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 mid to high 50s and the lake is clear on the lower end and muddy on the upper end and rising. We’re picking up some nice stripers off rocky points in the lower end of the lake in eight to 10 feet of water. Freelining live herring beneath planer boards is the way. I couldn’t find any white perch and did manage to pick up some nice largemouths at the edge of the hydrilla in Hamilton Branch on Wednesday morning. We had a nice striper roll on the bait, but never hooked him.
Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide specializing in largemouth bass. (706) 860-7373 – Last Monday, Bob Vernoy and I fished. We caught two 3-pound bass apiece and he landed a gar on the chrome/blue Rat-L-Trap. We fished Wednesday, starting at 2 p.m. About 5 p.m., a 50-pound striped bass slammed my Yellow Fellow. It’s the biggest striper I’ve ever caught. I put it back in to let it grow up. We were fishing in the Red Bank Island area. We tried the pumping station area up Little River, but didn’t do any good. There were lots of sea gulls diving on bait in that same area.
Fishing with Ralph Barbee airs Saturdays at 11 a.m., and Sundays at 1:30 p.m. on Comcast Channel 21, WRDW-My12, Knology Ch. 7, Atlantic Broadband (Aiken) Ch. 7 and Charter Ch. 9 (Fort Gordon).
William Sasser’s Guide Service, (Capt. William Sasser, 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), (Bradd) (706) 267-4313, (Andrew) (803) 507-5083 – We’ve enjoyed being out during some of the most beautiful winter days you could ask for on Thurmond Lake this week. Water temperatures are hovering in the 52- to 55-degree range and the lake is slowly rising. Plenty of downline hybrids and occasional striper are being caught off ledges around creek mouths in 35 to 40 feet in such areas as Bass Alley, the Georgia Flats and Dordon Creek. But it’s still winter and so we’re slow-trolling larger herring or gizzard shad behind planer boards in shallow water in the backs of Shriver, Wells and Bennefield creeks. We are still catching slab crappies 25 to 30 feet over submerged tree tops on small shiners and jigs up South Carolina’s Little River or toward Raysville. While downlining herring for hybrids, be sure to work a small bucktail or Berry’s Flex-It Spoon to catch plenty of white perch and small hybrids. Johnny Hornsby and Ray Wiley, of Anderson, S.C., fished with us this week. They caught a mixed batch of crappies and hybrids, with Ray catching an 18-pound striper.
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Clarks Hill Herring Hut, (Capt.Bradd Sasser) (864) 333-2000 – Bank fishing has really kicked off this week. Nice-sized stripers and hybrids have been caught fishing curt herring around the rocks below the welcome station on the South Carolina side and off the points of the Bait Cove. The Parksville area has produced some nice crappie catches and several hybrids. Bream and crappie fishing has been steady on the Savannah River below the dam. Hybrid pink worms and small shiners are the key baits. Male yellow perch are starting to show so the bigger females aren’t far behind.
Check out my Web site: www.acestriperguide.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) – For the first time in several weeks, the Tennessee Valley Authority has backed off 24-hour generation at the Blue Ridge Dam. This means we’ll be able to fish the Toccoa River tailwater again in the coming days. It also means the trout should be very active, since they haven’t been fished for quite a while. Meanwhile, Fern Valley on the Soque River continues to fish extremely well due to higher water levels and low fishing pressure.
MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS
Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, Gene Kirkland, (706) 722-8263 – Winners of last Saturday’s bass tournament: Robert Hughes and Josh Bratcher caught five bass weighing almost 13 pounds. There was no big fish (minimum weight 5 pounds) and the big fish pot will roll over to the next tournament. The tournament runs from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Memberships are still available. See Gene Kirkland for details.
Brickyard report: Sammy Hogan caught three bass on a spinnerbait in the Expressway Pond. Bubba Koss caught four bass in the Farm Pond on plastic worms and spinner baits. Bryan Patterson caught three bass. Robert Gregalunas caught two bass (largest 7 pounds) on plastic worms and crank baits in the Expressway Pond. Johnny Ward caught 38 crappies and two bass on minnows and jigs in the Ditch. Jim Carter caught 42 crappies, one bass, one shellcracker on minnows and jigs in the Garden Pond. Larry Johnson caught seven bass in the Membership Pond on crank baits and plastic worms. Jimmy Tuffman caught 86 crappies and six shellcracxkers on worms and minnows in the Expressway Pond. Sarah Tolliver caught 15 crappies and two bass on minnows and jigs in the Ditch.
Lock and dam: John Holt caught 14 yellow perch, five crappies and two jacks on minnows. Cecil Williams and George Miller caught eight shellcrackers, six yellow perch and 11 crappies on minnows and worms. Jerry Brewer caught eight crappies, 12 shellcrackers, 13 yellow perch and one bass on minnows, worms and jigs. Joe Thomas and Cindy Hughes caught one striper, six channel catfish and two blue catfish on shiners and nightcrawlers.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771– Normally, this is the time of year when offshore fishermen get a chance to catch sheepshead near the artificial reefs. But black sea bass also like the reefs and they outnumber sheepshead quite a bit. We have found that it takes catching about 10 to 45 black sea bass and losing as many as fiddler crabs (the preferred sheepshead bait) before getting a sheepshead bite. During a recent trip, charter captain Kathy Brown and her two clients caught and released about 150 black sea bass while fishing for sheepshead. But the bottom line is they still had a great time.