Thurmond Lake anglers are hoping to have seen (and felt) the last of the strong winds that have been dominating the scene this week and last.
The weekend is looking pretty good, and reports are that crappie can be caught in shallow cover next to the bank.
American shad are running strong below the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam. Check out Bob Baurle's report below.
Despite Wednesday's 20- to 30-mph winds, Albert Moody and David Annis went fishing in Annis's 22-foot boat and bounced over the waves into Thurmond's Bass Alley cove. They caught a bunch of bream, found lots of birds diving on loons and cormorants, but never hooked any hybrids.
Moody, fishing a sponge-rubber Schumann helgramite behind an inline spinner, hooked a half-pound bream, but a bass estimated to weigh about 6 pounds wanted it more.
"That bass swallowed that bream and I fought it for at least a minute and a half," Moody said. "But the bass spit it out and I got it back, sort of filleted.
l Congratulations to Augusta's Mike Ruffin, who caught a 47-pound, 4-ounce Arkansas blue catfish in Lake Marion on cut shad. He entered the Santee Cooper Trophy Five Award program and will receive a parchment signed by South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.
STROM THURMOND LAKE
Raysville Marina, near Thomson, Ga. (Doug Pentecost, Leon Buffington) (706) 595-5582-Christopher Roof, 9, from Lexington, S.C., fishing with mom and dad, caught 14 crappies and one shellcracker. Largest crappie weighed 2 pounds. They fished with jigs in Germany Creek. William Hawkins of Raysville limited out on crappies. Charlie Cofer and family from Louisville, Ga., caught 114 crappies in two to nine feet of water on jigs. Fish weighed 1 to 2 pounds. Billy English and Jack Owens of Grovetown caught 40 crappies. Largest weighed 2 1/4 pounds. Charlie Cofer, Diane and David Barnes caught 88 crappies on jigs.
Capt. David Willard, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed full-time professional fishing guide specializing in hybrids and stripers and trophy largemouth bass. (803) 637-6379 (crockettrocketstriperfishing.com)-We've had a great week despite some unseasonable weather. Water continues to warm, the bait fish are moving in to spawn. Mike Brown, assistant pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church, brought his son, 9-year-old Timmy. They fished with Frank Helmly, a missionary to Ecuador, and John Fender, who is trying to become my first mate, but keeps flunking the fish-cleaning test (he keeps forgetting his fillet knife). They caught hybrids up to 5 pounds and stripers up to 8 pounds. We found the fish in the shallows and put a hurtin' on 'em. Timmy reeled until he got tired, giving the older guys a fishing lesson, and then he took a nap. He caught the first, the biggest and the most. We were almost scared off by the weather forecast, but John said when it was too cold and rough for everyone else, it was just right for him.
Ralph Barbee, professional guide, (706) 860-7373-I went to the riprap along the Little River Causeway and cast the GGG finish Little Earl crank bait. I caught six bass, largest of which weighed 4 pounds, in about an hour (8 a.m., to 9 p.m.) and that was it.
I'll be at West Marine off Bobby Jones Expressway from 9 a.m., today through Saturday. I'll give out autographs to the kids (if they say they saw it in this column, they'll get a special prize).
Ron Figueroa, professional guide specializing in largemouth bass, hybrid bass, (706) 832-7230 (firstname.lastname@example.org or his web site at buckeyelures.com/figs)-I fished from Modoc to Shriver Creek last Sunday and caught some decent bass in the 2 to 3-pound class on ShadRaps Nos. 5 and 7. I heard that crappie have moved close to the banks and one of the best places to fish for them is in the back of Cherokee Creek.
On Saturday, I'll be at the Bass Pro Shop in Atlanta representing one of my sponsors, Shimano, at the Calcutta Kids Casting Contest. They start about 10:30 a.m.
Billy Murphy, professional guide, (706) 733-0124 (with twins Brad and Jim)-Jim: Last Saturday, I took out Ricky and Michelle Worman of Hephzibah. We wound up with 37 stripers and hybrids - biggest a 9-pounder caught by Michelle. The fish were caught between 18 and 46 feet of water on live bluebacks off the cable in front of the dam. Jake Jacobs and Sandy Huffman, both of Martinez, and I caught about 27 crappies. They hit Hal-Flies being trolled over trees in 22 to 29 feet. Jake caught a 2-pounder and Sandy caught one close to 3. It was Sandy's first fishing trip and she socked it to Jake. My dad and Alex Cleghorn of Youngsville, N.C., caught 29 crappies this (Thursday) morning.
Lock and Dam Bait and Tackle (Bob Baurle), (706) 793-8053-American shad are going great, hitting brightly colored plastic grubs, Sabiki rigs and Hildebrandt's Flicker-Spins. The redbreasts started tearing it up on crickets and pinks on Wednesday and Thursday and lots of shellcrackers are being caught. The Mayor's Fishin' Hole up the road is producing some good catches. Just remember you have to get a free permit at my store to fish that pond.
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.
Harrison Sears (706) 722-8263 (www.brickyardponds.com)-Sharone Simmons caught 30 bream on crickets in Beaver Dam Ditch. Danny Smith caught five bass weighing 13 pounds (largest 5 pounds, the fish of the month so far) on a plastic worm in the Ditch. Larry Williams caught nine bass weighing 22 pounds on plastic worms in the Ditch and three crappies on minnows.
Our bass tournament will take place today. There is 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.
BEAUFORT, S.C. & VICINITY
INCLUDES PARADISE PIER
Joe Mix, Island Outfitters, Ladys Island, (843) 522-9900-Except for spottail bass and whiting, inshore fishing remains quiet, water temperatures holding at 65 degrees. We need another five-degree rise before other species appear in numbers. Last week, a party of four bottom fishers made it out to the North Hole and caught their 80 limit of black sea bass, fishing in 104 feet of water over structured live bottom. They boated an equal number of small bass along with a few vermilion snappers, grunts and six unwanted small sharks, all in about 3 hours. No grouper or red snappers were caught. Our records indicate that the first Spanish mackerel and snapper blues are caught in early May. Spadefish, amberjacks and barracudas show up over near-shore wrecks and artificial reefs in early June. When king mackerel appear is difficult to predict. Sometimes they are caught all year and at other times in the summer and fall. Yellow fin tuna usually migrate off Charleston and at the 226 Hole late this month. Dolphin, wahoo and billfish stay in or near the warmer Gulf Stream during the winter and move into coastal waters in April and May when weedlines form closer to shore. Thankfully, offshore bottom fishing can be enjoyed year-round.