How would you like to compete against this bass tournament field that includes former President George Bush, Nashville recording star Bobby Bare and "Hee Haw" star Roy Clark?
Ray Scott, founder of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, is playing host to his Eagles of Angling Seniors Tournament on May 18 at his 55-acre private pond in Pintlala, Ala.
There may be an opening for you, if you're a senior citizen 62 and older willing to fork over the $500 entry fee for a shot at the $5,000 first prize. Tournament beneficiary is the Pintlala Elementary School.
Contestants will be restricted to fishing with 4-pound-test line and only bass 12 inches and smaller will be weighed in. Scott said his pond is suffering from an overpopulation of tiny bass.
Other contestants include Blake Honeycutt of Hickory, N.C., who owns the total weight record for a BASS tournament of 138 pounds, 6 ounces set July 10-12, 1969 on Lake Eufaula.
Anyone interested should phone Scott at (334) 281-3661 quickly.
Randy Dixon of Westminster, S.C., caught a 5-pound, 2.5ounce redeye bass in Lake Jocassee which is a South Carolina record and a potential world record. The all-tackle record for the species, as listed by the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, Wis., is 3 pounds, 2 ounces.
A 12-inch minimum size limit for largemouth bass is now in place for Santee Cooper Lakes. There was an attempt to put a larger (14 to 16 inches) size limit on the fish, but anglers didn't support it. Daily creel limit remains at 10 per person daily.
Bill Dance of Colliersville, Tenn., called "America's bestknown fisherman," is now editorin-chief of the new Bill Dance's Fishing magazine, which hit the newsstands on April 24. Taylor Wilson, editor of Mid-South Hunting & Fishing News, will edit the publication. Four issues will be published this year.
A reminder: If you catch an American shad below the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam and the fish is "wearing" a bright orange tag with a toll-free 800 number on it, you don't have to call the number to earn the reward of a neat shad cap.
"Just bring me the tag and I'll issue the cap," said Bob Baurle of Lock & Dam Bait and Tackle. "The S.C. Department of Natural Resources has made my store an official tag collection station."
STROM THURMOND LAKE
Fred Moir, Savannah Lakes Village Marina, 1 (864) 391-3477. - .
Buddy Edge, full time professional fishing guide specializing in stripers and hybrids, fishing out of Plum Branch Yacht Club, 803-637-3226. - .
Mike Patrick, Strom Thurmond Lake, professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids, 1-864-333-2513. - The water temperature is 75 and the lake has started to drop. This seems to have cranked up the fish. Cut bait is still my bread and butter. The small hybrids wear me out trying to fish live bait. I've had some good trips, with the numbers there, but the fish are small, 2 to 5 pounds being the average. Tim Horton of Atlanta took some of his employees from Harris-Teeter Maintenance Department out with me last Saturday. Buddy Edge helped me with that group. We had to dodge bass boats all morning, but everybody had a big time. Andy and Jeff Menevin of Evans fished with me today (Thursday). They had their 20-fish limit in 20 minutes. I don't think they'll forget their trip with Clarks Hill Guide Service for a long time. Even though this is a put and take lake, please release some of the smaller fish to fight another day.
Soap Creek Lodge, Lincolnton, Ga. (Paul Banks and Jeremy Dawkins, 1-706-359-3124) - John Shuck of McCormick, S.C., caught a limit of bass. Biggest was 6¨ pounds and came on Super Flukes fished on points off the main lake. Henry Staples of Lincolnton has been fishing Carolina-rigged plastic worms in the creeks off the sides of points and catching limits of bass every day. Chris Bowyer and Shannon Reeves, both of Pauline, S.C., have been catching crappies fishing down about seven feet over brushpiles 17 to 20 feet deep. Tim Pilkington and Roger Miller of Kingsport, Tenn., caught 60 nice crappies on Wednesday, keeping 25 bigger ones, on jigs over brush in 12 feet.
Raysville Marina, near Thomson, Ga. (Doug Pentecost, Leon Buffington, 1-706-595-5582) - Red Winfrey of Thomson caught five hybrids and stripers on one trip and three stripers and a hybrid on another, fishing cut herring in the shallows. Mike Arrington caught 100 pounds of catfish on chicken liver and worms. He also caught seven bass, one weighing 6 pounds. Steve and Ann Weber of Dearing, Ga., caught 30 catfish, 15 shellcrackers and three largemouth bass. The catfish came on minnows, the shellcrackers on crickets and the bass on plastic worms. John Harrison of Kite, Ga., caught limits of shellcrackers in Germany Creek on hybrid pinks. Mark Arrington, Mike Arrington Jr., Allen Norman, Steve Owens and Joey Hauck caught 18 catfish (on shrimp) and limits of shellcrackers on hybrid pinks.
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 is great and the full moon next Monday will see herring, shellcrackers and other sunfish move into the shallows to spawn. This means my favorite fish - the stripers - will be moving into the shallows, too, especially to feed on the herring. Ky Widener of Augusta and friend John Abney of Columbia, S.C., and Todd Wilson of Atlanta caught 18 stripers and hybrids up to 8 pounds and two nice catfish. John Winkler of Augusta carried his two grandsons, Andrew, 8, and Zack, 10, on a fishing trip. They decided to have a mock tournament and had so many rules I couldn't keep up. They could weigh in only two fish each. They caught and released a lot of fish, with Andrew winning. All our fish were caught 24 feet of water on live herring.
Ralph Barbee, professional guide, (706) 860-7373): .
Billy Murphy, professional guide, Mike's Marina (706-733-0124) : .
Tony Penland, professional guide, Elberton, Ga., 1-706-283-8760 - .
Mary "Groovie Granny" Delage, Chapin, S.C. - U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in striped bass. (1-803-345-2401) - .
New Savannah BluffLock & Dam
Lock and Dam Bait and Tackle (Bob Baurle), 1-706-793-8053 - Lots of shad are being caught, in addition to mullet, bream and redbreast being caught down river. David Faulkner caught and released striped bass weighing 25 and 35 pounds. He caught 'em on a bucktail. Ed Ables, West Ables and Matt Bentley in two trips down the river caught a total of 80 nice bream and shellcrackers on Louisiana pinks. Celeste (Catfish Queen) and Robert Piazzi caught a nice mess of bream, redbreasts, shellcrackers and catfish down river. Brad Harris caught a nice mess of bream and redbreasts up the river. Mary Brown caught a fish basket full of mullet. Gussie Robersin and her friend, Minnie, have been catching loads of mullet at the mouth of Butler Creek.
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.
Upper Savannah River(From Riverfront Marinato Thurmond Dam)
Broadway Bait & Tackle (Larry Lesser), 1-(706)-738-8848 - .
MERRY BROTHERS BRICKYARD PONDS
Bill Gibson 1 (706) 722-2980 - Marcus Abney caught a 41/2-pound bass on live shiner in the Front Ditch. Bryan Walker caught an 8-pound, 1-ounce bass on a plastic worm in the Warren Pond. He fished with Keith Maltsberger and Ron Rishel. They didn't catch nothing! Marty Pearson caught three bass in the Membership Pond on a purple plastic worm. Mark Bailey is catching some nice bass on a spinnerbait, fishing the rocks along the road from a boat. James Free and Tony Grier had heavy stringer again in the Friday bass tournament: 7 pounds, 4 ounces. Bobby Belew and Timmy Davis had big fish: 2 pounds, 11 ounces. Sixteen fishermen competed. 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 - Abe Jones caught 17 catfish. Witt Flanigan, Linda Flanigan and Tommy Flanigan caught 20 catfish each. Johnny Bauserman caught 40 catfish and Teresa Bauserman caught seven. Jim Jewell caught seven bream on red worms and six catfish on liver. Carl Smith caught 26 catfish on liver. Chuck Miller 40 catfish on liver. Charlie Miller 14 bream on red worms, two bass weighing a total of 91/2 pounds on spinnerbaits. Willie Williams caught 18 bream on red worms and Bill Williams 26 bream on red worms. Mickey Burley caught 14 catfish on liver and a 61/2-pound bass on a spinnerbait. Albert Prescott caught 31 catfish on liver.
ATLANTIC OCEAN BEAUFORT, S.C. & VICINITY
Includes Paradise Pier
Joe Mix, Island Outfitters, Ladys Island, 1-(843)-522-9900 - Cobia season is off to a grand start. On Sunday, we checked 14 boats anchored at the Highway 170 Broad River Bridge and 10 cobia weighing up to 42 pounds had been caught. On Monday in the same area, a party in another boat caught four weighing 51, 36, 24 and 23 pounds. On Tuesday, action around the bridge slowed, but a party in a boat fishing the Broad River rips near Parris Island took six, the largest weighing 62 pounds. A variety of baits are being used including live eels, whole squid, cut shad, live shrimp and any small live fish. Surprisingly, whole squid fished on the bottom seem to generate the most strikes. Some successful anglers employ a treble stinger hook several inches behind the main hook. Sharks and speckled trout are scarce, but whiting catches are strong, particularly off Lands End in Port Royal Sound. Charter captains continue to score nice catches of redfish on the flats. A 57-pound black drum was caught on a blue crab near Port Royal Sound Markers 24 and 25. Offshore bottom fishing reports from the North Hole are encouraging.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, 912-897-4921 or www.missjudycharters.com. - Whiting season is in full swing and they're a fun fish to catch, especially on light tackle. Whiting feed best two hours before to an hour after low tide. They are found feeding mostly on sandy bottoms adjacent to oyster rakes, but are not to be found on mud bottoms. Best bait is fresh dead shrimp, but "old dead shrimp" works, too. Peel the shrimp and pull off their heads and tails, but keep them to use a chum. Throw out the shrimp shells, heads and tails little by little. It may take an hour before whiting move in. Once you start catching fish, the bite should increase as low tide nears. Always check the stomachs of the whiting you catch to see what they have been feeding on and don't be shocked to see shrimp heads and tails.
The offshore bottom fishing has been great, especially near the artificial reefs and hard bottom areas like the Savannah Snapper Banks. I've been catching king mackerel by trolling 31/2-inch Drone Spoons about 25 feet behind a No. 3 planer and also on rigged ballyhoo trolled near the surface.
Fred Bergen of Savannah, aboard the charter boat Legal Holiday (Capt. Matt Key) tagged and released a 500-pound blue marlin after a two-hour battle.