Baab: Friends, sun good enough for me

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Albert Moody, of Clarks Hill, S.C., launched his 20-foot pontoon boat off the Dordon Creek ramp on Thurmond Lake on Wednesday, following a horde of other anglers (based on the large number of pickup trucks and boat trailers in the parking lot).

He and his passengers, my wife, Bea, and I, had heard that the crappies had moved into the shallows to spawn. Albert knew where some shallow brush piles and other cover were located and proceeded there forthwith.

It was great to be on the lake on such a beautiful day.

Albert did manage to catch one crappie and had long distance releases on two or three others, the bites all coming on live shiners. The fish turned up their collective noses at our jigs.

Hot and cold. That’s been the story of fishing the past few days, but it ought to get better. We also smelled the scents of spawning bream or shellcrackers, but we’d brought no worms.

Fishing is not just about catching fish, but getting onto the lake, pond or river and enjoying one’s self. A small turtle clung to an overhanging branch over the water and never moved, even though our boat was less than 10 feet away. Bea took its photo. Little things like that help assure the success of a trip, even though the fish chose not to cooperate (bite).

Fishing report

THURMOND LAKE

Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington), (706) 595-5582 – Dennis White, of Augusta, caught 10 crappies in the fish house. Clifford Crowe, of Thomson, limited out on crappies with jigs. William Hawkins caught 12 crappies and Leu Smallwood caught 16. Don Grinder caught a catfish and hybrid. Julie Cofer, Chip Sargent and A.J. Peavey, of Louisville, Ga., caught 26 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.crockettrocketstriper
fishing.com) –
Water temperature shot up to 65 degrees almost overnight just in time for Masters guests. I’ve been running trips morning and evening trying to get everybody out. We’ve had some great trips with water temperature rising, the fish have turned on. Largemouth fishing has slowed, but stripers and hybrids have picked up most of our fish have been caught earlier with a two- or three-hour window from daylight until 9. Female stripers are full of eggs and the males are full of milt. Most fish coming off rocky points freelining live herring.

Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide specializing in largemouth bass. (706) 860-7373 – 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).

Bill Speer, The Fishing Coach, professional guide specializing in largemouth bass fishing on Lake Russell (www.thefishingcoach.com) (706) 421-6630 – The worst of a long winter is behind us, the fish are moving up and nothing will stop them now. Scott Browning, of Franklin, N.C., won the Bass Fishing League tournament last Saturday with five bass and 18 pounds, 14 ounces. Congratulations to Asa Coxwell, of Martinez, the co-angler winner with 16 pounds, 11 ounces. Bob Walker, 71, and his son, Todd, of North Augusta, fished with me last Sunday. We caught our fish on a shakeyhead, Texas- and Carolina-rigged worms. All our fish were spots (Kentucky spotted bass) except one, and Bob agreed with me that the spots were taking over Russell. A few weeks ago, another Russell angler caught a 6-pound spot, so they are growing. Like to fish for spawning bass? The lake is slightly stained and, as a result, I like to throw baits I can see. The name of the game with a bass locked down on a bed is to trick the fish off and they could care less about cover. Ever try a drop-shot rig on a bed? Throw it past the bed, bring it back so the bait hovers in the bed. It drives them crazy, There is a new tackle shop in Martinez called The Tackle Shop on Columbia Road. It carries a shakeyhead jig called The Creeper I really like. I always put in at Beaver Dam Marina where you can have a nice lunch as well as a safe launch.

You can reach me on Facebook @ Lake Russell Bass Fishing as well as through my Web site and phone number.

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 – With water temperatures reaching into the mid 60s this week, early morning fishing has been the key to filling coolers with hybrids and stripers. The striper bite has been from about 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., with plenty of downline fish being caught in 25 to 30 feet of water on the sides of shoals and underwater humps. Later in the morning, we are having to switch to planer boards and pull them over 20 feet of water in the main channel across the mouths of major creeks in the lower end and up Georgia’s Little River. Catching hybrids and stripers during the afternoon hours has been a combination of puling planer boards and downline fishing near the dam where the fish have been moving side to side. One evening, they’ll be caught off West Dam on the Georgia side and the next below the South Carolina Welcome Center. Among those enjoying trips with us this week were Sue Hannah and Gary Hannah, both of McCormick, S.C.; Jerry Hannah, Kansas City, Mo., and Larry Hannah, Pampa, Texas; Reid Henderson, Rebekah Gray-Henderson, Heather Long, Tyler Long and Trenton Long, all of Evans; Teressa Hutto, Waynesboro, Ga.; Gregg Hutto, Augusta; Tommie Hutto and Austin Hutto, Waynesboro, Ga.; Jessica Weaver, Orlando, Fla.; Lee Bryant, Savannah, Ga.; Don Rice, Barbara Rice, Larry Hensley and Martina Hensley, all of McCormick, S.C.

Check out our Facebook page for up-to-date pictures.

Capt. Tommy Dudley, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids. (706) 833-4807 – The hybrid and crappie bites have slowed down quite a bit. The fish ought to be on the banks for the next week or so. I had a great morning Thursday, but not on the lake. I bagged a big old wild turkey (22 pounds, 12 ounces; 11-inch beard, 1¼-inch spurs). I’d been on him for two weeks and I finally won out.

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) – Carter: Warm nights and sunshine have helped heat up our trout streams, as well as the trout. Lots of bugs are hatching in the streams and rivers and the trout are taking dry flies. I had great dry fly action on the Amicalola River and Dukes Creek. Most fish are being caught on size 16 Adams. Bug hatches I have seen include March Browns, Black Caddis and Light Cahills.

MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS

Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, Gene Kirkland, (706 722-8263) – Plans are being made to hold a bowfishing tournament on the ponds. Anyone who has the knowledge of how to operate such an event is asked to call Gene Kirkland. Last Saturday’s bass tournament was won by Josh Hymas and Chris Powell with 9 pounds. There was no big fish. The tournament continues this week and runs from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Memberships are still available. See Gene for details.

Brickyard report: Robert Allen and James Wilson caught 40 catfish in the Ditch on rooster liver. Sammy Hogan caught 10 bass weighing 35 pounds on plastic lizards in the Garden Pond. Greg and Sue Wright caught 20 crappies and 10 bass in the Expressway Pond on minnows. James Jones and Henry Wilson caught 10 catfish and 20 crappies in the Shack Pond on minnows. Bob Cooper caught 20 catfish and 20 crappies in the Stick Pond on minnows.

Lock and dam report: Mike Grubbs Sr., and Jr., caught nine channel catfish, the biggest 25 pounds, on herring. Charles and Cindy Hinson caught six shellcrackers, eight bream and four catfish on worms and crickets. John and Betty Smith caught four catfish and four stripers on herring. Jim Thomas caught 20 bream and 10 shellcrackers on worms and crickets.

SAVANNAH, GA.

Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – I think everything has been a month behind schedule, but with the arrival of warmer weather, it’s time to go fishing. Some good whiting catches have been made and the artificial reefs also have seen a lot of action. Spanish mackerel have arrived. You can’t see them, but they are there.

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