The mirror-smooth water of Thurmond Lake's Chigoe Creek early Wednesday morning was pockmarked by the splashes of feeding hybrids and striped bass, ranging in size from three-quarters of a pound and up.
The fish were found from the creek's mouth back to the first rocky "hump" on the left side. Fish bigger than the commonplace smaller ones could be seen breaking the surface, but were reluctant to hit artificials.
That scene will become more common in another month, and not just in Chigoe. During late July and extending through the early fall, even larger fish will begin to chase threadfin shad on the lake.
A huge school of medium-sized hybrids was spotted Wednesday just before dark dimpling the surface of Keg Creek about 300 yards off Trade Winds Marina, so anglers need to check out both areas.
Rule of thumb is that the best schooling times are from daybreak until 9 a.m., (and later on overcast days) and from 7 p.m., until dark.
The best lures are The Thing Popper and jigging spoons.
Largemouth bass are being caught off points and on "humps" eight to 10 feet deep, with Carolina-rigged lizards and worms doing the damage. The fish also are hitting clear-plastic Zara Spook Jr., top-water plugs.
The 240-page book is designed strictly for the recreational fisherman and provides concise tips on the types of tackle to use, where to fish and the best baits and lures.
Dunaway has been active as a fishing writer for more than 50 years and has fished from Canada to South America. His Complete Book of Baits, Rigs and Tackle has become the No. 1 all-time best seller on fishing know-how.
The book is available by calling 1-800-538-7347. Cost is $16.95.
STROM THURMOND LAKE
Capt. Mike Patrick, Strom Thurmond Lake, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids, 1-864-333-2513. - Last weekend's full moon changed things on the lake. I'm noticing a thermocline on my graph which wasn't there before the full moon. Also, the fish are scattered where they were stacked up. The only schools of fish now that I can find are suspended around the thermocline and I am having to move around a lot to put any numbers of fish in the boat. Try trolling lead-core line with the Road Runners to locate the fish, then dropping live bait into suspended fish for the best chance of catching your limit.
Soap Creek Lodge (Lincolnton Marine), Lincolnton, Ga. (Paul Banks and Jeremy Dawkins, 1-706-359-3124) - Roy Mills of Augusta and Forrest Spence of Lincolnton caught a limit of crappies. Mills has been catching 20 to 25 crappies daily, fishing live minnows 10 to 12 feet down over deeper brush and around trees.
Raysville Marina, near Thomson, Ga. (Doug Pentecost, Leon Buffington, 1-706-595-5582) - Mike Arrington caught six channel catfish and eight crappies over brush, fishing live minnows. We haven't seen many anglers up this way.
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 so hot I started carrying an extra bag of ice just to keep the reels cooled off. On one especially good day, we went through 72 baitfish in 60 minutes and boated 50 3-to-6-pound hybrids and stripers. It doesn't get much faster than that. I enjoyed fishing with the following fishermen this week. They were all great fun and I could write a chapter on each one. Everyone caught a limit, or at least had a chance at a limit. On a couple of windy days, we did have some LDRs (long-distance releases), but that's OK - it just adds to the fun. The fishermen: Bert Sappenfield from Savannah, Reggie Clay from Newnan, Ga., and Ralph Sullivan from Peachtree City; Gary McPartland from Belcoo, Ireland fished with Alison Altamicann of Boston, Mass.; Jamie Dickerson, Richie Sapp and Gary Neidlingen, all of Savannah; David Dupree brought his son, Jack, 8, and friends Tom, Bethany, Julia and Justin Diprete from Durham, N.C.
Ralph Barbee, professional guide, (706) 860-7373): I fished with Robert Wilson of Atlanta on Thursday. We caught seven bass and some came on the quarter-ounce white Roostertail and others hit the Buckeye three-quarter-ounce spinnerbait with white skirt and white blades. The Buckeye jig-and-pig - brown, green and orange - fished off points in 20 feet produced the two biggest fish of 7 and 6 pounds. We fished the Hart Creek section of the Raysville area.
A new segment of "Fishing with Ralph Barbee" is now being shown on Comcast Channel 4 Tuesdays at 10 p.m., Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m. The show features Bonnie and David Annis of Trenton, S.C., and the Richmond Hill (Ga.) Fish Hatchery on striped bass propagation.
Ron Figueroa, professional guide specializing in largemouth bass, hybrid bass, (706) 832-7230 (email@example.com). I fished by myself on Monday and found fishing just fair. I fished a green pumpkin lizard on a Carolina rig off points that have sparse grass. Biggest bass of the three I caught was 3 pounds, 5 ounces. My daughter, Crystal, fished with me on Tuesday. She slow-reeled a Sammy and caught a 5-pound, 2-ounce bass, among four all told. I caught four bass on a clear plastic Super Spook Jr., and caught four bass up to 2 1/2 pounds. The bite was even stronger on Thursday and wound up with seven bass 3 to 5 pounds. The clear Super Spook Jr., caught them all..
Billy Murphy, professional guide, Little River Marina (706-733-0124) : Coach Doug Holland and I found schooling hybrids in the Pollard Cove, also called Big Creek, adjacent to Wildwood Park on Tuesday morning. We cast The Thing Popper and caught five nice hybrids in the 2-to-3-pound class, as well as a bunch of smaller ones. My son, Jim, and the coach found hybrids schooling near the Lake Springs ramp late Wednesday evening. They wound up with nine weighing 2 to 3 pounds, all coming on The Thing Popper and three-quarter-ounce CC Spoon.
SAVANNAH RIVER New Savannah Bluff Lock & Dam
Lock and Dam Bait and Tackle (Bob Baurle), 1-706-793-8053 - Joe Thuan caught 65 mullet in the river across from Butler Creek on the South Carolina side, fishing red worms. Fishermen using Sabiki rigs are still catching shad off the dam - an unusual occurrence this late in the year. Gil Smith and friend caught 30 nice bluegills up river from the dam on Louisiana pinks. Mary Brown and others are catching mullet at the mouth of Butler Creek. Some good catfish are being caught on cut shad and big night crawlers, while other fishermen are having great luck pitching crickets into the high bank eddys for bream and redbreasts. Catfish and bream are hitting in the Mayor's Fishin' Hole.
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 the year July 1, 2006.
MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS
Harrison Sears 1 (706) 722-8263 - Steven Lee caught a 4-pound bass on a plastic worm in the Shack Pond. Harold Wilkerson Jr., has landed seven bass so far this week, totaling about 16 pounds, and caught them on a buzz bait in the Middle Ditch.
Heavy stringer in last Friday's tournament was caught by Greg Childs and Mark Coleman with 6 pounds, 4 ounces. Big fish was a 4-pound, 1-ounce fish caught by Johnny Amerson.
The nighttime brickyard bass tournament continues today, weather permitting. Entry fee is $20 per person. Payback is one-third for big fish and two-thirds for heavy stringer (5-fish limit). No gasoline engines allowed. Tournament hours 6 p.m., to 10 p.m. More information: Harrison Sears at 722-8263, or Tony Grier at 798-4342.
ATLANTIC OCEAN BEAUFORT, S.C. & VICINITY Includes Paradise Pier
__Joe Mix, Island Outfitters, Ladys Island, 1-(843)-522-9900 - Last Thursday, we have received more than 10 inches of rain, which will surely speed the growth of our white shrimp. However, all area fresh water rivers remain at their lowest levels since record keeping began 64 years ago. Hunting Island State Park's Paradise Pier is now open 24 hours a day and reports nice catches of whiting, flounders and small sharks. A $2 per person fee is charged, but allows access to all park amenities, including the three miles of beaches, nature trails, lagoon fishing and crabbing. Pier anglers can fish with as many rods as they wish. Inclement weather confined offshore fishing to near-shore wrecks and artificial reefs where good catches of spadefish and sheepshead were reported. Water temperature is in the low 80s and spottail bass fishing is beginning to heat up in the barrier island surf.