Hybrids are chasing blueback herring to the top and then hitting the baitfish with great gusto in the mouth of Hamilton Branch State Park cove on Strom Thurmond Lake.
Look for sea gulls and terns (smaller white birds) diving to scoop up the beleagured baitfish.
The schooling fish also are hitting Zara Spooks (standard models) and Hopkins Spoons. Best spoon technique is to drift your boat in 20 to 25 feet of water in the schooling area and cast the three-quarter-ounce spoons into deeper water.
As the spoon sinks, quickly sweep back your rod tip, then return it to its original position. This will cause the spoon to dart forward, then flutter toward the bottom like an injured baitfish. If you're lucky, a hybrid will hit it before it falls too far.
If the line moves seemingly on its own, strike back.
News item: Tirzah Uzzell Hopkins, president of Hopkins Fishing Lures Co., Inc., died earlier this year at age 98. Her husband, the late Robert Leslie Hopkins Sr., who preceded her in death, designed the fishing lure that bears his name.
David Annis reports bird-fish activity in Parksville (S.C.) Cove an hour or so before dark. He also reports shellcrackers are still on the beds.
Shara Joyner reports hybrids schooling inside Trade Winds Marina and Yacht Club cove.
Anyone planning activities for National Fishing Week June 5-13 is encouraged to contact The Augusta Chronicle outdoor editor with details.
Honorary chairman is Utah Jazz forward Karl Malone, a lifelong angler who has worked with fishing education programs near his Salt Lake City home.
Don Morrison of Lincolnton, Ga., who zeroed the first day of the EverStart Batteries Series tournament on Lake Eufaula, Ala., on Thursday weighed in a 6-pound, 5 ounce catch and advanced to today's second round.
David Geeter of Augusta didn't weigh in a bass on Thursday, but his first-day, 6-pound, 4-ounce catch was good enough to propel him into the second round. Morrison and Geeter are 16th and 17th, respectively behind Jerry Tice of Chipley, Fla., who leads the Co-Angler Division for amateurs with 10 pounds, 15 ounces.
Jordan Dozier of Thomson, Ga., apparently didn't catch a bass on Thursday and his first-day catch of 2 pounds, 11 ounces wasn't strong enough to advance.
Co-Anglers fish from the back of the bass boat and have no control during a fishing day.
Chris Daniels of Clayton, N.C., leads the Pro Division with 32 pounds, 7 ounces.
STROM THURMOND LAKE
Soap Creek Lodge, Lincolnton, Ga. (Toye & Sue Hill, 706-359-3124) -- Harry Embry of Augusta fished beneath the (Soap Creek) bridge and caught a limit of crappies, fishing minnows. Terry Brown of Lincolnton, Ga., and friends did well on shellcrackers earlier in the week. Dr. Robert Williams of Lincolnton caught a limit of bass on plastic worms.
Raysville Marina, near Thomson, Ga. (Doug Pentecost, Leon Buffington, 706-595-5582) -- Walter Ruffin of Augusta caught 15 crappies on jigs in our fish house. Wayne Newsome and Cindy Feefield of Augusta caught 30 crappies and three bass, fishing at night with minnows in our fish house. Largest bass weighed 4 3/4 pounds and their biggest crappie weighed 1 1/2 pounds.
SAVANNAH RIVER New Savannah Bluff Lock & Dam
Lock and Dam Bait and Tackle (Bob Baurle), 706-793-8053 -- Gil Smith and wife Laurie limited out on redbreasts Monday afternoon crickets. F. Clark caught a 48 1/2 -pound striped bass off the dam and released it. Wayne Glascock limited out on redbreasts on crickets Tuesday. John Anger caught three striped bass and hybrids totaling more than 50 pounds on cut shad off the dam. All were released. The catfish are still biting cut bait and night crawlers and shad are still going strong. Redbellies and shellcrackers are being caught around the grass beds up river on Louisiana pinks. Fishermen are enjoying the renovated boat ramp and new courtesy dock.
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.
FAY & JOANN'S LAKES (706) 722-8263 -- Robert Jones Jr., caught catfish weighing 5, 7 and 2 1/2 pounds on liver. R.C. Robinson caught a 6 1/2 -pound catfish on liver. Joe Garza caught a 7 1/2 -pound catfish on liver. Walter Walker caught a 15-pound carp on worms. David Hamp Flowers Jr., caught two 10-pound catfish and two 9-pounders on liver. Joshua Wayne Boyd caught a 12-pound catfish on liver. Aaron Crawford and Andrew Harmon caught three 7-pound catfish on liver and six bream on red worms. Lee Miller caught 18 shellcrackers on Louisiana pinks. Otis Furse caught 15 shellcrackers on red worms. Eddie Lee Furse caught 14 shellcrackers on red worms. Fay Stringfellow caught 21 shellcrackers on red worms. Willie Jackson caught 18 shellcrackers on pinks. Kim Cox caught 12, 11, 7, 6 channel catfish on flattail worms and one 4 1/2 -ppound blue catfish on same.
ATLANTIC OCEAN BEAUFORT, S.C. & VICINITY
Includes Paradise Pier
Joe Mix, Island Outfitters, Ladys Island, 843-522-9900 -- High tides, strong northeast winds, heavy rain precluded any fishing activities last weekend.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, 912-897-4921. I've received reports of larger than normal schools of snapper blues being caught in the Back River, hitting dead shrimp. Use light tackle for best results. Live pollywogs (mud minnows) fished on the bottom are producing good flounder catches.
A few bottom fish can be found at the artificial reefs and now "top fish" like king mackerel, cobia, barracuda, little tunny and Spanish mackerel are beginning to show up.
Probably the best red snapper year in a long time is ongoing at the Savannah Snapper Banks in 100 to 120 feet. We had a morning-to-lunch bite all week, with dead cigar minnows for bait. We've also been catching gag and scamp grouper. The bite will get better as the water warms.
We have been catching limits of king mackerel every other day for about a week. The fish are in a holding pattern on the ledges located at the middle snapper banks. There's plenty of bait to keep their attention.
I have been trolling No. 3 planers with Drone Spoons in tow. My leaders are about 20 feet long and are made out of 100-pound-test monofilament. I'm pulling the lure deep and fast -- if you get lots of hits, but no takers, slow your trolling speed down.
Gulf Stream: the Blue Water Party has started and there isn't any reason to wait for late arrivals. Large wahoo, bull dolphin, school dolphin and tuna are being caught from 160 to 350 feet of water. The action gets cooking about 55 miles out. Look for the rips that hold weeds and anything that's floating -- these spots are great places for small baitfish to gather. They think they're safe, but they're actually providing a rich target for larger fish.
Bill Babb covers the outdoors for The Augusta Chronicle. He can be reached at 1 (706) 823-3304.