points. Glenn landed an 8-pound hybrid and we caught 18 more stripers and hybrids. Our trip started at 6 a.m., and ended at noon. Water temperature was in the low 70s. On Monday, Fred McNatt, of North Augusta, and Tony Polson, of Beech Island, joined me on the lake. All 22 stripers and hybrids were nice fish. Wednesday was a great fishing day for Bill Phillips, Sam Wheeler and Russell Arnolds, of Monroe, Ga. They caught 25 hybrids and stripers and five black bass. Sam had the hot rod, catching most of the fish. We had two 5-pounders and one 6½-pounder.
William Sasser’s Guide Service, (Capt. William Sasser, Capt. Mark Crawford, Capt. Bradd Sasser, Capt. Andrew Tubbs, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed, full time professional guides specializing in crappies, hybrids and striped bass). (706) 589-5468 (William), (706) 373-8347 (Mark) (Bradd (706) 267-4313 (Andrew) (803) 507-5083 – Mark: Ken Landry and Flo Landry, Blythe, Ga.; Ricky Couey, Vern Giddens and Ed Couey, all of Augusta; Bo Giddens, Grovetown, and Ray Treadway, Wrens, Ga., caught 18 stripers and hybrids 3 to 11 pounds. Mark Slusser and the Rev. Thurmond, North Augusta, caught seven stripers 3 to 13 pounds and 32 crappies. Roscoe, Steve and Denise Collins, all of Guyton,Ga.,caught 50 crappies.
Capt. Tommy Dudley, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids. (706) 833-4807 – I’ve been off the water until this (Thursday) morning. The fish were very aggressive from 6 to 7:30. Garfish are quite a nuisance. It was quite a mix between gars, largemouth, white perch and tons of bait. Check out my Web site at www.fishlakethurmond.com.
MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS
Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, Gene Kirkland and Brantley Toomer, (706) 722-8263 – We’re planning a free fishing day on June 11. Everybody needs to check in at the tackle shop before going fishing. Last year, we sold 1,400 cups of worms on our free day. This year, we have 2,000 cups ready to go. Preston Crews and Bryan Weaver won last Friday’s bass tournament with 12.82 pounds. Second were Mike Chapman and Chase Harmon with 11.7 pounds. Mike and Greg Leaptrotte were third at 11.12 pounds. Big fish: Lonnie Pope’s and Clarence Gay’s 5.46-pounder. The tournament time is 6-10 p.m., every Friday. Entry fee is $25 per person with an 80 percent payback. Brickyards report: James Polk caught 13 bass, including a 9½-pounder, on a Herndon Hellbender in the Expressway Pond. Susie and Jim Stark caught 43 bream and 20 catfish in the Cornell Pond on worms and crickets. Oscar Jenkins caught 31 crappies and four bass on minnows in the Ditch. Oliver Lumpkin caught 30 crappies and 20 bream in the Membership Pond on minnows and crickets. Franklin Graves caught nine bass, including an 8½-pounder, on a Herndon Hellbender in the Membership Pond. Joan and Pete Lamb caught 46 catfish and 18 bream in the White Elephant Pond on crickets and worms. Herbert and John Hall caught 60 bream in the Stick Pond on crickets and worms. Sally Watson and Shirley Black caught 15 carp, including two over 14 pounds each, in the Ditch on dough balls. Lock and dam report: Scott Daniels caught and released 15 stripers and hybrids down river on herring. Steve Roberts limited out on redbreasts down river on crickets. Wayne Gryer limited out Saturday and Sunday on redbreasts on crickets. Kevin McReed caught 60 mullet 2½ to 3 pounds on small mullet worms down river. Brandon Daniels caught and released 50 shad on Sabiki Rigs.