Strom Thurmond Lake bass fishing guru Tommy Shaw of Leah, Ga., last Tuesday predicted the lake's "Spook Season" would begin "about April 20."
Shaw, who acted as a narrator for Georgia Outdoor News' Steve Burch during the Georgia BASS Chapter Federation event earlier this week, was right on the money.
Check out Ralph Barbee's report below, buy some Super Spooks, scrape off the paint and have at it.
Blueback herring ought to be moving into the lake's blow-throughs at any time, bringing Zoom Super Flukes out of the tackle box.
Reminder: The second annual Georgia Special Olympics Benefit Bass Tournament will be held on April 29 on Lake Oconee out of the Redlands boat ramp off U.S. Highway 278. Entry fee is $80 per boat per team. There's also a big fish pot. Entry deadline is April 15. More information: Wildlife Resources Division at (770) 918-6414.
STROM THURMOND LAKE
Buddy Edge, professional fishing guide specializing in stripers and hybrids, (803) 637-3226. Chuck Nicholson of Edgefield fished with me last Sunday. We kept 12 hybrids and stripers 3 to 8 pounds on both cut and live bait in 20 feet of water. We totaled about 15 in all.
Soap Creek Lodge, Lincolnton, Ga., Toye & Sue Hill, (706) 359-3124 -- Jerry Osborne of Spartanburg, S.C., bass fished most of the week, catching the fish on Super Flukes and plastic lizards. He's been averaging seven fish per day and his biggest weighed 7 pounds, 3 ounces. Mike Surrett of Greenwood, S.C., caught eight bass on Wednesday, the largest 6 pounds, 2 ounces, most coming on plastic lizards. Sam Hill of Taylors, S.C., fished Monday and Tuesday and caught and released 38 bass on chartreuse spinnerbaits and crankbaits, despite a ton of competition from Georgia BASS Chapter Federation Top 6 Classic anglers. Fred and Deena Lane of Ware Shoals, S.C., caught 38 nice crappies caught last weekend. They fished minnows around brush in water 10 feet or less.
Raysville Marina, near Thomson, Ga., Doug Pentecost, Leon Buffington, (706) 595-5582 -- Robert Coe, fishing with Levi Harden of Thomson, caught a 17-pound striper on cut herring. John Smith and Greg Greason from Conyers, Ga., caught five fish weighing 50 pounds. They were a mixed creel of stripers and catfish.
David Willard, Little River Marina, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional fishing guide specializing in hybrids and stripers. (803) 637-6379 -- I'm on the water as we speak and enjoying a beautiful afternoon with 74-degree water temperature and a nice chop from the South. I'm fishing with Emma and Terry Walton of Augusta -- Terry's birthday present from Emma -- and they've hooked some nice fish over the last couple of hours. The only problem is, do they have enough coolers to get these fish home? They have a smorgasbord of hybrids and stripers up to 8 pounds, channel catfish to 10 pounds and flathead catfish to 12 pounds. We're fishing cut herring into 10 to 12 feet of water and the catfish are up here spawning. I think we're over the hump as far as cold fronts go, but the planetary alignment of Jupiter, Saturn and Mars next month is worrying me a bit. (Just kidding!).
Ralph Barbee, professional guide, (706) 860-7373: Paul Davis of Channel 12 fished with me on Wednesday. We had nine "blow-ups" on the silver-and-blue Hub's Chub and landed four bass totaling 24 pounds, each fish a 6-pounder. The bass would not touch the Super Spook. I fished by myself on Thursday. I caught my first fish on the first long, tapering point in Cherokee Creek at 11:15 a.m. I caught four fish and all were 7-pounders. I caught them on a clear Super Spook worked real slow and they annihilated it over a 25-minute period. The line snapped at the rod tip on one strike, but I was able to grab the loose line before the fish took off. I hand-lined the 7'-pounder and got it and the Spook back. The key to catching these fish is to work the plugs s-l-o-w-l-y.
New Savannah Bluff
Lock & Dam
Lock and Dam Bait and Tackle (Bob Baurle), (706) 793-8053 -- Gertrude Roberts caught 10 bream and 12 mullet on worms at the mouth of Butler Creek. Minnie Griffin caught 15 large redbreasts on wax worms. Gilbert and Ryan Smith caught 20 redbreasts on crickets. Gregory Kist and I caught more than 30 nice redbreasts and shellcrackers down river. Darnell Ivey and Brad Harris caught some 30 nice bream and shellcrackers on crickets and worms. D.D. Salley of Orangeburg, S.C., and a friend limited out on shad, trolling grubs. Sgt.-Maj. Mike Mooney and Steve Owens caught 90 pounds of catfish on cut bait. Mack Peeler and a friend caught 90 mullet.
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 2001.
Bill Gibson (706) 722-2980 -- Bass tournament hours are 6 p.m., to 10 p.m., each Friday and entry fee is $20 per person. Check out our Web site: www.merrybrothers.com.
(706) 722-8263 -- William Quackenbush caught three 8-pound catfish, one 7-pounder, a 5-pounder, 4-pounder, 3'-pounder, 3-pounder, a 2-pounder and a 1-pounder, all on shrimp. Doug Bedgood caught nine catfish on nightcrawlers. Raymond Pruitt caught 30 catfish a pound or better on worms and liver. Jerome Sessions caught 12 channel catfish 8 pounds or better on shrimp and nightcrawlers. Otis Furse caught 13 bream on red worms. Eddie Furse caught nine bream on red worms. Carroll Finley caught five catfish 2 pounds or better and one 9-pounder on shrimp. He caught 19 catfish on liver on another trip. Tooshay Rowe caught 12 catfish on pink worms. Tim Cox caught 12 channel catfish 6 pounds or better on shrimp. Brandon and Andrea Barton caught 14 catfish and an 8-pounder on liver. Ryan Henderson caught a 10-pound channel catfish on a bream head. Harold R. Miller caught 36 catfish 2 pounds or better on liver. Alvin L. Jackson caught six catfish 2 pounds or better on pink worms. Angela Embry caught a 5-pound catfish on liver. Johnny Mack caught 15 catfish on shrimp and 12 bream on red worms. Chris Hollis caught 24 catfish 2 pounds or better on liver.
BEAUFORT, S.C. & VICINITY
Includes Paradise Pier
Joe Mix, Island Outfitters, Ladys Island, (843)-522-9900 -- The first cobia of the season was caught last weekend. By Wednesday, six others were reported, most coming from the Broad River at the rip just west of Parris Island. Live bait eels will be available this weekend. Charter captains again report good spottail bass action north of the Highway 170 (Broad River) bridge, particularly in the Hazzard Creek area. A 60-pound black drum was caught near markers 24 and 25 about a mile west of Bay Point. Speckled trout remain scarce, but small bluefish are everywhere.
Offshore, the Fripp Island tire reef continues to produce outstanding sheepshead catches. On Sunday, two fishing parties filled 100-quarter coolers with sheepshead which we estimated would average 6 to 7 pounds. The largest fish weighed 11' pounds.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921. Capt. Mark Jonas and his party caught more than 70 whiting last weekend, using dead shrimp and small pieces of squid. He said the best fishing came between the high and low tides, but if your time is limited and you can fish only on low tide, try it.
Offshore, black sea bass, sheepshead and black drum are holding at all of the reefs located in less than 60 feet of water. This fish stock should hold in those areas for at least another month. The black sea bass (blackfish) will migrate to deeper waters and the sheepshead and black drum will relocate to inshore waters.
The Savannah Snapper Banks have been producing great catches over the last few weeks, with Gulf Stream-sized vermilion, trigger fish, large black sea bass, hognose snappers, red snappers, groupers and amberjacks.
The surface action is heating up at the Gulf Stream, with reports of yellow fin tuna, wahoo and bull dolphin.
Reach Bill Babb at (706) 823-3304.