There's a light at the end of the long, dark tunnel called winter, and it's coming this weekend, if you can believe the weather forecasters.
It's not the end of winter, but we all know it as heat. Temperatures in the 60s have been predicted for Saturday and Sunday and during the week beyond. If that comes to pass, Thurmond Lake's surface temperature ought to warm to the low- to mid-50s, and that means hybrids, stripers and other fish will start feeding again.
The lake's surface temperature has been in the 40s all this week, and the few souls who braved the elements had a tough time catching anything, except the common cold.
• The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers annual passes have been reconfigured to hang from a vehicle's rear-view mirror instead of being pasted on its back.
This means the pass can be transferred from vehicle to vehicle. However, the 2005 passes will not be available until March 15, according to a Corps spokesman, but they will be good for a year from the date of purchase instead of expiring at the end of December.
Meanwhile, 2004 annual passes remain valid.
Raysville Marina, near Thomson, Ga. (Doug Pentecost, Leon Buffington) (706) 595-5582 - No report.
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) - No report.
Ralph Barbee, professional guide, (706) 860-7373, 957 Windmill Lane, Evans, GA. 30809 - Bloopers and highlights are the subjects of my latest TV show on UPN Augusta, including Knology Ch. 7 and Ch. 66, Comcast Ch. 21, Charter Ch. 9 (Fort Gordon), G Force (Aiken) Ch. 7, Northland (Burke County, Statesboro, Swainsboro) Ch. 9 on Sundays from 2 to 2:30 p.m.
Billy Murphy, professional guide, (706) 733-0124 (doubletroublefishingguides.com) with twins Brad and Jim) - No report.
New Savannah Bluff Lock & Dam
Lock and Dam Bait and Tackle (Bob Baurle), (706) 793-8053 - No report.
MERRY BROS. BRICKYARD PONDS
Harrison Sears (706) 722-8263 (www.brickyardponds.com) - Lindsey Fielding wound up with January's big bass of 7.59 pounds, earning $50. Bill Gibson caught nine bass and a mudfish, all on shiners, in the Membership Pond. The bass were good-sized but no monsters.
Beaufort, S.C., & Vicinity
Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530, and Doug Gertis, professional guide, (843) 524-5250 - Rain is supposed to end here on Friday, but high winds are predicted. The best bet for anglers should be from Sunday on. The water temperature inshore is 48; offshore, it's 53. Redfish are active and ought to offer good targets for fly fishermen. Mud minnows are catching reds around Fripp Island. The water should begin to warm up over the next month. Sheepshead fishing has been good for the folks who have been able to get out.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudy charters.com) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 - With water temperatures dipping below 50 degrees, inshore fishing has been a bit tough. Not only are baits hard to find, but so are the fish.
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