American shad are biting in a big way in the Savannah River at New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam.
Bob Baurle of Lock and Dam Bait & Tackle reports fishermen landed some big roe shad - the female of the species - over the weekend, in addition to a number of the smaller buck (male) fish.
Hot pink grubs fished on lead-headed jigs Å-ounce and smaller are the No. 1 lures of choice. Shad do not feed during their spawning run, but will strike brightly colored lures.
Creel limit is eight fish per fisherman per day.
Condolences are extended to family and friends of Carl Sasser of Augusta, who died last Tuesday. Sasser was king of the crappie fishermen on Strom Thurmond Lake. His way of fishing for the speckled beauties was almost an art form.
He was among the early fishermen to test the lake, first called Clark Hill, in 1952, the year the lake was created by the dam across the Savannah River. He entertained this writer during an interview several years ago with tales of his catching loads of huge bass during the lake's first decade of existence, including the 14-pound, 14-ounce unofficial lake record largemouth.
It was a privilege to have known and fished with Carl, who will be missed.
Professional striper-hybrid guide David Willard of Clarks Hill, S.C., has established a site on the Web. Its address is crockettrocketstriperfishing.com. Willard said turn up the sound on your PC "because it's got some music. It also features a picture gallery so somebody might see someone else they know."
The buoy line in front of Thurmond Dam is being extended to 500 feet to meet new regulations issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The Saturday Morning Open Team Tournament Classic will be held Saturday out of Little River Marina and feature what is probably the area's first drive-in weigh-in at Willoughby Ford in Thomson, Ga. The weigh-in, open free to the public, will start as soon as fishermen can get there from the marina. They must arrive no later than 4 p.m., to avoid risk of disqualification, said tournament organizer Ron Brown. The winning team will collect $5,000.
Hybrids, mostly on the small side, schooled big time at dusk on Wednesday. David and Bonnie Annis of Trenton, S.C., Bill Lee of Augusta and Albert Moody of Leah, Ga., and Rhett Bailey of Augusta wound up the afternoon catching and releasing the little fish, which schooled in the cove between Hamilton Branch State Park and the Modoc public boat ramp. All enjoyed watching a rainbow that stretched from Parksville cove to the park cove late in the day. Searches for the pot of gold were fruitless.
David Geeter of Augusta won the Co-Angler Division big bass title and $500 with a 2-pound, 8-ounce largemouth during the $500,000 Wal-Mart FLW Tour stop on Mississippi's Pascagoula River last Friday.
Among those in the field of the EverStart Series event on Lake Eufaula Feb. 28-March 3 are Thurston Hall of Martinez in the Pro Division and Co-Anglers Roy Altman Jr., of Augusta, Geeter, Don Morrison of Lincolnton, Ga., and Walter Wideman of McCormick, S.C.
Crappie USA will hold its annual open team tournament on Lake Lanier March 31 from 6:30 a.m., until 3 p.m. A pre-tournament seminar will be held on March 30 at Gold Creek Resort, No. 1 Gold Creek Drive, Dawsonville, Ga. Signup begins at 5 p.m. More information: Vernon Summerlin at (615) 790-0487.
STROM THURMOND LAKE
Buddy Edge, full time professional fishing guide specializing in stripers and hybrids, fishing out of Plum Branch Yacht Club, 803-637-3226. - Buffy Chaffee of New York and Carl Dearman of Savannah Lakes Village caught 20 hybrids and striped bass during our Tuesday trip. We fished live herring on free lines in 10 feet of water. Tim Wallace of Indiana joined that duo on Wednesday, but all we could catch were 10 keeper fish.
Soap Creek Lodge, Lincolnton, Ga. (Toye & Sue Hill, 1-706-359-3124) - Crappies are biting big time in Soap Creek. Our regular crappie fishermen must have landed more than 400 over last Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We're working the Anderson (S.C.) Boat Show today (noon to 8 p.m.), Saturday (10 to 8) and Sunday (10 to 6) at the civic center.
Raysville Marina, near Thomson, Ga. (Doug Pentecost, Leon Buffington, 1-706-595-5582) - Michael Knox and his 6-year-old daughter, Paige, of Thomson caught two catfish weighing 9 pounds, 10 ounces and 6 pounds, 13 ounces, along with four hybrids and five crappies. They fished 10 to 12 feet down in Germany Creek, using live herring. R.C. Meyer of Raysville caught eight largemouth bass. Largest was 8 pounds. He fished a June Bug plastic worm in shallow water. William Hawkins of Raysville limited out on crappies, using jigs. Largest crappie weighed 1´ pounds. Hawkins limited out again on a second day, fishing jigs in the Big Hart Creek area.
Capt. David Willard, Little River Marina, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed full-time professional fishing guide specializing in hybrids and stripers and trophy largemouth bass. (1 (803) 637-6379) (crockettrocketstriperfishing.com) - Fishing has been slow for me this week. It all started with the front last weekend and the water temperature has just plummeted ever since. Highest I found Monday afternoon was 51. I've been rescheduling trips and hoping next week will be better. Cluff Campbell and his wife, Lisa, from Augusta, fished with me Monday afternoon. They're on their second honeymoon and staying at Hickory Knob State Resort Park. We fished hard for very few fish, getting into some nice stripers about 30 minutes before dark. All the fish were released. This weekend may be tough because of the muddy conditions caused by rain.
Ralph Barbee, professional guide, (706) 860-7373): I fished Wednesday morning by myself and caught seven bass - largest 5´ pounds - on the Ralph Barbee Special Little Earl as well as the GGG finish. The fish are stacking up in the backs of creeks. The bass are all chunky. I caught none under 3 pounds. I'll appear at the Pilot station on Riverwatch Parkway from 11 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., today.
New Savannah BluffLock & Dam
Lock and Dam Bait and Tackle (Bob Baurle), 1-706-793-8053 - Lots of shad, including big roe, are being caught off the fishing platform. Jamie Pittman of Grovetown limited out on Saturday and Sunday, including four roe shad. Michael Sanders of North Augusta caught three roe and one buck shad on pink grubs. Ashley Dixon caught three bucks and one roe in pink grubs. Bass, shellcrackers and jacks off the banks and down the river. Crappies are biting in the Dead River section. Celeste Piazzi caught a 15-pound blue catfish downriver while fishing with husband Robert.
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 2002.
(706) 722-8263 - Virginia Dupree caught five channel catfish on chicken liver. Tim Cox caught 50 channel catfish on chicken liver. Jerome Sessions caught 60 catfish on liver. Erna Bauserman caught 35 catfish on liver. Fay Stringfellow caught 30 catfish on liver. Teresa Bauserman caught 33 catfish on cut bait. Johnny Bauserman caught 48 catfish on cut bait. Gary Baker caught 15 catfish on liver. Willie Williams caught 41 catfish on liver. Bobby Best caught five bass totaling 21´ pounds on spinnerbaits. Jim Jewell caught three bass totaling 12 pounds on spinnerbaits.
ATLANTIC OCEANBEAUFORT, S.C. & VICINITY
Includes Paradise Pier
Joe Mix, Island Outfitters, Ladys Island, 1-(843)-522-9900 - Recent S.C. DNR shrimp trawler test drags indicate that the over-wintering white roe shrimp population has been decimated by cold weather. Only a total of 22 shrimp were caught in 20 drags, whereas 20 pounds would be considered normal. Our governor is seeking federal disaster relief for the commercial shrimp industry. The spring trawling season for roe shrimp will probably be closed and elimination of fall shrimp baiting this year is also under consideration.
On the brighter side, charter captains are reporting nice catches of spottail bass. One boated and released 18 last Sunday, casting lead-headed grubs into a school foraging over mud flats at low tide. Deep creeks also are productive. Speckled trout fishing remains slow, but flounder are just beginning to show up in ocean inlets.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, 912-897-4921 or www.missjudycharters.com. - Fly-fishing for redfish (spottail bass) has been great in our area this past week. Maj. Tom Simmons of Great Britain - fishing with charter captains Eric Traub and Jack McGowan - hooked, landed and released a 7-pound redfish that struck his personal hand-tied fly.
We've been catching lots of large male black sea bass - a.k.a. green heads - during trips to the Savannah Snapper Banks on the recent calm, sunny days. Red snapper, which must exceed 20 inches long to be legal, also bit well.
On a trip to the Gulf Stream last week, fishermen aboard a charter boat landed a 40-pound wahoo by trolling. .