Statewide changes are in store after July 1 for South Carolina fishermen going after largemouth, smallmouth, bream, crappies, striped bass and trout.
Anglers should visit the state Web site at www.dnr.sc.gov/fishregs and then click on Specific Species in the box on the left. One regulation says that “except bait lost incidental to fishing or fish released into the waters from which they were taken, it is unlawful to intentionally release any aquatic species, including bait, regardless of the stage of its life cycle, into the waters of this state without a permit from the S.C. DNR.”
“We’re trying to stop fishermen from emptying their bait buckets after they stop fishing,” a DNR spokesperson said. So it would be wise for everyone who fishes in South Carolina waters to check out the new regulations. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, as judges will tell you.
• If anyone in the Augusta area is interested in attending a U.S. Coast Guard Captain’s Licensing Course to guide fishing parties, your chance is coming up Aug. 3. Sea School Charleston will conduct the class (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays) from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. over two consecutive weekends. Cost of the course is $550.
The location has yet to be determined.
For more information, call 1-888-883-2278.
My friend, George Streeter, helped get the course set up.
Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington and Doug Pentecost), (706) 595-5582 – John Moore, caught 25 crappies on minnows. Jack Owens and Billy Englett, of Grovetown, caught 20 nice crappies on a yellow jig. Kimbo Morris, of Culbert, Ga., caught flathead catfish weighing 50 pounds and two weighing 60 pounds each on herring. Last Sunday afternoon, two men came into the marina in a boat and started noodling our boat ramp. They pulled out two catfish, one weighing 50 pounds, the other 35 pounds. They had an underwater camera, too.
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 lake continues to drop, so be careful. We are having good trips, catching nice stripers, hybrids and largemouths. The water is beginning to warm up and push the fish deeper. The Corps has begun to run the oxygenators, so we’re getting ready for our summertime pattern. Temperatures have been cool for this time of year and we are still free-lining and planer-boarding with most of the fish running 20 feet deep or less. That should change shortly with the fish going deeper and congregating. Everyone I’ve talked to can’t wait. I enjoyed fishing with Tom Allgood and his daughter, Courtney. It was special for a daughter to go fishing with her dad. They fish all over the country together and have many stories about their trips which I enjoy hearing when they fish with me. Paul Yoder brought his dad, Sam, down from the Cumberland Gap in Virginia. He loves to striper fish and had a great time on our lake, catching stripers and hybrids. He also caught his first white perch. We’re looking forward to what should be a good fishing weekend.
Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide specializing in largemouth bass. (706) 860-7373 – Last Saturday, Bob Richards, of Atlanta, and I fished to help him prepare for a future tournament. We caught 14 bass, two stripers with the biggest fish 5 pounds. Spinnerbaits, Rat-L-Traps and jerk baits fished on points caught the fish. Bob Bernoy fished with me Thursday. Spinnerbaits netted us a total of five fish. He caught three and me two. I caught the big fish of 4½ pounds and 22 inches long. It should have been a 6-pound fish, but it was spawned out. We struggled all day long, but there was no wind and that was a problem.
Billy Murphy, professional guide, with twins Brad and Jim (706) 733-0124 (Web site www.doubletroublefishingguides.com) – Last Saturday, the lake’s surface temperature had risen into the low to mid 70s and the wind forecast was 5 to 10 mph. However, it was 10 to 15 and gave us a hard time. Thanks to Ted Boileau for helping me with a large group of fishermen. In my boat were Dr. John Massy, his wife, Dr. Jen Massy, and children Mary Rushton, Jack and Luke. All three took turns of being the “bait man,” netting the herring from the live well, and they did a great job. Fishing in Ted’s boat were Dr. Jonathan Lindman, his wife, Kimberly, and sons Caled and Seth. The boys took care of netting the bait and did a great job. All had a great time and caught enough hybrids and stripers to hold a family-sized fish fry.
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: Dick and Claire Smith and Terrell and Sharon McCall; caught 66 crappies and hybrids. Jim Croft and Brian Croft, of Evans; caught a nice mess of hybrids and stripers. John and Jack Eller, Ferguson, N.C., caught 18 hybrids and stripers. Ashley Woods, Swainsboro, Ga., and Abby Vell, Kite, Ga., caught 18 hybrids.
Capt. Tommy Dudley, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids. (706) 833-4807 – Last couple of days, things improved considerably. I’ve fished nothing but downlines the past week, in 20 to 50 feet of water. We’re catching lots of 4- to 6-pound largemouths and they’re still full of eggs. The fish are starting to gather up in the ditches. I think we’re over the hump. Water temperature has climbed to 77 degrees. We’re finding lots of bait. The Rearden party from the Beaufort, S.C., area spent a great day on the lake and caught a nice bunch of linesides and several nice largemouths. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at not catching any white perch. But I know they’ll eventually find their ways into deeper water and they’ll be stealing my bait again.
Check out my Web site: www.fishlakethurmond.com.
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: As summer approaches, the private trophy streams of North Georgia will begin to close. For now, the recent rain has put plenty of water in the rivers and the fish are still active. We’ve caught a lot of huge trout on the Soque and Chestatee rivers this week, and we should have a few more weeks of great fishing before water temperatures climb too high. The Toccoa River is fishing really well, even with the extra water flow from Blue Ridge Lake dam. There are so many different mayfly nymphs in the river prior to hatching out that you can pretty much catch fish all day on size 18 or 16 beadless pheasant tail nymphs.
Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, Gene Kirkland and Brantley Toomer, (706 722-8263) – It’s getting close to our annual free fishing day on June 11. Everybody needs to check in at the tackle shop off Doug Barnard Parkway before going fishing. Winners of last Friday’s bass tournament will be announced next week.
Tournament hours are 6-10 p.m. every Friday. Entry fee is $25 per person with an 80 percent payback. Brickyards report: Vic Taber caught 42 crappies in the Ditch on minnows. Chris Donovan caught 32 bream in the Cornell Pond on crickets. Will Smoak caught 49 catfish in the White Elephant Pond on liver. Bernard Jenkins caught 12 carp, two over 12 pounds each, in the Ditch on dough balls. Henry Jones caught 46 crappies in the Membership Pond on minnows. Franklin White caught nine bass, two over 7 pounds each, in the Expressway Pond on plastic worms. Rowland Padgett caught 36 bream and 12 catfish in the Stick Pond on crickets and worms. Herman King and Gerald Thomas caught 60 bream in the Ditch on worms and crickets. Morgan and Lisa Cromwell caught eight bass, one 8½ pounds, in the Membership Pond on crank baits. Lock and dam: Roy Morris caught a 22.4-pound striper on herring down river. Sam Eaton caught 64 mullet on small red worms. Richard Daniels caught and released 35 shad on Sabiki Rigs. John Lewis caught 22 catfish 8 to 25 pounds down river over a two-day trip. David Smith limited out on bream, downriver on worms and crickets. James Creel caught eight stripers, including two over 22 pounds each, on herring. Mike Jr., and Mike Grubbs Sr., limited out on bream upriver.
Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 –The annual Fripp Island Memorial Day Kingfish Tournament has been canceled because of the potential for severe weather offshore. Inshore, the redfish bite is fair and good for flounder, whiting and spotted sea trout.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – If you want some action from cobia or grouper while bottom fishing, use a gold-hooked Sabiki Rig to catch pinfish. I haven’t yet met a grouper that will pass up a chance to take a whack at one of those fish. If you catch a spotted sea trout 18 inches and over, I suggest you release it. I have been critical of the regulation placing a season on black sea bass, feeling that no protection was needed for the popular species. We have been catching and releasing literally hundreds. The season for these fish opens June 1, with a creel limit of up to five fish with a tail length of 12 inches. Before going fishing, always check the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council Web site at www.http://safmc.net. I have been told that the length limit on black sea bass might change sometime in July.