The Thunderstorm Syndrome is back in place for fishermen who prefer going onto Strom Thurmond Lake during the late afternoon and early evening.
Fishermen and boaters must play it safe and head for shelter when they hear rolls of thunder. It isn't a good idea to take shelter on the bank beneath a canopy of trees, so it's best to head to the ramp, beach the boats and take refuge in vehicles until the storm blows over.
Many anglers are switching to fishing by dawn's early light when they not only avoid getting wet, but there are few jet and water skiers on the scene at that time.
Schooling activity among largemouth bass and hybrids and stripers is on the increase, with the bigger fish more likely to appear on the surface come August. Fred Moir of Savannah Lakes Village Marina has reported schooling fish surfacing between Hickory Knob State Resort Park and 378 Bridge early and late. However, it hasn't been reported what size these fish attain.
Photomogiton is on the wane at last, according to Tommy Shaw. He's not sure that's the correct spelling for this sticky, longish aquatic weed (and neither is the writer). The weed, however, can be a pain in the neck for fishermen trying to troll or cast, even in deep-water areas.
Charter captains David Willard and Mike Patrick aren't alone having U.S. Coast Guard licenses on Thurmond Lake. Buddy Edge, who works out of Plum Branch Yacht Club, but no longer participates in the fishing report, also has earned that license.
STROM THURMOND LAKE
Fred Moir, Savannah Lakes Village Marina, 1 (864) 391-3477. - Hybrids and stripers are schooling from Soap Creek to Elijah Clark State Park. Fishermen are trolling with deep-running plugs and catching large numbers weighing from 3 to 5 pounds. They're still reporting big catches of white perch above the 378 bridge, fishing with minnows and big red worms. Fishing is best early and late afternoon.
Capt. Mike Patrick, Strom Thurmond Lake, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids, 1-864-333-2513. - Fishing is as good as it's been in a long time. You've got to bait your hook in the floorboard of the boat to keep the fish from stealing it before you can get it into the lake. The size of the fish I'm catching now is what you should expect to catch during the cooler months. It also seems like I'm catching more stripers than hybrids. Bob Scherm Sr., and Bob Jr., of Evans enjoyed a trip last Friday, catching a limit of hybrids and stripers with nine of the fish weighing more than 12 pounds each. Mark Thurmon and Terri Patrick caught their limit and released another limit on Sunday. Mark had a striper get off at the boat that looked as long as my boat paddle. We were all sick after that, but we had a good trip.
Raysville Marina, near Thomson, Ga. (Doug Pentecost, Leon Buffington, 1-706-595-5582) - Mike Arrington of Raysville caught 63 pounds of catfish, baiting jugs with cut bait in the Raysville area. Largest fish was 24 pounds. On another trip, he caught three catfish totaling 25 pounds. Jeff Owens and Billy Autrey from Grovetown caught 39 shellcrackers and 16 catfish. They fished near buoy No. 50 about 12 feet deep and used worms. Some shellcrackers weighed between 1 1/2 and 3 pounds. Robert Milford of Harlem, fishing three days in our fish house, caught a total of 47 crappies on live shiners.
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) - We had another good week on the water, although I had a couple of windless days that slowed the fishing down somewhat. Undeniable Truth No. 17 states that "fishing gets tough with no prevailing winds." Tim McMillan of Augusta, his brother, Eric; Dad, Pop, and friend, Paul Armbuster of St. Louis, fished a westerly chop last Friday and had a great afternoon. They boated 22 fish and had a lot of LDRs (long-distance releases). That was the last of the west winds that I would have for awhile and we really enjoyed it. Mike Barlow brought down some fellow workers and part-time fish killers from Phil Hughes Mitsubishi in Athens - Ben Briscoe, Ray Griffin, Jim Rogers, Xai Moua, originally from Laos, and Mike's 10-year-old son, Davis. They went through seven dozen herring in just a couple of hours en route to a cooler full of fish. Xai had the biggest - a 12-pound striper - and Davis caught his first ever striper, a 6-pounder. Bart and Debbie Mosley of Martinez and Debbie's dad, Gerald (Red-Top) Kennedy, 74, and a legend in Sparta, Ga., went fishing with me. He had a great time during their first time on the lake as they caught 30 hybrids and stripers in between thunderstorms, but we had a nice chop from the South that really turned the fish on. Wendell Colston, his dad, Jimmy, and 7-year-old son, Wesley, and friends, Rusty Reese and Larry Jackson had a slow windless afternoon, but still managed to boast 16 hybrids and stripers, including Wesley's first striper, a 7-pounder that's going on his wall. From what I could tell, Wendell's house has enough mounts to qualify for Safari International. My guess is little Wesley is going to be a chip off the old block.
Ralph Barbee, professional guide, (706) 860-7373): The ComCast crew went with me on Tuesday and we caught three bass, all on the Pop-R. The fish weren't on the bank. I took out Mikey Glenn and Melissa on Thursday. She caught two good 3-pound fish on a merthiolate floating worm. Her first fish was a good-sized jack. Mikey caught a 2 1/2 -pound fish on the floating worm and I caught a 2-pounder. We had two fish on over 4 pounds each, but we did not get a good hookup and they spit out the worms. I fished the Cobra two-hook worm rigged six to eight inches below the swivel. We caught every fish in less than a foot of water near the bridge from 10 a.m., on.
New Savannah Bluff
Lock & Dam
Lock and Dam Bait and Tackle (Bob Baurle), 1-706-793-8053 - Savannah McManus, 11, caught the most fish and had the most weight in Mayor's Fishing Pond on opening day and her name was inadvertently left off the winners' list.
David Faison and Mike and Marcus Cain caught 15 nice bream apiece on crickets and worms. Mack Peeler and Gene Clements caught a cooler full of mullet this week. Steve Roberts caught some nice big redbreasts and bream on crickets. Norman Hurst caught 20 nice shellcrackers and redbreasts at the mouth of Butler Creek. A good many catfish are being caught in the Mayor's Pond. Remember, the limit is 8 per person per day. They're fishing worms and minnows and catching bass and crappies early and late in the evening.
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.
Bill Gibson 1 (706) 722-2980 - Harold Wilkerson and Jerry Webb had heavy stringer weighing 5 pounds, 5 ounces on June 15. Joe Dilorenzo, his son, Jay, and his son, Jarred, had big fish of 5 pounds, 3 ounces. Last week, Joe, Jay and Jarred had heavy stringer of 8 pounds, 9 ounces, including the big fish of 5 pounds, 4 ounces. Twenty-one fishermen competed last week. We had three bass over 5 pounds each caught.
Greg Childs and Doug Saxon caught eight bass out of the Membership Pond and Childs returned the next day and caught five. I fished with Paul Kalney when he caught a 5-pound, 3-ounce bass on a buzz bait in the Shack Pond. We caught four small ones on Monday.
Bass tournament hours are 6 p.m., to 10 p.m., each Friday and entry fee is $20 per person.
(706) 722-8263 - Johnnie Mack caught 10 bream on red worms and 12 catfish on liver. Richard Harmon caught 13 catfish on liver. Tootsie Reeves caught 27 catfish on red worms. Mike Knightly caught 10 bream on red worms. Bill Gittins caught an 8-pound bass on a Sammy. Johnny Coffee caught 28 catfish on liver. John Smith caught two bass totaling 12 1/2 pounds on spinnerbait., Charles Miller caught 18 bream on red worms. Chuck Miller caught 21 bream on red worms. Tim Cox caught 38 catfish on liver. Jerome Sessions caught 27 catfish on liver and cut bait. Albert Prescott caught23 catfish on liver.
BEAUFORT, S.C. & VICINITY
Includes Paradise Pier
Joe Mix, Island Outfitters, Ladys Island, 1-(843)-522-9900 - Last Sarturday, there were 78 boats in the Beaufort Water Festival Fishing Tournament. Winners included a 49-pound cobia, a 26-pound, 3-ounce king mackerel, a 2 1/4 -pound bluefish, a 2 3/4 -pound black sea bass, a 5 3/4 -pound sheepshead and a 3 1/2 -pound spadefish. A 7 3/4 -pound spottail bass took first place, although several larger ones over the 27-inch limit had to be released. On Sunday, fishermen in one boat caught 11 kings trolling ballyhoo 26 miles out. Twenty-eight dolphin up to 21 pounds were boated by parties in another boat near the Gulf Stream. Barracuda and spadefish can be found at wrecks and artificial reefs. Spanish mackerel and amberjacks are scarce.
The delayed commercial shrimp trawling season opened on Monday and 300 to 400-pound catches of brown shrimp were reported. Over-wintering white shrimp which survived our cold winter have hatched out and within three weeks, the DNR will be able to issue preliminary estimates of what the fall season will produce. Recent rains encourage fast growth and we could end up with an average crop.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, 912-897-4921 or www.missjudycharters.com. - Large roe trout are starting to show up in the rivers and sounds. There are several ways to get a hook into one of the big girls. First, you must realize that they didn't get big being dumb. Second, you must use a little more finesse when you're trying to get them to bite. They have keen eyesight and on some occasions it takes a lighter weight leader than you usually use.
Another way to get their attention is to use the fantastic Cajun Popper. This is basically a small float rig with its own bells and whistles included. The rig works well when you add a short leader and a live shrimp, mud minnow or plastic screwtail grub. Don't forget the net.
Tarpon in the 80 to 100-pound class are being caught by charter captain David Newlin from Kilkenny Marina. Surface-feeding Spanish mackerel and rolling tarpon have been spotted near the sand bar at Wassaw Island.