The spring cobia run has begun in Beaufort County's Broad River, which means anglers fishing during the week might have a better chance of finding a place to anchor their boats than on weekends.
More than 100 boats have been counted below the Broad River bridge on weekends during the cobia season.
Live eels (take a couple of towels to make handing the slippery creatures easier) are probably the No. 1 bait, with de-finned salt water catfish No. 2.
Raysville Marina, near Thomson, Ga. (Doug Pentecost, Leon Buffington) (706) 595-5582) - Willie Wesby and Claudia Palmer of Augusta caught six crappies, one weighing 2 pounds, and a 2-pound hybrid in our fish house on shiners. Ed Benson of Lincolnton caught a 9-pound largemouth bass.
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) - Water temperature has hit the high 60s and low 70s and these fish are wide open. My parties have had a blast catching breaking fish on free lines and huge slab hybrids as deep as 50 feet. Bill and Marian Parrish from Aiken found conditions just right with a southwest chop and caught fish until they were exhausted. George Fuller and Scott Anderson caught fish on planer board herring Thursday morning and also got into breaking fish. They caught and released a limit of fish, keeping 12 for a fish fry. They also caught a couple of nice largemouths. The fishing situation is very good and it's going to get better.
Ralph Barbee, professional guide, (706) 860-7373 - Last Tuesday, I caught six bass on the Super Spook in blow-throughs. I caught fish from 8 a.m., until 1:30 p.m. There were no bluebacks present, the bass weren't schooling, but just there. I could catch only one bass per blow-through, so it's a matter of running and gunning. I fished Thursday and caught six good bass - not on blow-throughs, but on points. You have to work the Spook extremely fast. My Thursday fish were 3 to 4 pounds. I tried a Sammy, but had no takers.
Ron Figueroa, professional guide specializing in largemouth bass, hybrid bass, (706) 832-7230 (email@example.com or buckeyelures.com/figs) - I had a good week, finding lots of bedding and cruising bass, with my best five fish on Monday weighing 21-plus pounds, with one over seven pounds. My best five on Tuesday weighed just 10 pounds. Thursday: Richard Townsend, a newcomer to the area from Aiken, fished with me and caught three bass weighing a total of 9 pounds, also on the Spot Remover, as well as the pink Senko.
Billy Murphy, professional guide, (706) 733-0124 (with twins Brad and Jim) - Jim: Last Thursday afternoon, I took out Dad and Uncle Alex Cleghorn, fishing from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. We caught 14 stripers and hybrids eight to 12 pounds on live herring free-lining and down-lining. Henry and Rosyline Bryant caught 31 crappies trolling over our 20-foot-deep trees on Friday. Mrs. Bryant caught a 2-pounder and the rest of the fish weighed a half-pound to one pound each, caught on Hal-Flies over the trees in the Mistletoe State Park and Grays Creek areas. Uncle Alex and I fished from 6:30 p.m. to 10:45 p.m., on Saturday and caught 16 stripers and hybrids in the 8- to 13-pound range. All were caught on live herring down-lined in 36 to 45 feet of water in front of the dam. I took out Richard 'Buffalo' Winter on Wednesday and caught stripers and hybrids on the South Carolina side, 3- to 9-pound range, in eight to 28 feet. We were on the water by 5:15 p.m., and out of three dozen herring by 7:15. Buffalo caught the biggest fish - a 9-pound male striper.
Lock and Dam Bait and Tackle (Bob Baurle) (706) 793-8053 - Lock and Dam Park will be closed all day Saturday for a festival. No fishing will be allowed. I'll be open until 10 a.m., to take care of anglers fishing down the river or in the Mayor's Fishin' Hole, but closed after that. I'll reopen Sunday morning.
Lots of shad are still being caught on the green, pink, chartreuse, yellow and white grubs and the gold-hooked Sabiki Rig. Wes Mullins and fiance Robin Gledhill have been catching shad every day this week. Lots of big stripers are being caught and released. Mary Brown and the rest of the folks who fish at the mouth of Butler Creek are catching lots of mullet on little red worms. Redbreasts are being caught off the dam, inside the lock and down the river, biting Louisiana pinks, crickets and hybrid pink worms.
MERRY BROS. BRICKYARD PONDS
Harrison Sears (706) 722-8263 (www.brickyard ponds.com) - James Tripp caught seven bass weighing 14 pounds on a Zoom Bug in the Pollard Pond. Greg Childs and Doug Saxon caught seven bass, but five keepers, on plastic worms in the Pollard. Bobby Masters Jr., and wife Paula caught a 6-pound, 8-ounce bass on a plastic worm in the Swan Pond. Mike Thomas caught two bass - one 4-pounder, the other 5 - in the Middle Ditch on plastic worms. Bill Gibson caught 23 crappies over two days on minnows in the King Pond. Honey Sears caught 31 bream on red worms in the Ditch. Doug Edwards' 7-pound bass is the big fish contest leader. It was caught on the King Pond on a plastic worm.
Our bass tournament will take place today. There is a $20 per person entry fee and 75 percent payback. Hours start at 6 p.m.
Joe Mix, Island Outfitters, Ladys Island, (843) 522-9900 - The Broad River cobia run kicked in with a bang last weekend. We have confirmed reports of 13 being weighed on Saturday, the largest 54 pounds. Cobia can be caught on a variety of baits, the most popular being live eels or de-finned catfish. Carrying squid and shad also are effective. Anglers in anchored boats increase their chances of attracting cobia by setting up a chum line, using frozen blocks of ground menhaden or menhaden oil. Our records indicate that the largest cobia seem to be taken early in the season, which peaks in mid-May and ends in early June. A few stragglers hang around until July.
Sharks also have shown up in the sounds and deep rivers. Spottail bass action remains good.
Offshore, medium sized dolphin are being caught at the south edge of The Deli about 65 miles east-southeast off Bay Point Island. Doormat-sized flounder are being caught at the Betsy Ross and Eagles Nest reefs on cigar or large mud minnows drifted along the bottom.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) - Last week's rains and persistent winds slowed the bite somewhat, but I've had reports of large bull redfish being caught off the beachfronts. All have been well above the maximum size limit of 23 inches, falling into the 40-pound class. Spotted sea trout are now staging in the creeks and your best way to locate schools is to slow-troll plastic grubs. Once you find them, anchor upstream and keep pitching the grubs or live shrimp beneath floats. These trout have soft mouths so it's not necessary to set the hook hard.
Black sea bass continue to be plentiful around offshore reefs, while chopper (or snapper) blues can be found around the L and J buoys in the Savannah Snapper Banks.