Fishermen and others visiting Thurmond Lake this week weren't prepared for the "Invasion of the Love Bugs."
The winged nuisances are literally swarming the lake. Veteran anglers who have been fishing on the lake for many years can't recall ever seeing such an infestation.
At least one angler suffered an eye injury when struck by one of the bugs, but mostly they're just inconveniences. The insects cover boats, motors and fishermen, crawling into clothing crevices, lodging in hair and just buzzing around heads. Open mouths are an invitation for the bugs to fly in - a tough way to add protein to your diet.
One crawled inside a lens of the eyeglasses of this writer's wife, who in trying to get rid of the pest, knocked her glasses into 40 feet of water in the Georgia Flats area late Wednesday. Anyone catching a fish wearing eyeglasses is urged to contact the writer.
Meanwhile, the Bass Alley and other blow-throughs and main lake points have been producing great catches of largemouth, striped and hybrid bass - only when the wind hits those areas.
Best lures to use include the Super Spook and Zoom Super Flukes, the latter in a color called "white ice." Cast the weightless flukes onto the points and into the blow-throughs, while the top-water Spooks are most effective when retrieved in a walk-the-dog pattern.
- North Augusta's Norm Attaway, who was misidentified in last week's report, is on a roll. Not only did he win the Boater Division of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament on Thurmond Lake, he was third in the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Savannah River Division event on Lake Hartwell last Saturday. He caught five bass weighing 14 pounds, 15 ounces and won $884.
STROM THURMOND LAKE
Raysville Marina, near Thomson, Ga. (Doug Pentecost, Leon Buffington) (706) 595-5582 - Patsy Rainwater of the Raysville area caught seven catfish around the Raysville Bridge. Largest weighed 12 pounds. They're catching a bunch of shellcrackers and ought to tear 'em up this weekend.
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) - The water temperature has finally reached the 70s, and the fish have really turned on. Mike and Dee Stratton, a husband-wife team from St. Louis, enjoyed their 17th year fishing on the lake for stripers and hybrids. They boated more than 100 fish during their weeklong stay and most days limited out by 7 a.m. They were joined on occasion by Jimmy Lea and the CEO of Buckeye Lures, Jeremy Altman. The following day, Jeremy had a great day in the blow-throughs and on points with the Buckeye-improved Spook. John Isaac and Wanda Reed caught their limits of hybrids and stripers.
Ralph Barbee, professional guide, (706) 860-7373, 957 Windmill Lane, Evans, GA 30809 - Last Monday, John Holden fished with me. We caught eight hybrids and stripers, the biggest about 8 pounds. They all hit Super Spooks along points and flats. Carver and Sally Bailey, and son Daniel, fished with me on Tuesday. Carver tried out his fly rod, but couldn't get a strike. We caught seven hybrids and stripers, the biggest 8 pounds. Carver caught his fish on the Super Spook. He had a 40-pound-plus striper on for three or four minutes, but the fish pulled free. Windy points and flats are the key. Daniel Jackson fished with me on Wednesday morning. He made six casts and caught five fish - three hybrids and two black bass- on a Big O type of crank bait. I never caught a fish after 30 casts. The fish came off a flat. We went to another spot. Daniel made a cast and popped his line. His lure landed with a splash and a big bass socked it. The bass spit it out and I cast a Super Spook next to the lure. I caught a 7-pound bass and later added some 5-pounders. His crank bait, the XPS Extreme Nitro Series in green shad from the Bass Pro Shop catalogue, was not effective after the sun came up.
Ron Figueroa, professional guide specializing in largemouth bass, hybrid bass, (706) 832-7230 (firstname.lastname@example.org or buckeyelures.com/figs) - I fished last Sunday with Terence Anderson of North Carolina. We found some good schooling fish in Parksville cove and caught some good bass on Super Spooks. I caught 10 fish to his one on the Sammy. He caught a nice bass of about 7 pounds on a Super Fluke. We caught a bunch of hybrids and stripers across from Fishing Village. Tuesday, we did the same thing again, in the Fort Gordon Rec Area even before we got past the No Wake buoys in the marina area. Largemouths started schooling until they were replaced by hybrids and stripers.
Billy Murphy, professional guide, (706) 733-0124 (Web site double troublefishingguides.com) with twins Brad and Jim - I took out Bill Libby, of Arizona, and his nephew Jason, from Grovetown, for crappies last Friday. Jason, 12, caught most of the 15 slab crappies we wound up with. We trolled Hal-Flies over brush 15 to 20 feet of water. David Edgar of Warner Robins, Ga., fished with me last Saturday. We wound up with 25 crappies. Jerry Olson, Larry Freeman and I fished live herring Wednesday afternoon on the cable in front of the dam. We had 12 hybrids and stripers, most caught from 6:30-7 p.m., including an 8-pound striper.
Craig Johnson, professional guide specializing in largemouth bass, hybrid bass, striped bass. (706) 564-9564 - I caught 38 hybrids and stripers this week by fishing main lake points from 1 to 4 feet of water with Super Spooks and Super Flukes from daylight until 10 a.m. I took out a Greenwood, S.C., man who had never witnessed the blueback herring spawn. We caught hybrids up to 14 pounds and largemouth up to 5 pounds.
New Savannah Bluff Lock & Dam
Lock and Dam Bait and Tackle (Bob Baurle), (706) 793-8053. - Brad Harris caught 39 real nice shellcrackers and redbreasts down river on crickets, according to Russ Payton. Mike Johnson caught a limit of the same. Arthur Johnson and Mike Johnson also boated a nice load. Mark Eckerson caught three catfish, including a 32-pound channel catfish and two blues of 25 pounds. Mike Mooney caught some nice largemouth bass on buzzbaits fished behind the pilings. Arthur Milligan caught just six bream up and down the river. He needs more training. Red Owens and his boss limited out on some super-big shellcrackers. Charlie Dickens has been catching 18 to 20 redbreasts. Mullet are starting to be caught. Some nice shad are being caught.
MERRY BROS. BRICKYARD PONDS
Harrison Sears (706) 722-8263 (www.brickyardponds.com) - Ricky Cain caught three bass in the Ditch on plastic worms. Largest was 3.4 pounds. Burt Bagley, Doug Saxon, Gregg Childs and Adam Childs fished in the King Pond and caught some nice bass. Ricky Cain has the big fish of the month of 6.3 pounds, caught in the Front Ditch on a plastic worm. Keith and Peggy Major caught 20 bass weighing 46 pounds in the Garden Pond. Our bass tournament was won by Bubba Moyer and S. Griffin, who caught five bass totaling 9.48 pounds. Marty Pearson and Dean Maruca were second with 9.40 pounds. Bryan Smith and Mike Aiken had the big fish with a 4.64-pounder. Thirty-six anglers in the field caught 66.48 pounds of bass. Our bass tournament will be held today, weather permitting, starting at 6 p.m., with a $20 entry fee.
Beaufort, S.C. & Vicinity
Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530, and Doug Gertis, professional guide, (843) 524-5250 - Goodison: The fishing has been as hot as the weather. Large catches of whiting have been reported from Fripp Inlet, while Fripp and Trenchard's inlets are producing great catches of sheepshead, trout and flounder. Cobia are back and boats are limiting out with 40- to 45-pound fish in the Broad River. The future looks bright for cobia. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources released between 50,000 and 70,000 24 inches long in the Beaufort area. Bottom fishing is good for vermilion snapper, black sea bass, grouper and red snapper. Offshore, king mackerel have joined the catches of wahoo, bull dolphin and yellow fin tuna in the Gulf Stream area. The Fripp Island Memorial Day Fishing Tournament will be held May 28. More information: Fripp Island Marina, (843) 838-1517. Gertis: Beaufort guide Jack Brown has caught the year's biggest cobia, a 76-pounder that took three hours, 45 minutes to subdue. He caught it on light tackle (20-pound-test line) and the fish ate a live eel. Redfish have been striking live minnows fished under popping corks and flounder fishing has improved. Good Spanish mackerel and blues have been feeding on the offshore sand bars, particularly around Bay Point in Port Royal Sound.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 - Ray Golden, owner-operator of the Tybee Island Bait & Tackle Shop, reports lots of action at the Tybee pier. Whiting, summer trout and pompano were among fish caught. Flounder fishing is much improved, while the Savannah Snapper Banks are producing limit (10-fish) catches of vermilion snapper. Gag and scamp groupers also have been biting. Offshore at the Gulf Stream, wahoo and bull dolphin make up the bulk of the catches.