Continued hot weather has cooled off the fishing on Strom Thurmond Lake and other places, with the exception of the Savannah River, Faye and Joann's Lakes in Augusta and the Atlantic Ocean around Beaufort, S.C.
Fishermen are known for being patient and they'll need to be on the big reservoirs where catchable bass remain elusive and schooling hybrids are almost non-existent. Almost: Some schoolers can be found in Bussey Point Cove off the Savannah River across from Hamilton Branch State Park and behind Bass Alley. Mornings from daybreak until 11 a.m., are best.
Bob Baurle reports the Savannah River is low, but fishermen are making exceptional catches of bream and redbreast plus mullet and catfish. Faye and Joann's Lakes also are producing great catfish catches plus a largemouth bass weighing more than 12 pounds was caught there, too.
Surf fishing is heating up near Beaufort and so is tarpon fishing. Check out today's reports.
-- Catch and size limits for Lake Murray striped bass remain the same as last year: Five fish per day per angler and a 21-inch minimum size limit, according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
-- Fishermen heading for the Georgia coast are reminded to carry their regular fresh water license, which is now mandatory to fish in the Atlantic Ocean and salt water creeks and inlets adjacent to the state.
-- Fly-fishing enthusiasts are reminded of the free (to the public) fly-tying clinic on Saturday at The Clubhouse at Brandon Wilde, 4275 Owens Road, in Evans. The session will begin at 9 a.m. and last through noon. Chuck Traylor (conventional trout flies) and Ben Estes (popping bugs for bass, Clouser minnows) are the instructors.
-- A day-long class to teach fishermen how to utilize the Global Positioning System and LORAN will be directed by Chip Berry at Coastal Carolina University on July 25. He'll explain map use, nautical charts and navigational positioning systems, plus the use of radar and other electronics. Berry is a veteran of 30 years of offshore fishing. The program will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a lunch break. Cost is $50 and reservations are required. For more information, call 1 (843) 248-2845.
-- Unicoi State Park, located two miles north of Helen, Ga., is the site of a Family Fun Fishin' Day on Saturday, July 18. Registration will be held between 8 a.m., and 10:30 a.m., at the picnic shelter off Highway 356 by the Unicoi Lake dam. Children 15 and under may register to win different door prizes. The day's events are free and open to the public. More information: Ellen McConnell at (706) 878-3983.
STROM THURMOND LAKE
Jim Ware, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional fishing guide specializing in hybrids and striped bass, Plum Branch Yacht Club, Plum Branch, S.C. (1 (864) 443-5399) -- Last Friday, Jim Monroe of Plum Branch, his grandson Corey Pack of Greer, S.C., Brook Bryant and his son, Matt, from Clearwater, S.C., fished with me last Friday. We wound up with 18 fish -- some hybrids up to 6 pounds -- caught 24 feet down in 25 to 40 feet, starting shallow early and moving out with the fish. Ron Cook of Evans and Gray Owens of Centerville, Va., fished with me on Monday. I tried the same pattern -- we missed a few fish and our largest fish among the 10 we landed was a largemouth bass weighing close to 6 pounds. Wayne Peloquin and his son, Gary, from Augusta fished with me this morning. We missed quite a few fish, but Gary caught a 9-pound striped bass and caught one hybrid to go with it, but that was it.
Raysville Marina, near Thomson, Ga. (Doug Pentecost, Leon Buffington, 1-706-595-5582) -- Doug and I went out on Wednesday and caught 20 to 25 shellcrackers on hybrid pinks in eight feet of water. We're seeing some flurries of small, schooling hybrids, but other than that, things are slow.
Ralph Barbee, professional guide, (706) 860-7373): I fished by myself on Tuesday and caught five small bass. The floating worm did the trick. I cast the Pop-R, Hub's Chub and Devilhorse and never got a strike. So I tied on a white Cobra floating worm, which comes pre-rigged with two hooks. I rigged it Carolina-style on a 12-inch leader below a large barrel swivel. I put on a small pinch-on Water Gremlin sinker above the swivel. The bass wouldn't come up and get the worm, so I'd let it fall, twitching it once or twice. You have to watch your line where it enters the water. When it twitched, you'd have a fish. My biggest fish was at 2 1/2 pounds. I never saw a breaking fish.
SAVANNAH RIVER, New Savannah Bluff Lock & Dam
Lock and Dam Bait and Tackle (Bob Baurle and Finley Peel), 1-706-793-8053 -- James Howell, Finley and I limited out on redbreasts and bluegills. Arthur Mulligan and a friend from Florida also limited out. Steve Hair, Finley and I also caught a limit last week. Minnie Griffin and Gertrude Roberts caught plenty of mullet. Steve Orwen caught a ton of catfish on bush hooks and gave me 65 pounds worth. He caught 13 more this (Thursday) morning.
Fishermen are reminded striped bass and hybrid bass cannot be lawfully caught and kept from the river's mouth at Savannah to the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam. The moratorium is in effect until at least the year 2000.
MERRY BROTHERS BRICKYARD PONDS
Bill Gibson 1 (706) 722-2980 -- Tony Grier fished by himself and won the only place paid with a 4-pound catch. Fishing has been slow, but folks don't care about fishing as hot as it's been.
Our Friday night tournaments run from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Entry fee is $20 per person, including the big fish pot. There is a 14-inch minimum length size limit.
FAYE & JOANN'S LAKES (Formerly Sears Lakes)
(706) 722-8263 -- Lehman Lord Jr., caught a 12-pound, 8-ounce bass, a pair of 3-pounders and three 2 1/2 -pounders, all on topwater plugs. Russ McKenan and Richard Williams caught 25 catfish on pink worms and a 15-pound catfish. Brendon Martin caught three 10-pound catfish on cut blueback herring. Walter Hood caught six 4-pound catfish, three 10-pound catfish, and 14 more 2 pounds or better on catalpa worms. Andy Roman caught a 13-pound catfish, two 10-pounders, two 4s and two 3 1/2 s on chicken liver. Perk and Rose Perkinson caught two 3-pounders and one 1 1/2 pounds on worms. Charles Burley caught a 16-pound catfish, one 12, one 8 on liver and 16 bream on red worms. Ron Hineman caught a 28-pound catfish on shrimp and 14 bream on red worms. Cliff Millner caught two 11-pound catfish and six 2 pounds or better on liver and 16 bream on red worms. Joe Walden caught 14 bream on hybrid pinks and two 10-pound catfish on liver. Wayne and Melissa Pope caught 25 catfish on liver.
ATLANTIC OCEAN, BEAUFORT, S.C. & VICINITY, Includes Paradise Pier
Joe Mix, Island Outfitters, Ladys Island, 1-(843)-522-9900 -- Our summer run of tarpon is yielding plenty of action for anglers seeking long, spectacular aerial battles. Despite wearing a hip-to-toe leg cast, our best local tarpon fisherman has boated and released the silver giants on each of the last five days. One fish was estimated to weigh 140 pounds. The fight lasted one hour and 10 minutes. He fishes between the shore and the first bar off Bay Point, using live menhaden and a well-sharpened, large circle hook. Live mullet are good second choices. Look for schools of menhaden.
With water temperatures at 85 degrees, mullet have moved into the oxygen-rich surf and spottail bass have followed. Use cut or finger mullet. Large shrimp tails also work well, particularly at high tide when you stand a good chance of catching black drum, which do not strike mullet. Speckled trout reports continue to improve. Bait-sized shrimp are plentiful at low tide in the upper reaches of most creeks. A few cast net tosses will produce enough live bait for a day's fishing.
Though dolphin are scarce, except near the Gulf Stream, other offshore species are biting.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, 912-897-4921. Our area has been red hot, and I don't mean just the temperature. The fish are close and the bite is on. Start by looking for schooling Spanish mackerel at red marker No. 16 in Warsaw Sound. They're no5t schooling on th surface, but holding with the baitfish schools about 15 feet below the surface. So planers are a must to get the ClarkSpoons to that depth.
The Savannah Snapper Banks are producing good catches of vermilion snapper, red porgy and black sea bass. Use live bait or cigar minnows for red snapper, grouper and amberjack.
Gulf Stream action continues to be strong.