'Fishing and Boating Week' offers free perks

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National Fishing and Boating Week runs from Saturday through June 9 and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division is helping celebrate it with some free stuff.

Augusta area fishermen Frank James (from left), Andy Mosley, Hamp Manning, Allen Blitch, Martin Manning and Pierce Blitch participated in the annual Fripp Island Memorial Day Kingfish Tournament.  SPECIAL
SPECIAL
Augusta area fishermen Frank James (from left), Andy Mosley, Hamp Manning, Allen Blitch, Martin Manning and Pierce Blitch participated in the annual Fripp Island Memorial Day Kingfish Tournament.

On Saturday and again June 8, Georgia residents don’t need a fishing license or a trout license. Just gather up your tackle and go. You’ll also not need a wildlife management area license to fish on a public fishing area like McDuffie near Dearing.

There are also free kids’ fishing events available. Visit www.georgiawildlife.com/nfbw or www.georgiawildlife.com/fishing/kids-fishing to learn more.

• The free fourth annual Kids’ Fishing Rodeo, postponed by inclement weather a few weekends ago, will be held Saturday at Wildwood Park.

Registration has been held, but those interested can be at the park by 8:30 a.m. to sign up.

Fishing reports

THURMOND LAKE

Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington), (706) 595-5582 – Bee Rogers caught eight crappies on minnows in the fish house. Pierre Lampkin Jr., of Thomson, caught 25 crappies on minnows and white jigs and a hybrid in the fish house.

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.crockettrocket striperfishing.com) – Water temperature is in the upper 70s and the lake is full. Fishing continues to be good as the stripers and hybrids are coming off the banks and stacking up in the creek channels. Doug Keith, of Atlanta, and his group caught stripers, hybrids, largemouths, catfish and yellow perch. Sarah Sheffield, from Panama City, Fla., and her grandmother, Betty, had a great trip. They caught stripers, hybrids, largemouths and yellow perch. We’re in for a good summer as the fish get deeper and more congregated.

Capt. Billy Murphy, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide, with twins Brad and Jim (706) 733-0124 (Web site www.doubletroublefishingguides.com) – Thursday morning was cool and water temperatures hovered in the low 70s. We pulled herring behind planer boards and free lines around humps and points. We limited out on hybrids and stripers and also caught two catfish. I caught a 14-pound striper. Rest of our fish weighed 4 to 7 pounds.

Last Saturday, Ricky and Juanita Cleghorn and Terry and Kathy Pilkinton from Sycamore, Ga., fished with me. Starting at 6 a.m., we fished herring behind planer boards and free lines and caught 22 stripers and hybrids with Kathy catching the big fish – a 6-pound hybrid. Last Monday, Larry Freeman, of Grovetown, and I caught 18 hybrids and stripers on the same techniques. Most of the fish weighed 4 to 6 pounds. Larry caught an 11-pound striper on a freelined herring. Last Tuesday, Jerry Olson and Robert King, Grovetown, caught 14 fish, 3 to 5 pounds.On Wednesday, Mike Hopkins, Appling, and Freeman caught 15 fish, with Mike catching an 8-pound striper.

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 – Surface temperatures are climbing close to 80 degrees by mid morning and the water level is staying close to full (330 feet) pool. Hybrid bass are stacked up and feeding strongly off main channel points in 30 feet of water on the lake’s lower end. Downline fish are being caught from 20 to 30 feet down.

Early (pre-dawn) and late evening hours are proving to be the most productive. Pulling planer boards around the shoals in Shriver Creek has resulted in some 10-pound-class stripers. Late afternoons and early evenings are the times to look for surface-schooling fish in mid lake around Dordon and Shriver creeks. The crappie bite is staying strong, with small shiners fished 10 to 12 feet down over brush and trees in 20 feet of water, especially up Little River near Raysville Marina.

We enjoyed being out with Cory Thompson, Grovetown; Nathan Newman, Evans; Chris Elie, Grovetown; Chris Elie Sr., Detroit; Mark Pugh, Eric Holden, Reynold Simmons Sr., Willie Simmons and Reynold Simmons Jr., all of Augusta; Jimmy Burke, Johnny Burke, Michelle Burke and Richard Burke, all of Clyo, Ga.; Jaye Fink, Clint Schultz, Blanch Schultz and Harold Fink, all of Aiken, and Sabine and Jim Singletary, both of Aiken. 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 – We’ve done very well, although struggling with late morning bites. We’re going early mornings and catching 4- to 8-pound hybrids and stripers 10 to 12 pounds. I’m pulling (planer) boards early until the bite slackens and then I look for downline fish. Key depth is 20 to 35 feet, with the bulk of my catches coming 20 to 25 feet. I am fishing from Dordon Creek down to Georgia’s Little River. The smoke many on the lake saw Wednesday came from a controlled burn near Bennefield Creek above Fishing Village.

Check out my Web site at 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: We couldn’t have asked for better water conditions this past week. The Soque, Chestatee, Toccoa and Chattahoochee rivers are all full and fishing extremely well. Pheasant tail nymphs and a variety of mayfly patterns work.

It’s getting to be that time of the year when getting an early start in the morning or fishing a bit later in the evening is a good idea. Fishing has slowed during the warmer midday hours.

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. Our Saturday bass tournament (7 a.m.-noon) will continue. Another bass tournament will be held on the ponds on Fridays from 6 to 10 p.m., under the direction of Gene Moyer, who can be reached at (803) 270-1580.

Brickyard report: Brandon Prickett caught eight bass (9¾) in the Fallout Pond. Lindsey Walton and David Gautier caught five bass on plastic worms and lures in the same place, a new pond recently opened. Dorothy Williams and Bernice Thomas caught 13 catfish, eight bluegill and one bass on worms and crickets in the Expressway Pond. Jack Bowls caught 16 crappies and three bass on minnows in the Garden Pond. Lock and dam: David Cooper caught 20 bream and a bass fly-fishing with a fuzzy cricket. Alice Jones caught six bream, 18 crappies and two bass on worms and minnows. George Logan and Sam Henson caught 38 mullet on mullet worms.

BEAUFORT, S.C.

& VICINITY

Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 – After a one-day delay, Capt. Maci Dean on his boat Little Lure won the cobia category with a 41-pounder, largest kingfish (21.2 pounds) and largest Spanish mackerel (5.8 pounds). Capt. Kevin Ragsdale about Mahalo Kai caught the largest bull dolphin (Mahi mahi) at 46 pounds. Anglers aboard a boat out of Fripp a day later landed dolphin weighing 62.5 pounds and 56 pounds (Sorry, no prize money). Chef Doolittle and the Augusta Iron Works were thanked for handling the Lowcountry cookout. Next tournament is the Fireworks July 12-13 with a $5,000 payout. The fishing report: Inshore, flounder, redfish, trout and whiting are (almost) jumping into the boat. Near the shore and around the wreck of the Betsy Ross, cobia fishing is excellent, while the Spanish mackerel and bluefish bites are good. The black sea bass season opens June 1. Offshore, dolphin, wahoo and kingfish are out there around the Gulf Stream.

SAVANNAH, GA.

Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – After months of having to return black sea bass unharmed into the water, the season for the fish opens Saturday. Creel limit is five per person and the fish must measure 13 inches in length. It won’t take long to catch a limit. We are catching a few flounder mixed in with trout.


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