The time is now for Beaufort trout

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It’s been months since I’ve been to Beaufort to go trout fishing, but from all the reports I’ve received from the coast, now is the time to go.

Unless you want to take your own boat and you know the tidal waters like the back of your hand, save time, money and worries by going with a professional guide.

They make their living through knowledge of the best places to fish for both inshore and offshore species, on both high and low tides, and they also have the proper and safest boats to use in that pursuit.

Contact the Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce for names and phone numbers of reputable guides.

Or, you can contact my friend, Capt. Judy Helmey, whose report and contact information is at the bottom of this report.

Whether it’s Savannah or Beaufort, or even Fripp Island – the fishing is red hot right now before a major weather change invades the area.

I have heard of people being seen on Port Royal Sound in jonboats, obviously not knowing any better. Jonboats (depending upon their sizes – the longer and deeper the better) are okay when it comes to fishing protected tidal creeks, but not on the open ocean.

Surf fishing this time of year also can be productive for redfish and black drum. The lagoon on Hunting Island State Park also offers good fishing for Norfolk spots and the occasional trout.

Last time I was there, I was nearly eaten alive by no-see-ums so take plenty of bug spray.

Fishing report

THURMOND LAKE

Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington), (706) 595-5582 – Cynthia May caught a limit of crappies on minnows. William Hawkins caught 14 nice crappies, also on minnows.

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 – Water temperature is in the low 60s and the lake is clear. Fishing is very good with fish breaking everywhere. I can hardly get away from them. Jim Weaver and his group from Greenwood, S.C., had a great morning, catching stripers, hybrids, flathead catfish and white perch. We found fish breaking back in Mosley Creek and they ranged all the way down to 50 feet. They caught limits of stripers and hybrids. Fishing should improve as cooler temperatures arrive.

Bill Speer, The Fishing Coach, professional guide specializing in largemouth bass fishing on Lake Russell (www.thefishingcoach.com) (706) 421-6630 – The water is cooling and the lake is turning over. What does that mean? Just as hot air raises, so does warmer water and when surface water cools, the deeper warmer water rises and brings up deoxygenated water and debris from the bottom. So it’s best to go shallow for bass. I am fishing in five feet of water or less, working my way back into active coves with deeper water and throwing a variety of baits from buzz baits and square-billed crank baits to floating worms and shakeyheads.

Les Rice reported scratching out another second (tournament) place last Saturday with just 9.01 pounds. It took a little while for him to realize the water had cooled. He caught all his fish in about 30 feet with drop shot and the football jig. He also fished below the Highway 72 bridge where the lake is in the peak of the turnover and the bass are very shallow. On Russell, I always put in at Beaver Dam Marina where you can have a nice lunch as well as a safe launch.

Capt. Billy Murphy, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide, with twins Brad and Jim (706) 733-0124 (Web site www.doubletroublefishingguides.com) – I took out Jeff Coleman, of Augusta, and Larry Freeman, of Grovetown, last Tuesday. Water temperature was 67 degrees. We fished live herring 30 feet down in 46 to 55 feet of water in the backs of coves from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., catching 18 stripers from 2 to 5 pounds.

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 – Cooler temperatures on the lake mean we broke out the planer boards a bit earlier this year. Hybrids and striped bass have started congregating in the creek mouths and can be caught pulling live herring behind the boards in 15 to 20 feet of water. Some downline hybrids are still stacked up off points in the mouths of major creeks in 25 to 30 feet of water. Areas such as Shriver Creek, Dordon Creek and South Carolina’s Little River have been productive for both downlines and planer boards. There are still a few small schools breaking the surface around Shriver during the evening hours so keep your top-water lures handy. Crappie fishing has turned on and the cooler it gets, the better it gets. Small shiners and black/chartreuse jigs fished over brushpiles and tree tops in 15 to 20 feet of water up Georgia’s Little River have produced coolers of nice slab crappies. This week, we enjoyed fishing with Steve and Liv Johnston, of McCormick, S.C.; Derek and Joe Williams, of Augusta, and Horace Laney, of Evans. Check us out on Facebook for up-to-date pictures.

Capt. Tommy Dudley, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids. (706) 833-4807 – I have come to a point in my 60 years of life when I have decided to fish less and enjoy life more. So my new fishing season will run from mid-March to mid-October. The rest of the time I’ll deer hunt during that season and do things I have wanted to do when hunting season ends.

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) – There have been huge Baetis hatches on the Soque River every cloudy afternoon for the last couple of weeks. This has meant a rare opportunity to catch giant rainbows on tiny dry flies. Try using a size 18 to 22 Blue-wined Olive or similar small Quill of various colors. Or, if those are too difficult to see, try a small pheasant tail nymph wit little or no weight so that it floats just under the surface.

MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS

Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, Gene Kirkland, (706 722-8263) – Brickyard report: Robert Hendricks and Paul Wolf caught eight bass (the largest 6 pounds, 4 ounces) on lures. Jerry Skinner caught 25 crappies, 10 catfish and 11 bream in the Garden Pond on minnows and worms. Will Smith and Joe Smith caught 15 crappies and 10 bream in the Shack Pond on minnows and worms. Jim Jolly and Sam Young caught 22 crappies, 14 bream and six catfish in the Expressway Pond on crickets, minnows and worms. Leon Hatcher caught 14 crappies, 11 bass and nine bream on minnows and worms in the Shack Pond. Sam Carter and Leon Roberts caught 22 crappies and 12 bream on minnows and worms in the Ditch. Sam Slaby caught 17 crappies and six bass in the Garden Pond on minnows. Lock & Dam report: Sam Guy caught six bass (the largest was 8½ pounds) on plastic worms and minnows. Ronnie and Tina Woods caught 38 mullet and six catfish on worms. Jerry Rich and Grady Sapp caught 45 bream, 22 catfish and 16 crappies on minnows, worms and crickets.

BEAUFORT, S.C.

& VICINITY

Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 – Few are the fishermen, but plentiful are the fish – such as redfish and spotted sea trout. Black sea bass and trigger fish are active bottom biters.

Winners of the Owen Perry Memorial Inshore Tournament out of Fripp Island Marina included John Lee with a 5-pound redfish, Bruce Wharton second with a 3.02-pound bass and also with the bass with the most spots (6). Largest trout (2.4 pounds) was caught by Stu Mitchell, with Lee the runner-up with a 2-pounder. Dave Freeman caught a 17-pound bonnet head shark. The tournament raised $3,800 for Camp Rainbow. Coming up Nov. 29 is the Kids’ Thanksgiving Tournament. Entrants must bring their own tackle. More information: (843) 838-1517.

SAVANNAH, GA.

Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – Now is the time to come if you want to catch redfish, spotted sea trout or flounder – or all three. Live shrimp are always the best baits, but soft plastic grubs and paddletails also work. The bite is on at the Savannah Snapper Banks.


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