Let early birds have the worms, you get the fish

  • Follow Fishing

If the early birds catch the worms, early fishermen have a better chance of catching a good mess of Thurmond Lake hybrids and stripers than anglers who oversleep.

Pre-dawn and daylight hours are magic times to be on the lake. Other recreational users like water skiers and jet skiers are likely to be still snoozing, so fishermen can enjoy quiet times.

If you’re not familiar with best places to catch fish, it ‘s best to hire a guide. Pay attention while on the trip so the next time you take your boat out, you can duplicate what he does. Ask questions. Most guides are friendly and will reveal some of their tricks of the trade.

• Check out the reports from Ralph Barbee and Bill Speer. Fishing trips can be ruined if tackle isn’t locked up out of sight. You’re also taking a chance launching your boat on out of the way ramps. There are evil-doers everywhere.

• David Whyte, owner of Augusta Marine Superstore, has agreed to provide a bass boat for the SKISH (skill in fishing) contest following the Aug. 4 baseball game between the Augusta GreenJackets and Charleston RiverDogs. The boat will be used as a casting platform for all contestants. Larry Lesser, owner of Broadway Bait & Tackle, has agreed to provide some of the prizes.

The $7 entry fee includes admission to the game and, if tickets are purchased using a special form on a flyer, a free visor will be given. To get a flyer, contact Bill Levy, the team’s group sales manager, at the GreenJackets office at (706) 736-7889 (ext. 212), or at his e-mail address at blevy@augustagreenjacketsbaseball.com. Completed flyers must be turned in to Levy by Aug. 2.

THURMOND LAKE

Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington), (706) 595-5582 – Leonard McZilkey, of Evans, caught 13 crappies on minnows and jigs at our fish house. Don’t forget our annual fireworks show on Saturday, July 6, starting at 1 p.m. Fireworks start at 9:30 p.m.

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 low 80s and the lake is clear on the lower end and at full pool. It’s been a gorgeous ride to the river every morning with a full moon. The early morning blastoff has been rewarded with fish on at daylight. The Modoc and Parksville areas are producing some good catches. Most of our fish are being caught 30 feet down on live herring. With the warmer water, the fish are starting to group up. I enjoyed fishing with Dr. Phillip Kennedy and his wife, Denise, and twin fish killers Reagan and Gran. It was Phillip’s 44th birthday trip. Jim Kickline and wife Virginia had the grandkids in, visiting from Houston, Texas. It was their first time on this lake and they had a blast. Dr. Jay Tomeo and wife, Dr. Rebecca Talley, with daughter Lucy and cousin Max came on a repeat trip. The kids were worn out reeling in nice stripers. Fishing should just improve over the next few months as the fish go deep and stack up.

Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide specializing in largemouth bass. (706) 860-7373 – We went to Raysville on Wednesday and caught four bass, losing two big fish. The bass hit a quarter-ounce white and chartreuse spinnerbait with a No. 5 willow leaf blade and a smaller Colorado blade. Bob lost about a 6-pounder at the boat. He was fishing a bigger spinnerbait. Before fishing, we stopped at Pollard’s Corner and ate some breakfast. While we were inside, somebody stole Bob’s tackle boxes and my cooler with my name on it and Georgia Bulldog stickers on it from inside his boat. Security cameras at the store didn’t cover where we’d parked the truck. Luckily, Bob’s and my rods and reels and my tackle box were inside the locked truck.

Fishing with Ralph Barbee airs Saturdays at 11 a.m., and Sundays at 1:30 p.m. on Comcast Channel 21, My12TV, 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 – You can never be too safe out there, both on and off the water. While Pat Carroll was on the lake a few days back, someone broke into his truck, breaking two windows and stealing some things. I had an experience once on Sam Rayburn Lake in Texas where someone stole the winch right off my trailer! Using isolated boat ramps might get you to the fish quicker, but with no one around, they can be dangerous. Pat was able to catch a few fish off standing timber with a DT 15 and a nice fish on a Super Pop-R in the back of a cove. Shad are everywhere and fish are starting to school in small packs.

Full scale schooling can’t be far off. Jarod Gibson has been on a good bite, fishing small football jigs around blow-downs. His crank bait bite along riprap is also producing. This week, I had some success with a Greenfish Creeper shakeyhead with a Robo Worm in a blow-through. Water temperature was in the low 80s and shoreline grass and brush were flooded with the lake almost a foot over full pool. It’s time to get out the drop shot and start fishing around the edges of deep trees. On Russell, I always put in at Beaver Dam Marina where you can have a nice lunch as well as a safe launch. If you’d like to book a trip to Russell in the coming weeks, give me a call, or find me on Facebook at Lake Russell Bass Fishing with the Fishing Coach, or check out my Web site.

Capt. Billy Murphy, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide, with twins Brad and Jim (706) 733-0124 (Web site www.doubletroublefishingguides.com) – Inclement weather has been keeping us off the water most of this week. Fishing with me last Saturday were my son, Brad, and his 5-year-old daughter Abby, and my son Mike Hopkins and his daughters, Joanie, 8, and Jenna Olson, 11. We found fish, but they refused to bite. We caught one small striper, but had lots of fun catching small white perch. My sons and I will appear at Broadway Tackle Shop on Broad Street at the Augusta Canal from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., today to talk about striper fishing. We’ll give you some ideas as to where to pull umbrella rigs and use down lines. The seminar is free to the public.

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), (706) 267-4313 (Bradd), (803) 507-5083 (Andrew) – Early morning is the time to be on the water, with hybrids being their hungriest right at daybreak. Underwater points in the Parksville, Georgia Flats and Bass Alley areas have produced some nice catches of 3- to 7-pound hybrids and 8- to 15-pound stripers, fishing live herring on the bottom in 35 to 50 feet of water. In the evenings, hybrids are stacking up along all the main channel points 50 to 60 feet deep in the Modoc area. This week, we enjoyed making nice catches of hybrids, stripers and crappies with Mark Williams, North Augusta; Gary Nesbit and Scott Nesbit, both of Savannah; Sam Page, Andy Page, Terry Davis and Ralph Brown, all of Vidalia, Ga.; Zachary Smith, Huntingtown, Md.; Bill and Bryan Smith, Covington, Ga.; Al Farrar, Monroe, Wis.; Matt Farrar, Milwaukee, Wis.; Bill Farrar, Dubuque, Iowa; Brad Dovan, Joey Dovan, Bailey Rickerson, Cody Dovan, Dan McGrogan, Daniel McGrogan, Darrell Bullock, Hubert Chastain, Travis Bateman and Tommy Archer, all of Augusta.

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 had a real good week of fishing again. Last Sunday, was an all-around tough day. Lack of wind really made a difference. We could catch smaller fish, but not the better ones. I am catching most of my early fish on humps in 30 to 50 feet of water. After daylight, the fish are moving deeper into 60 to 80 feet of water. Today, my screen lit up, I lowered the bait and it was those dratted white perch. Time to move on.

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) – The Toccoa River is fishing extremely well right now, thanks to the generation schedule at Blue Ridge Dam. Average hours of generation have been between 9 and 12 hours daily. This means less fishing time each day, but the river is staying cold, oxygenated and full of insects stirred up by the water flow. All of these factors result in very active and very hungry trout.

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.

Brickyard report: Slick Stenson caught 18 shellcrackers and 12 bluegills on worms and crickets in the Cornell Pond. Jim and Sue Smith caught 20 catfish in the Stick Pond on liver. Henry Williams caught 25 bream in the Shack Pond on crickets. Jim Boyd and Gary Jones caught four bass and 20 shellcrackers in the Garden Pond on plastic worms and Louisiana pinks. Bob Long caught 10 crappies in the Ditch on minnows. Betty Mathis caught 25 bream, in the Shack Pond on worms. Lock and dam report: Muddy water, no report.

BEAUFORT, S.C. & VICINITY

Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 – Fishing once again is on the upswing for redfish, while flounder are being caught off the rocks at the south end of Fripp. Trout fishing is slow. Bluefish and some Spanish mackerel are being caught in near-shore waters, with the latter not as plentiful as they will be later. Small black sea bass are being caught around the tire reef and other structures. Cobia are still being caught around the Betsy Ross wreck and along deep water channels in St. Helena and Port Royal sounds where surfacing fish can be seen. Offshore, wahoo fishing is good with king mackerel just showing.

SAVANNAH, GA.

Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – The cobia season started in mid April and is still going strong. Best live baits are eels, shrimp, menhaden and pin fish. Best artificial lures are fast-moving jigs. The Savannah Snapper Banks are red hot. C’mon down!


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