One of the most thrilling times a fisherman can experience is having a largemouth bass of decent proportions wallop a top water lure. This isn’t an event for the weak at heart.
Anglers heading to Thurmond Lake this weekend can expect to see that happen when they cast Gunfish or Zara Spooks over long, tapering points jutting into the lake, or humps of medium depths.
There also are reports of smallish hybrids chasing baitfish to the surface in some areas. Tiny aluminum ice flies on two-foot leaders cast behind weighted popping corks are probably your best bets to catch a few. These are preludes of better (and bigger) things to come in the near future.
Live bait anglers despair when they get into areas where white perch are hanging out in droves. However, the bait-stealing perch are excellent food fish and can be caught by jigging Berry’s Flex-It Spoons, or fishing live small shiners on ultralight tackle for good sport as well.
Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington and Doug Pentecost), (706) 595-5582 – Clifford Crowe caught 15 catfish weighing more than 50 pounds. He caught six more catfish the next day on chicken liver. William Hawkins caught 10 crappies on minnows. Doug Pentecost caught a 45-pound catfish on cut herring in front of the marina off the bank. Crowe and Don Ginder caught six more catfish at Raysville Bridge. Debbie Percival caught a 1½-pound striper off the bank in front of our store. She used live herring. Mark Noone caught five catfish weighing 28 pounds on chicken liver. He also caught 15 bream on nightcrawlers. Danny Johnson caught 10 catfish and 15 bream on hybrid pink worms.
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 – Water temperature is in the upper 70s, the lake is clear and dropping. Pastor Corey Moore and his group from Savannah and his family had a good morning catching largemouths, hybrids and stripers, the latter up to 15 pounds. Most of our fish have been caught downlining live herring in 24 feet of water and free-lining the bait fish in the trees over the river channels. We’re looking for fishing to improve. We’re seeing large schools of small hybrids breaking the surface. We’re going to have a good weekend.
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 – Mike Arneman and Mitch Anderson, of Evans, and Chris and Courtney Priester, of North Augusta, caught a limit of hybrids and stripers. Limits of fish also were caught by Houston Hadden and Cole Stevens, of Gibson, Ga.; Josh Samas and Mike Susnik, both of Cleveland, Ohio, and David Taylor, Rick Greer, Hunter Greer, James Henson and Mark Taylor, all of Boone, N.C.
Capt. Tommy Dudley, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids. (706) 833-4807 – The fish have turned on the last couple of days, getting thicker in the ditches. We’re catching more hybrids now. The white perch are driving me slap crazy. I’m tired having to move off of them. My friend, Albert Moody, had a good idea: “Let’s all become perch fishermen!” Lee and Steve Frazier, of North Carolina, had a great day despite the perch. They caught hybrids, stripers, white perch, yellow perch and largemouth.
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: Some welcome cool weather combined with substantial rainfall has rejuvenated many north Georgia trout streams. This should mean a couple of extra weeks of great fishing like we saw this week on private trophy trout properties at Fern Valley on the Soque River and Frog Hollow on the Chestatee River. Both fished very well with big terrestrial patterns like Hoppers and Chernobyl Ants, with smaller nymphs dropped off behind them. Also, we’ve caught some really nice trout late in the evenings on small Blue-Winged Olives.
MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS
Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, Gene Kirkland and Brantley Toomer, (706 722-8263) – Our annual free fishing day is next Monday. Everybody needs to check in at the tackle shop off Doug Barnard Parkway before going fishing. Winners of last Friday’s bass tournament were Brett Graddie and Ricky Johnson with 5.20 pounds. Second were Paul Grubbs and Marty Pearson with 3.48 pounds. Third were Preston Crews and Brian Weaver with 3.46 pounds. Big fish was the 5.20-pounder caught by the winners. Tournament hours are 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. every Friday. Entry fee is $25 per person with an 80 percent payback. Brickyards report: Frank Greene caught nine bass in the Garden Pond on plastic worms. Lamotte Jennings caught 42 catfish in the White Elephant Pond on rooster livers. Harold Gadson caught 32 big crappies and four bass in the Ditch on minnows. Kevin Snyder caught 28 nice bream and 15 catfish in the Cornell Pond on worms. Joe Warren and son caught 26 bream and 14 crappies in the King Pond on worms and minnows. J.M. Holden caught eight bass (two over 6 pounds) in the Membership Pond on a crank bait. Bertha and Katie Washington caught 22 carp in the Ditch on dough balls. Clay Farmer caught 36 bream and five bass in the Membership Pond on crickets. Lock and dam: Travis Padgett caught 21 big shellcrackers upriver on pink worms. Dustin Andrews and party caught 82 big mullet down river on small red worms. Gene Wright caught six bass, including a 5½-pounder up river on plastic worms. Paul Scott caught 18 catfish, three over 15 pounds each, on cut herring down river. Jimmy Armstrong limited out on redbellies down river on crickets. Dave Conley caught and released 11 stripers, including a 23-pounder, down river on herring.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – Flounder season has arrived. Best baits are live stuff like mud minnows, shrimp and finger mullet fished on the bottom during incoming tides. The black sea bass season also has arrived, with offshore artificial reefs and the Savannah Snapper Banks the places to catch ‘em. Bits of cut squid and fish are good baits.