Huge schools of hybrid bass slammed into blueback herring off the Fort Gordon Recreation Area early Wednesday - the first solid report on schooling fish this year.
At least two anglers scored good catches, while this writer missed getting into the area when he made the decision not to run up Little River because of choppy conditions. Duhhh!
Only time will tell if the schooling becomes consistent.
Listen! Hear the snores of shellcrackers and bream on the beds? Of course not, but seriously, the panfish are bedding beneath the light of the full moon this week. Linda Brown of Mac's Bait and Tackle in Lincoln County said you've got to fish in the bushes because the bream have taken advantage of high water conditions.
Pro striper guide David Willard swears he saw three pelicans diving on bluebacks just above the dam. Pickings must be pretty poor on the Atlantic coast. Poor bait fish. They are being dive-bombed by cormorants, anhingas (water turkeys) and loons and attacked by largemouth, striped bass and hybrid bass.
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. - My boat's steering went out last Friday when my party and I were already at Shriver Creek. The motor was locked in the straight position and I was able to get my party to lean right and lean left - sort of my version of "The Wave" - so that I could come back down the lake and make it to the ramp. My boat's been fixed and I plan to take out a party on Friday morning.
Raysville Marina, near Thomson, Ga. (Doug Pentecost, Leon Buffington, 1-706-595-5582) - Buddy Ferell caught three stripers 5 to 8 pounds in the Raysville area on live herring. Mike Arrington, Bobby Norman and Mack Walker of Raysville caught 30 catfish weighing between 1 1/2 and 12 pounds. Arrington, Mike Jr., Mack Walker and Cliff Crowe caught 52 catfish using chicken livers and night crawlers. Crowe and Franklin Crowe caught 21 catfish weighing between 2 and 12 pounds on chicken livers and nightcrawlers. Arrington and Walker caught 175 pounds of catfish on another trip. Douglas Pentecost and David Holt caught 70 pounds of catfish on chicken liver and nightcrawlers. Donna Marshall and Jack Nelson of Thomson caught a 35 pound-striper and 42-, 21- and 20-pound catfish. They fished live herring in Little River. Arrington and Walker caught 22 catfish - largest 16 pounds - on the same baits. Professional guide Floyd Bessinger's party of three caught 18 catfish weighing 80 pounds, according to Linda Brown at Mac's Bait & Tackle in Lincoln County. The fish bit chicken livers. Mrs. Brown said the bream are on the beds, but with the high water, "you've got to fish in the bushes."
Capt. David Willard, 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) - If you don't like the weather, just wait a couple of hours and it will change. The high winds at the first of the week resulted in tough fishing and lots of misses on strikes. Also, we saw three pelicans on the lake and they were diving on herring. We started out with 25-mph winds, with Dallas and Ernie Bahm of Augusta. They caught some nice fish, but missed. Daniel Rush and his dad, Bob, also saw some rough water on Tuesday, but did better with 13 stripers and hybrids and also had some LDRs (long distance releases) due to conditions. Daniel is an interesting guy who recently returned from Kuwait. Wednesday morning saw the weather improve and the Rev. Reggie Butler and friend Joe Hazel blasted off at daylight. I've been fishing with Reggie for years and always enjoy his fellowship. He must be in good standing with the Lord because he and his friend slaughtered the fish. Jimmy Lea and father-in-law Bob Andrews have been fishing with me for 10 years and now joined with Jimmy's son, 9-year-old Jordan. He is a sport and big-time fish killer. He put on a show, catching, netting, baiting and managed to do all this while eating pasta. They caught 19 fish. Most of our fish are coming from the surface to 24 feet early and late.
Captain Daniel LaDow, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional fishing guide specializing in striped bass and hybrid bass. (706) 364-2944. (acestriperguide.com)-While the weather was our friend last week, it wasn't so this week, making fishing conditions tough with two thunderstorms, a cold front and 20-mph winds. Our parties still caught 10 to 12 fish on cut and live bait fished off primary and secondary points in five to 20 feet of water. Last Friday, we caught 12 fish in 16 feet of water on down-lining live herring and another eight in eight to 12 feet of water on cut bait. Things ought to get better after this week's full moon departs. David Channel of Statesboro, Ga., came up to check on the striper fishing and caught his limit and a nice catfish while letting me catch a few for a fish fry this weekend.
Ralph Barbee, professional guide, (706) 860-7373)-Jimmy Ray and Charles Davis of Powder Springs, Ga., and I fished Tuesday morning, catching nine fish. All were largemouth bass caught in a blow-through. I caught a 4-pounder on a Buckeye Lures spinnerbait - silver and gold blades and chartreuse and white skirt. Ray caught a 6 1/2 -pounder on the spinnerbait. We then hit windy points and Ray caught a 6 1/2 -pounder and Davis a 4-pounder on Buckeye's new buzzbait. I took off the bait's skirts and put on a Zoom Super Fluke, anchored on the hook by two drops of Super Glue. Davis wound up with three nice bass. Ray and Davis went out with me on Wednesday and Ray caught nine bass, I didn't catch a fish and Davis caught three bass. Every fish came on a Buckeye spinnerbait cast into deeper water past the blow-through, allowed to sink and then reeled in. We didn't catch another fish after 8 a.m. Fifty percent of the bass had crayfish in their stomachs and the females still had eggs.
Billy Murphy, professional guide, (706-733-0124) (with twins Brad and Jim). Jim: I took out Michael Hopkins and wound up with 13 stripers and hybrids on live herring. I heard from a friend that the hybrids schooled strong from 7 a.m., to 11 a.m., Wednesday from the island off the Fort Gordon Recreation Point to the swimming beach.
SAVANNAH RIVER New Savannah Bluff Lock & Dam
Lock and Dam Bait and Tackle (Bob Baurle), 1-706-793-8053 - Lots of crappies are being caught on minnows off the dam. The multi-hooked Sabiki rigs are catching large numbers of shad. Some nice shellcrackers are being caught on pinks up and down the river. Some rooster reds are being caught in the eddy hole below the dam tower on the South Carolina side. The rushing water has helped wash away some of that sandbar below the dam so you can troll that area now.
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 July 1, 2006.
MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS
Harrison Sears 1 (706) 722-8263 - Johnny Amerson caught the big fish of the tournament at 4 pounds, 12 ounces and Joe and Mike Dilorenzo won the tournament with a catch of 11 pounds, 12 ounces. Sixteen people competed. More than 50 pounds of bass were caught.
Our bass tournament is scheduled again today, weather permitting, with a $20 per person entry fee and 75 percent payback. Hours are 6 p.m., until. Call the ponds for more information.
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 - Strong west winds last weekend curtailed cobia fishing efforts in the Broad River. Hopefully, this weekend's extremely high full moon spring tides could offer ideal cobia angling conditions. We have experienced a great start with charter captains' parties scoring fine catches. Capt. Trevor Strever is averaging three to four cobia per trip. His largest so far weighed in at 72 pounds. The cobia run lasts six weeks so we are about halfway through.
Whiting and spottail bass landings remain strong, but only a few speckled trout are being caught. Inshore water temperatures have climbed to 78 degrees. Offshore, dolphin trolling action continues to be outstanding with anglers on some boats reporting catches of more than 20. Despite Saturday's heavy seas, a party fishing with Capt. Wally Phinney about 70 miles out landed nine dolphin weighing up to 33 pounds along with a 45-pound yellow fin tuna. They lost a huge wahoo at the boat.
Closer in, the Port Royal shipping channel is producing nice catches of Spanish mackerel, some as large as 4 1/2 pounds. Only a few small kings were caught last week.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, 912-897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) - Inshore fishing has turned red hot, with reports of large lady fish, spotted sea trout, summer trout, whiting, flounder, blues, Spanish mackerel. Large spottail bass have been reported in the surf with live and cut mullet catching most.
Artificial reefs are producing great fishing, weather permitting. High winds have curtailed some of our fishing.