Retired school teacher Billy Murphy, of Augusta, knows what it takes to pass a test: Study, study, study and study again.
He was among the 11 individuals who took the U.S. Coast Guard “Six-Pack” License test and was among the three who passed. Others flunked certain parts of the test, like Rules of the Road and Plotting. They must go to Charleston and take them again before they can earn their licenses.
“I studied after taking my son, Johnathan, to school, took a break for lunch and studied some more,” Murphy said.
This went on for more than a week. Had to take a physical examination and passed that. He took a drug test. Passed. Still in his future are a background check and an all-day first aid course. All of these are required.
He said the woman who gave the tests told him that years ago, there was a fresh water license test offered by the Coast Guard, but the federal agency did away with it for reasons unknown. Too bad. The current test is geared to those who guide in salt water as well as fresh. Many parts of the test dealt with areas that fresh water guides never face.
• Requests for the Moody Map featuring local place names on the lower end of Thurmond Lake now total 82. Some of the requests included legal envelopes that were sealed, probably due to high humidity. Or, maybe that’s called “hot mail.” Another gentleman addressed the envelope to me, meaning if I’d mailed it, it would have come right back. I understand senior moments. I taped shut the sealed envelopes, preferring not to apply my tongue, and fixed the name and address on the misaddressed one.
• “I really appreciate the improved fishing report in The Chronicle,” said Dale Blass, of North Augusta, one of the readers requesting a map.
“The information from guides as to where and how is really helpful if you haven’t been on the lake in a while. While I understand they are not going to be specific, it helps to at least know the general patterns. I fish fairly often and the tips being given by guides are usually right on. Thanks for a great column.”
• Will the daughter of Henry Baxley, my old shad-fishing buddy, please contact me via e-mail at email@example.com? I have found some photos of your father.
Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington and Doug Pentecost), (706) 595-5582 – Fishing at night in our area was Billy Hadden, of Thomson, who caught a 55-pound flathead catfish. Billy Randolph, of Thomson, caught a 34½ pounder. Two smaller fish of 7 and 12 pounds also were caught. Cut herring was the bait. Jack Owens and Billy Inglett limited out on crappies using minnows. Owens and Lloyd Foster III, 14, of Michigan limited out on crappies.
Capt. David Willard, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed, fulltime professional guide specializing in hybrids, striped bass and trophy largemouth bass. (Boat phone: (706) 214-0236. (803) 637-6379 (www.crockettrocketstriperfishing.com) – Water temperature is in the upper 80s, the lake is clear and continuing to fall. Fishing has continued to be good this week, despite the unusual absence of surface-breaking fish. Of course, it’s been a strange year anyway, with the warm winter and cool spring. Maybe in September we’ll see more of the breaking fish. Mike Wilkie was accompanied by his son, Mike, and George Harper on a recent trip. Mike Senior is paralyzed on one side and is in a wheelchair. George built a special rod holder that clips into a fighting belt for his wheelchair. Mike had a great time catching some nice stripers and hybrids, as did George and Mike Jr. Mike Graziano and his two boys, Ted and Tom, had a great trip, catching a cooler full of nice slab hybrids and 7-8-pound stripers. The fish are in 40 to 60 feet of water and we’re still using live bait which are living fairly well as long as you don’t go too long between schools, thanks to the oxygenation system. The key areas around the system are Parksville, Modoc and around the mouth of Little River.
Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide specializing in largemouth bass. (706) 860-7373 – I fished with Kirk Daniel last Thursday night. We caught two bass apiece of about 1½ pounds on a crank bait. Those didn’t bite until 8 p.m. Mike Tyler and I fished Wednesday evening. Mike marked some deep fish on his depthfinder, dropped down a spoon and jigged it 60 to 70 feet down in 107 feet of water and caught two largemouth bass of about 9 pounds apiece. I took out a man and told him I was pessimistic about being able to catch fish on the lake and let’s fish my pond instead. Hours later, we never caught a fish.
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 – Fishing has been steadily getting better, with more of a mid morning to mid day bite coming off points all along the main river channel in deep water. Fish are still being caught 60 to 80 feet deep in 70 to 105 feet of water, downlining live herring. That is all about to change, with more and more schools of bait appearing just beneath the surface. Cooler mornings will probably stimulate the stripers and hybrids into surface feeding in the next couple of weeks. Double anchoring in 60 feet of water and fishing with cut bait al;so has produced nice stripers 14 to 20 pounds. Trick is to be patient and use plenty of chum. Among those enjoying great fishing trips this week are Mike Marsh, Wilmington, N.C; Justin Marsh, North Augusta; Chris Adams, Williston, S.C.; Vince Hancock and Jonathan Hill, both of Beech Island. We also had the pleasure of taking out a group of Wounded Warriors. Check out our Facebook page for up-to-date pictures.
Clarks Hill Herring Hut, (Capt.Bradd Sasser) (864) 333-2000 – Some nice-sized catfish have been caught fishing off the main channel shelves in 60 feet of water in the lower end of the lake using cut bait. There also has been a great deal of success catching nice hybrids while trolling umbrella rigs and bucktails in the evening around the mouth of Keg Creek and Monkey Island. The evening bite has turned into more of an afternoon bite, with the fish turning on at 4:30 and shutting off at 7:30. Fishing live herring in 70 feet of water around the Modoc area has resulted in nice catches.
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/flyfishingnorth georgia) – Hunter: It’s hopper time! Big trout have started really locking in on big hoppers, PMXs and other big terrestrial fly patterns. There’s not much that’s more exciting than seeing a trout come up and eat a big terrestrial. Due to the large size of the flies, they are very easy to see on the water. The other advantage to fishing big terrestrials is that you can drop bigger nymphs off the back of them without sinking the fly.
Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, Gene Kirkland, (706) 722-8263 – If you’re in the military, or are a senior citizen, you can fish for half-price. If you’re handicapped, you can fish for free. Contact the bait and tackle shop for details.
Brickyard report: John Lister caught 10 nice shellcrackers and 15 bream in the Garden Pond on worms and crickets. Jim Dooley caught 15 catfish on rooster livers in the Front Ditch. Steve Luter caught five bass in the Expressway Pond. Paul Wolfe caught five bass on plastic worms in the Membership Pond. Jeff Phillips caught four carp between 5 and 10 pounds on secret bait in the Back Ditch. Billy Hall caught 15 crappies on minnows in the White Elephant Pond. Lock and dam: Sammy Hogan caught 35 catfish on cut bait off the pier. Jerry Skinner and his son caught 25 bream and 30 crappies down river. Bob Travis caught 60 mullet on worms. Jimmy Wilson caught 40 mullet on worms. Ben Mason went upriver and caught 20 shellcrackers on pink worms.
Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 – Spotted sea trout are being caught everywhere! The redfish bite is strong, too. Offshore, Spanish mackerel are schooling and one good area is around the wreck of the Betsy Ross. King mackerel fishing is red hot, but you’ve got to get ‘em into the boat quickly because barracudas are out there, too. Farther offshore, fishing is slow for dolphin, with some kingfish and wahoo being caught. The 22nd annual Fripp Island Kingfish Invitational Tournament, featuring a $5,000 payout, will be held Aug. 30-Sept. 1 at the marina. Entry fee is $250 per boat, with $60 per each additional person. A captain’s meeting will be held from 6 to 7 p.m., Aug. 30 and a representative from each boat entered must attend. For more information, call (843) 838-1551.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – I love fishing for triple tails. I am always surprised about their ability to jump. I guess having three tails makes all the difference in getting in the air or not. Live shrimp is a good bait. As days grow shorter, the bite gets longer. The bite is up for redfish, flounder and whiting, while the spotted sea trout bite is improving.