Dog days have arrived, the weather has been hot, but the fishing's not on Strom Thurmond Lake.
The live bait guides (Buddy Edge and David Willard) have been faring well, but fishermen using artificials have been finding the going tough.
One of the few positive reports has come from Ralph Barbee Jr., of Evans.
He fished the top-water, blue-and-chrome Hub's Chub along deep points and around humps in Cherokee and Grays creeks and caught some nice bass. He's been arriving at the lake in late afternoon and fishing until dark.
The lake is nearly five feet below normal pool at 525.5, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Boaters and fishermen are urged to be cautious.
Here's how the top 12 individuals representing Georgia and South Carolina BASS federations fared in the Southern Divisional fishoffs on Lake Eufaula June 21-23:
GEORGIA: Ricky Layton, 27 pounds, 7 ounces; Kirby Strickland, 21-11; Don Kohli, 18-11; Glen Dykes, 12-13; Cliff Bost, 7-10; Scott Moore, 6-12; Donald Culverson, 6-3; Jim Holton Jr., 5-7; Robert Haldeman, 2-6; Dennis Taylor, 2-6; Andy Martin, 2-5; Dale Hart, 0-0.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Ricky Shumpert, 34 pounds, 7 ounces; Donnie Johnston, 29-6; Greg Rikard, 14-15; William Smith, 12-15; Kyle Yates, 12-15; Brent Riley, 10-8; Tommy Lindler, 9-6; David Schneider, 9-6; Roger Scruggs, 7-14; Les Westbury, 7-12; Randy Settle, 5-3; Kevin Tutton, 3-5.
TEAM STANDINGS: Alabama, 183 pounds, 5 ounces; North Carolina, 169-13; Kentucky, 158-14; South Carolina, 157-14; Georgia, 113-11; Tennessee, 113-9; Florida, 98-2.
STROM THURMOND LAKE
Buddy Edge, professional fishing guide specializing in stripers and hybrids, (803) 637-3226. Last Saturday, I took out Lisa, Jimmy and Betty Welborn and Wendell and H.W. Payne, all from Piedmont, S.C. We caught 25 fish weighing 2 to 10 pounds, fishing 30 feet down with live blueback herring. I took out Greg and Tiffany Moss of Pacolet, S.C., on Sunday and kept 27 fish 3 to 7 pounds out of the 50 or 60 we caught.
Raysville Marina, near Thomson, Ga., Doug Pentecost, Leon Buffington, (706) 595-5582 -- Allen Norman of Augusta and Mike Arrington of Thomson limited out on crappies, fishing in the Raysville area. They fished with minnows in 15 feet of water. Arrington and Thomas Casteel limited out on crappies again a few days later, fishing minnows in 22 feet of water. The marina will celebrate the Fourth of July all day Saturday, with a fireworks display after dark.
David Willard, Little River Marina, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional fishing guide specializing in hybrids and stripers. (803) 637-6379 -- Fishing has been tough for me this week. The tiny threadfin shad that the fish love to devour have hatched and they are everywhere. I've seen a few fish on the surface, but they didn't stay long. I'm still catching most of my fish in 24 to 30 feet of water. They seemed to have scattered, as I've had very little wind on the days I've tried to fish. Milt Riley and his wife, Shirley, from Atlanta caught 12 nice hybrids and stripers. Scott Hall from Augusta and Don Smith, his father-in-law, who is traveling the country in a motorhome, caught 10 hybrids and stripers and two catfish on Wednesday.
Ralph Barbee, professional guide, (706) 860-7373: I've been catching all my fish on top water on the Hub's Chub, fishing 6 p.m., until dark. The chrome-and-blue combo is the best on the outside and deep points in Cherokee and Grays creeks. I'm also fishing main channel humps with the bass 3 pounds up to 5'. I threw plastic lizards on the humps and all I can catch is hydrilla. The grass is so thick, I can't get the lizard to where the fish are. But the bass apparently are coming out of the holes in the grass and knocking the fire out of the Hub's Chub.
New Savannah Bluff
Lock & Dam
Lock and Dam Bait and Tackle (Bob Baurle), (706) 793-8053 -- Mack Peeler and a friend caught 100 mullet earlier this week. Peeler took Bob fishing on Tuesday and caught 50 bream. Mack caught 49, Bob one, and Peeler used that one for bait and caught a crappie.
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 -- Tony Grier and James Free won last Friday night's tournament with 9 pounds, 15 ounces, including the big fish of 6 pounds, 4 ounces. Tonight's tournament entrants will have the option to fish the membership pond, which is normally closed to the public.
David Scott caught a 4-pound, 2-ounce bass on a plastic frog in the Swan Pond. Mike Dilorenzo and Steve Eberoth caught a 41/2-pound bass in the Willow Pond.
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 -- Jim Nelson caught a 17-pound catfish on a bream head. Deane Wilfort caught 15 catfish on liver. Kedrick Blair caught 15 catfish on liver. George Lambert caught catfish weighing 12-1/2, 11 (two) and an 11-1/2 pounds on blueback herring. Gary Tate caught 10 1-1/2 pounds or better on chicken liver. Pete and Lois Freeman caught a 3-pound catfish and 20 smaller ones on liver. Tim Cox caught 10, 6, 4 and 10 a pound or better on shrimp and blueback herring. Mike Beasley caught 8', 12 and 5 3/4 on shrimp. Eddie Furse caught 18 bream on red worms. Willie Williams caught 21 bream on red worms. Mike Knightly caught 10-1/2 and 8 pounders on cut herring.
BEAUFORT, S.C. & VICINITY
Includes Paradise Pier
Joe Mix, Island Outfitters, Ladys Island, (843)-522-9900 -- Fishing with charter captain Jack Brown, Augustan Frank Dolan and his 8-and-10-year-old sons, limited out on spottail bass in Station Creek, using live shrimp and mud minnows. The youngsters boated and mostly released 22 fish. For some unknown reason, spottail surf catches have fallen off, but speckled trout landings remain strong, particularly at creek mouths around Daws Island and the St. Phillips side of Trenchard's Inlet. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources reports that our prolonged drought has dropped Edisto River water levels to historic lows. Concentrated in deep pools, fish are easy pickings for anglers, wading birds and the occasional alligator.
Inshore, flounder and whiting landings continue encouraging as are spadefish and sheepshead at the near-shore artificial reefs. Farther out, a 105-pound school teacher caught a 41-pound king mackerel while fishing with charter captain Wally Phinney. The battle lasted 25 minutes.
Offshore dolphin anglers normally search for isolated weedlines, catches declined last week because of the over-abundance of weeds spun off by Gulf Stream currents.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921. It's a great time of the year to hit the tidal creeks and rivers, sounds and surf in search of some of those rod-benders. Live or dead shrimp remains the best bait, while plastic grubs and screwtails also will catch fish. Mud minnows will work if you opt for flounders.
We are still catching Spanish mackerel, but they're feeding deep and one of the best ways to catch 'em is to use a medium Clark Spoon about 20 feet behind a No. 3 planer. Now the good news for those of you who want to catch Spanish on light tackle.
When the mackerel hits the spoon and trips the planer, the school follows the hooked fish to the surface. Cast into the vicinity of where the fish surfaces and hang on.
Black sea bass have been showing up at the artificial reefs in 50 feet of water, sort of strange for this time of year. Try cut squid on light tackle.
There are plenty of big bottom fish to target on the Gulf Stream ledges in 150 to 200 feet of water. Live bait remains the best bait so stop at the Savannah Snapper Banks on the way out and catch some ruby redlips, sand perch, bank sea bass, vermilion and black sea bass. Don't forget to pop their air bladders before putting them in the live well, or they won't survive the trip to the stream.
Reach Bill Babb at (706) 823-3304.