Schooling hybrids and striped bass have been no-shows for much of the past several weeks, but that Thurmond Lake scenario is due to change, perhaps as early as this weekend.
The problem has been with the weather, having July 1 temperatures on Nov. 1, keeping the lake surface temperature in the low 70s. Normally, it's in the low to mid-60s this time of the year. In other words, fall has not "fallen."
Thursday's cold rain plus falling temperatures tonight and over the weekend might be just what is needed to drop those temperatures below 70. When that happens, bait fish like threadfin shad move out of the deep water into the shallows. Game fish like hybrids, stripers, largemouth bass and crappies follow the bait.
Signs of the bait fish migration have already been noticed. The Pollard Cove, also known as Big Creek, is in the back end of the cut running past Wildwood Park. The cove, situated behind the Pollard's Corner store, is loaded with masses of hydrilla, an aquatic weed where bait fish love to hide.
A 4-pound hybrid bashed the writer's Sammy top-water lure on Wednesday afternoon.
The fish, or one like it, had been seen to crash the surface and the writer cast the lure into the vicinity several times. He had given up and was reeling in the lure full speed ahead when the fish hit.
The cold front might put the brakes on active fish for a day or so, but after they become acclimated, watch for top-water action to improve.
Some schooling has taken place off and on around Red Bank Island up Little River, Ga., from Raysville Marina. That will be one of the "go-to" places following the cold front.
STROM THURMOND LAKE
Raysville Marina, near Thomson, Ga. (Doug Pentecost, Leon Buffington) (706) 595-5582 - Jack Owens and Billy Inglett caught 35 crappies in this area on small minnows and jigs. Sonny Lee of Kite, Ga., caught a limit of crappies and had two 8-pound stripers, all coming on minnows fished over brush in 15 to 20 feet of water.
Capt. David Willard, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed full-time professional fishing guide specializing in hybrids and stripers and trophy largemouth bass. Box 131, Clarks Hill, SC 29821 (803) 637-6379 (crockettrocketstriperfishing.com) - Fishing is tough right now with unseasonably warm temperatures. Hopefully this weekend will bring on some cooler weather and get the fish more concentrated. Some decent days can still be had with a good crew that's willing to work. Carol and Gary Snyder entertained some friends from St. Louis - Rosie and Al Garcia and Sheila and Glenn Kertz. They enjoyed a beautiful day on the water with good food and companionship. They also caught 18 fish and had a fish fry the following day. Most of our fish were caught on live herring fished 40 feet down.
Ralph Barbee, professional guide, (706) 860-7373, 957 Windmill Lane, Evans, GA. 30809 - Pete Glabas and I fished Thursday about 7:15 a.m., and went straight to Lloyds Creek. He threw a methiolate Ralph's Trick Worm and I threw a Hub's Chub. Pete caught a 4-pounder and I caught a 51-pounder off a rocky point. We caught a couple of more, but when the wind picked up and it started raining, we never caught another fish. John Holden and his grandson, Steve, fished with me on Tuesday. His grandson caught a jack and we wound up with just one small bass. I had some huge fish slamming the Hub's Chub, but they wouldn't stay on the hook.
Mike Foxworth, Roy Altman, Jeremy Altman and I fished the Black Mingo Ranch pond near Andrews, S.C., for huge bass two years ago. It's my latest TV show on Knology Channel 6 and Comcast Channel 66. It's played every night at 10:30 p.m., before the news on Knology Channel 6. On Comcast, it's on at 9:30 p.m., Tuesdays and 7:30 p.m., on Thursdays on Channel 66.
Ron Figueroa, professional guide specializing in largemouth bass, hybrid bass, (706) 832-7230 (email@example.com or his web site at buckeyelures.com/figs) - Last Sunday, I fished with Mark Raeden of Macon, Ga., in the Fort Gordon Recreation Area (Mims Branch), Double Branches, Camp Creek and Shriver Creek. We cast the double-willow leaf Buckeye spinnerbait and the Spot Remover. We caught 17 bass and our best five may have weighed 9 pounds. I fished on Wednesday and went up to Russell Dam, fishing my way down to the Highway 378 bridge. I caught 12 bass, four on a quarter-ounce green pumpkin head Spot Remover with a zoom watermelon candy finesse worm. My best fish on Thursday came on humps, especially the Electrician's Hump in Little River, while two humps in the mouth of the Gracewood cove produced two bass on the Spot Remover and three on a jig and pig. All the fish were on the small side.
Billy Murphy, professional guide, (706-733-0124) (web site doubletroublefishingguides.com) with twins Brad and Jim) - Doug Holland and I have been catching crappies trolling Hal-Flies (solid yellow) eight feet down in 15 to 20 feet of water over trees. Biggest fish we caught was about a pound, but the rest were good eating size.
Lock and Dam Bait and Tackle (Bob Baurle), (706) 793-8053. - Richard and Mike Grubbs caught a limit of crappies on shiners. Greg Kist and Bob Baurle caught 59 redbellies down river. Mullet are still biting, too.
Harrison Sears (706) 722-8263 (www.brickyardponds.com) - Crappies are still biting. Johnny Lewis and David Karse slayed the crappies in the Ditch. Bill Gibson caught 40 crappies in the Ditch on Wednesday. Early mornings and late afternoons are best. At age 12, Lauren Moore is the youngest winner of our monthly big fish contest. Her 5.82-pound bass won the $50 award. Check out our site on the Internet at www.brickyardponds.com.
Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, 1 (843) 838-2530, and Doug Gertis, professional guide, 1 (843) 524-5250) - Summer weather and mild winds have made early November a great time to go fishing. Limits of redfish are being caught around the flats, while gray trout and whiting fishing are excellent. Flounder are still showing up. Black drum and black sea bass are being caught around the artificial reefs. Not many charter boats have been out, but fishermen aboard one out of Fripp Island landed one of the largest wahoo catches I've heard of. Seven of them weighing 40 to 79 pounds were brought in from the area known as The Deli. The Fripp Island Marina will sponsor a Kids' Fishing Tournament on the Friday following Thanksgiving. Kids can fish from marina docks, or go out in family boats. It's open to the public and last year drew 50 youngsters. More information from me or the marina (1 843-838-1517).
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 - The winter inshore bite has taken off, with great numbers of spotted sea trout over the legal minimum of 13 inches tail length being caught. The legal slot limit of channel bass is 14 to 23 inches total length and a creel limit of five per angler daily. Therefore, fish under 14 inches and over 23 inches must be released. If you like to fish plastic grubs in the grass, make the lures weedless by burying the hook point inside the grub's body. Then you can cast it far into the marsh grass with little chance of hang-ups.
It's been a couple of years since our area has had a good fall-winter run of king mackerel. Your best bet is to fish around the artificial reefs located in 50 to 60 feet of water. Trolling Drone spoons at 4 to 6 knots is the best way to catch the kings. If you get a hit from a big fish, be sure to loosen your reel's drag post haste or you'll lose the spoon.