Strong east to northeast winds have kept school fishing to a minimum, but the live bait boats are raking in the fish.
So much for the old adage 'when the wind's from the east, fish bite the least," although "when the wind's from the west, fish bite the best."
More rain and easterly winds are forecast for today and Saturday.
The schools have been spotted from the Gracewood State School and Hospital Cove all the way to Lake Springs, but the wind plays a key role in anglers' successes or failures. If it's too rough, it's hard to tell the splashing of school fish from wind-blown whitecaps.
The Thing Popper, quarter-ounce white Roostertail spinners and jigging spoons are the major artificial lures in play.
STROM THURMOND LAKE
Capt. Buddy Edge, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed full-time professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids, fishing out of Plum Branch Yacht Club, 803-637-3226. - Last Friday, Tim Redd of Aiken and Craig Sorensen of Tucson, Ariz., fished with me and limited out on 3- to 8-pound hybrids and stripers. Frank Workman of Greenwood, S.C., and Mike Goss of Greenwood, S.C., limited out on 3- to 7-pound fish on Wednesday. Most of our fish are coming around 30 feet deep.
Capt. Mike Patrick, Strom Thurcmond Lake, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids, 1-864-333-2513. - In four days of fishing this week, my clients caught a total of 160 stripers and hybrids. The fish were all caught on live bluebacks and were 2 to 15 pounds. On Wednesday afternoon, we caught 30 fish in 35 minutes. All those fish weighed 3 to 5 pounds, except three in the 8-pound range. Everyone I know is catching fish right now and it should be good for the next couple of weeks. If you fish live bait and have trouble getting the fish to hit, the problem is probably your bait. A good lively bait is a must.
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) - The best thing about this job is that I get to spend quality time with some really nice people. This week was no exception as I fished J.R. Wren and his wife, Mildred, on their 55th wedding anniversary. They were really a lot of fun as we got into school after school of breaking fish and also caught fish as deep as 60 feet. They were accompanied by friends Bill Weygant and Audrey Bye, who also contributed to a cooler full of fish. Bill is ready to sell his bass boat and get a striper boat. I'm on the water now (Thursday afternoon) with Stevens Creek Community Church youth pastor Bobby Smith. He is a die-hard turkey hunter and is picking my brain concerning serious striper fishing. He's been on the boat about 30 minutes and is already spoiled. Congratulations to Bonnie Annis on another successful De La Howe fishing tournament. She puts it on annually for all the kids at the school and it's really been successful. Bonnie and David put in a lot of work which I'm sure the kids appreciate, since they all had a great time catching stripers and hybrids. I was disappointed to see one fisherman last weekend releasing stripers that were already dead. I guess he wanted to keep fishing, but that is a waste of a valuable resource. Sometimes when the fish are hitting good, you just have to put fish in the cooler and when you reach a limit, it's time to go home.
Ralph Barbee, professional guide, (706) 860-7373): Paschal Owens, the Roostertail King, fished with me on Wednesday and caught two small bass and two stripers, the latter 3 to 3 1/2 pounds each, on the quarter-ounce white Roostertail. I caught three jacks (chain pickerel) on the Roostertail. The fish are in the pockets and points along grass lines.
"Fishing with Ralph Barbee" features Lake Hartwell striper guide Travis Adams. Another part of the show features the Blademaster/Suddeth lure factory in Danielsville, Ga. The segment is being shown on Comcast Channel 4 Tuesdays at 10 p.m., Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m.
Ron Figueroa, professional guide specializing in largemouth bass, hybrid bass, (706) 832-7230 (email@example.com or his web site at buckeyelures.com/figs). I've been catching some decent bass on Edge's new Speed Fall Worm in both green pumpkin and white ice colors. It's rigged like a floating worm, except the point of the 5/0 hook I use is buried in the worm body to make it weedless. I also use a swivel and a foot-long leader. I've been casting the worm into spotty grass beds, quickly pulling it out to the edges and letting it drop. I've caught one 5-pounder and a couple of 4-pounders among the usual smaller fish over four days of fishing this week.
We're going to hold another "Take A Soldier Fishing" tournament on Nov. 23. I'm still looking for 30 boaters to contact me as soon as possible. We'll have lots of "goodies" for participants and the event also will be shown on TV.
Figueroa now has a TV show called Fishing Success, which features a one-minute hot tip on fishing Thurmond Lake, along with a fishing report Monday through Friday on Comcast cable channels CNN twice between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., and ESPN and ESPN2 between 8 p.m., and 9 p.m., and 11 p.m. and midnight, and during the Bill Dance show on TNN Saturdays.
Billy Murphy, professional guide, Little River Marina (706-733-0124) (with twins Brad and Jim). I fished on Wednesday and wound up with six hybrids, all caught on the CC Spoon. Biggest was a 6-pounder and the others weighed 3 to 4 pounds. This action took place in the Lake Springs area. Brad: I took out some kids from John De La Howe School (as part of Bonnie and David Annis's annual tournament) last Saturday. One of the kids missed a striped bass I estimated to weigh between 20 and 25 pounds and another big one struck at a bait close to the surface and missed. We boated six fish and had a great time. Special thanks go to David and Bonnie and the special sponsors we had. I can't wait for next year's tournament. Kurt Evans and Ray Wombles fished with me on Sunday. We caught 13 hybrids and stripers weighing 3 to 6 pounds free-lining herring in 70 feet of water. Ray had never been hybrid fishing before and the rods kept him busy. Kurt caught the biggest fish weighing 6 pounds.
SAVANNAH RIVER New Savannah Bluff Lock & Dam
Lock and Dam Bait and Tackle (Bob Baurle), 1-706-793-8053 - Richmond County Sheriff's Deputy Bobby Gilbert and I fished the river three times this week and caught 20 to 25 big slab crappies on a one-eighth ounce green grub and minnows each time. We also caught a good mess of bream, too, including some shellcrackers of about a pound apiece. We fished the river eddys. He caught an 18-pound, 6-ounce striper on a Pencil Popper and released the fish. Brad Harris and Russell Peyton caught 45 nice bluegills and a couple of crappies.
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.
ATLANTIC OCEAN BEAUFORT, S.C. & VICINITY Includes Paradise Pier
__Joe Mix, Island Outfitters, Ladys Island, 1-(843)-522-9900 - Fast-dropping water temperatures heighten spottail bass feeding instincts and anglers are reporting outstanding catches. Last week, a party fishing with Orvis charter captain Josh Utsey over a live bottom about 1.1 miles off the south tip of Edisto Island boated and released 16 bass, all above the 27-inch maximum size limit. They averaged 40 inches in length. They struck live finger mullet. On Saturday, a charity surf fishing tag and release tournament was held on Pritchard's Island. A total of 56 fish were tagged and the largest measured 26 inches. More than half of the fish were black drum averaging 4 pounds and were caught on fresh shrimp. Black drum rarely strike mullet. The bars and shell rakes around the tip of Parris Island are also producing nice spottail catches using live shrimp and mud minnows. Speckled sea trout landings continue to build, although size leaves something to be desired. Shrimp baiters are experiencing improving results.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, 912-897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) - Live shrimp fished beneath floats continue to make large catches of speckled trout. Some of the trout caught were in the 24-inch range. Shrimp, mud minnows and small mullet are great live baits to use at this time of year. Try this: Using a circle hook and light line, cast out a live bait and let it fall to the bottom. Use a bait-casting reel with a clicker and when it sounds off, grab the rod and reel in the big one.
The Savannah Snapper Banks are producing great catches of red snapper, grouper, vermilion, triggerfish, black sea bass, king mackerel, amberjacks and barracuda.