Fishing can be a crazy pastime.
Here's one reason why many folks are glad Strom Thurmond Lake isn't like Lake Seminole on the Georgia-Alabama-Florida border:
Jack Wingate reports catching speckled perch (crappies) has been tough, but not because the fish are scarce. It's because of the close proximity of alligators to where fishermen want to go.
"Sometimes you can see 10 or 15 "lizards" on the surface at one time just where the perch ought to be," said the Sage of Lake Seminole.
Meanwhile, back on Thurmond Lake, fishing for largemouth bass has been great for some folks, and not so good for others.
The same holds true for seekers of crappies, striped bass and hybrids. One day the fishing can be great and a day or so later, not so hot. Give it another week of warmer temperatures.
The rain-induced rising waters have caused all sorts of stuff to float out onto the main lake. Boaters must be cautious and keep a lookout for floating logs and other debris.
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. - All the new liquid real estate on Clarks Hill has the fish scattered, but the nice weather we've been having makes it great just to be on the lake. I've been having to move around a lot to catch some fish, just to stay with them. Most of the fish I've been catching have been fat hybrids 5 to 8 pounds apiece, with the occasional striper up to 12. It's still tough to consistently put over 20 fish in the boat, but that is about normal for this time of the year. Be real careful and look out for floating debris.
Raysville Marina, near Thomson, Ga. (Doug Pentecost, Leon Buffington, 1-706-595-5582) - William Hawkins of Raysville caught 14 crappies on green jigs. Three of the crappies weighed 2 pounds each and the rest a pound or better. They came out of Big Hart Creek.
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) - Water temperature is 60 degrees. It's been typical early spring fishing this week, with some days being really good and the next day really tough. Russell and Buck Smith of Oconee, Ga., caught a dozen nice stripers and hybrids, pulling baits under planer boards last Saturday. It was cloudy and cold with water temperature only reaching 52 degrees. They missed enough to have a limit, but the fish were not very aggressive. I'm out here Thursday with three fish killers from C.K. Supply of Evans and I'll tell you all about their trip next week.
Captain Daniel LaDow, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional fishing guide specializing in striped bass and hybrid bass. (706) 364-2944. (acestriperguide.com)Fishing was on the upswing, but Saturday turned out to be cold and wet. We still had a good catch although the fish were smaller. The two days of rain muddied the water and created lots of floating pine needles and trash, making it difficult to pull planer boards. Conditions improved this week with sunny, warmer days and less boat traffic. Suspended fish can be found at the mouths of creeks in 50 to 70 feet, but it's been tough to get them to bite. The weekend is looking good with warmer temperatures forecast and the bigger fish should return. Even if you don't have planer boards, you can still fish live herring below medium-sized corks and slow-troll them with your electric motor. The herring should be placed five to 15 feet below the cork. Hold on to your rods because March fishing on our lake can be awesome.
Ralph Barbee, professional guide, (706) 860-7373): I fished with Bob Wilson of High Point, N.C., last Monday and caught seven bass. All came from the flats in Cherokee Creek. The bass hit a Buckeye gold-bladed spinnerbait with chartreuse and orange skirt. Biggest bass was a 7-pounder caught by me. Most of the fish weighed 2 1/2 pounds. I fished on Thursday by myself and caught three bass, biggest weighing 4 pounds, and all came on that same spinnerbait.
SAVANNAH RIVER New Savannah Bluff Lock & Dam
Lock and Dam Bait and Tackle (Bob Baurle), 1-706-793-8053 - The water is high and muddy, but it's going to be real good for all species once the river level gets back to normal. There's not much doing until then.
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 - Doug Saxon and Greg Childs caught five bass and a catfish on plastic lizards in the Membership Pond. Scott Somers fished a broken-back Rapala in the Cornell pond and caught a 6-pound, 2-ounce bass. . .from the bank! Milton Flournoy caught a 4-pound, 9-ounce bass on a plastic lizard in the Middle Ditch. Stan Hoskins and Tom Marshall caught 5-pound, 4-ounce, 5-pound, 2-ounce, 4-pound, 10-ounce and four small bass, all on spinnerbaits in the Back Ditch. Steve Kelly and his father caught 11 bass in the Ditch. Herman Kietzman and Rex Auglafpaugh caught seven crappies, a 2 1/4 -pound bass and a 4-pound, 3-pound bass from the Middle Ditch on minnows. Mark Hopper and Greg Yazzie caught 11 bass totaling 25 pounds, 2 ounces in the Garden Pond on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Bill Powell caught a 5-pound bass and a 2 3/4 -pounder on a Super Fluke fished from the bank of the Front Ditch. Robert Gregalunas caught seven bass in the King Pond. Howard Brousard and Bill Bragg caught eight slab crappies and two bass on minnows in the Back Ditch. Allan and Tina Barton caught six bass - largest 4 pounds, 2 ounces - on a Super Fluke in the Ditch.
We now have a site on the Internet at www.brickyardponds.com.
ATLANTIC OCEAN BEAUFORT, S.C. & VICINITY Includes Paradise Pier
__Joe Mix, Island Outfitters, Ladys Island, 1-(843)-522-9900 - With spottail bass populations increasing rapidly, a growing number of anglers are wondering when the S.C. DNR will begin to relax catch and/or size limits. The minimum length limit seems reasonable because a 15-inch, 2-year-old will yield only about a half-pound in fillets whereas a 3-year-old, 24-inch fish will yield fillets weighing about 4 pounds. It would seem reasonable that the maximum length limit could be raised an inch or two, or the catch limit increased to three per angler.
The Harbor River low-tide flats continue to produce nice spottail catches. Wednesday morning, a new charter captain found a school of medium-sized bass lined up at the edge of an exposed oyster rake and boated, tagged and released 23. His clients were using both fly rods and light spinning tackle. They could have caught more, but a pod of feeding porpoises moved in and dispersed the school.
Offshore, the Hilton Head tire reef is rewarding sheepshead anglers with limit catches. Plenty of black sea bass are being caught bottom fishing at the North Hole, but grouper and snapper remain scarce.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, 912-897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) - Because of popular demand, we are mapping plans for our inaugural Fun Fish Days just for kids. Participants will receive hands-on instructions from licensed charter captains, from catching bait to cleaning their catch. They'll learn how to throw a cast net, identify their catch, bait a hook, handle live bait, and catch and release. The camp will run from June 2 through Aug. 27 on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Two trip times are available - 8 a.m. to noon and 1:30 p.m., to 5:30 p.m. The camp is designed for kids 6 to 15 years of age and cost is $75 per trip. We'll provide all tackle and life preservers, as well as snacks and soft drinks. Contact me for more information.