Baab: Melting ice will cause lake to rise

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Thurmond Lake always recovers from low water when it rains over a period of days, especially above the dam and beyond in the Savannah River Basin.

There is yet another way the lake will rise: Melting ice.

It doesn’t occur very often, thank goodness. But the current slop will run off into the lake’s many tributaries below Russell Dam and you can almost watch the lake rise (almost) over the next few days.

• My friend, Doug Herman Sr., of Martinez, e-mailed me before Comcast broke down to remind me of the 1973 Bassmasters Classic held out of Hickory Knob State Park on Thurmond.

Doug, who with his father operated Beverage South, which handled the Miller High Life line of beers, received a phone call from the brewery. “I was asked to send a truckload of Miller Lite to Hickory Knob where an insurance convention was to be held,” he recalled.

This was during the days when the Classic site remained secret and its participants, including the outdoor press, were not told until they had boarded an airline flight. When the plane reached 20,000 feet or so, then and only then would Bass Anglers Sportsman Society Founder Ray Scott tear open an envelope and reveal all.

Herman’s employees Jack Keane and Bill Braswell, both bass fishermen, made the delivery and saw Scott and instantly knew their home lake would be the Classic site.

The dean of outdoor writers, Homer Circle, joined with one of the pros and won a greased pig chance while country music star Roy Clark played guitar. Circle died at age 98 in 2012 and a book about his fascinating life and lifestyle is in the works.

Rayo Breckenridge, of Paragould, Ark., edged Tennessean Bill Dance for the victory. Story was, Dance had the winning catch, but obliged outdoor writers by hooking one of the fish again and pretending he was catching it. The fish got off!

Fishing editor

THURMOND LAKE

Bill Speer, The Fishing Coach, professional guide specializing in largemouth bass fishing on Lake Russell (www.thefishingcoach.com) (706) 421-6630 – Water temperature is in the low 40s. There has been a large threadfin shad die-off and you can see them floating everywhere. The bass are gorging themselves and so are the sea gulls. The coming weekend ought to be warmer, the ice and snow mostly gone and the fishing fair to middling for those brave enough to venture out. On Russell, I always put in at Beaver Dam Marina where you can have a safe launch as well as a nice lunch. The marina is open Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on Sunday from 11:30 until 6 p.m.


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