Augusta's Albert Moody and a fishing buddy celebrated the opening of the hybrid schooling season early Thursday on Strom Thurmond Lake.
Schooling fish, noticeably absent from the lake's fishing scene over the past two or three weeks, surfaced near the Georgia Flats on the Lincoln County side across from Parksville, S.C., about 8:30 a.m.
"They came up in pods of 30 or more fish and there were six or eight other boats chasing them, too," Moody said. He and his friend took home 19 keepers in the 3-to-7-pound class. He said the lake surface temperature was 79, thanks to Wednesday's showers.
Today's forecast is for sunny skies with northeast winds at 10-15-mph.
Moody said the fish stayed up until 11 a.m. "I was told they schooled Wednesday, but didn't come up until 9 a.m.," he said.
Another angler reported trolling deep-running Redfin lures about 100 feet behind his boat along the Savannah River channel opposite Modoc Shores and catching and releasing 20 hybrids in the 3-to-8-pound range. That was Tuesday morning.
- Congratulations to Norm Attaway, of North Augusta, for placing third in the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League's South Carolina Division tournament on Lake Wylie last weekend. He has had three top five finishes and one victory this year.
- The 32nd annual Mr. Clark Hill tournament field has reached 200 boats plus six non-boaters for Saturday's event, according to Larry Gilpin. It's one of the largest fields in years. Marty Quesada Jr., is expected to defend the title he won last year. The boats will blast off from Wildwood Park.
- Bob Baurle, at Lock and Dam Bait and Tackle, said anglers who try their luck Saturday for striped bass on the Savannah River ought to have a great time. He said the fish have been seen "wallowing" in the river just below the dam and many have been caught and released. The stripers are beginning to migrate out of the Augusta area to the ocean, fisheries biologists say, but will return en masse next spring on their annual spawning run.
Anglers who test the waters below Thurmond Dam to the old Augusta Lock and Dam might have good luck since stripers (and hybrids) in that section of the river can't leave. It's the first time since 1989 that anglers will be allowed to keep two striped bass 27 inches or more in length. Shorter fish must be released. Conservation rangers will be on hand to check catches and enforce the regulations.
- The Aiken County chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association will hold its second annual "Celebrating Conservation" banquet and auction at Misty Lakes (2246 Lake Ascauga Road) at 6 p.m. CCA South Carolina is dedicated to the conservation and protection of marine life and improving the current and future states of salt water fishing.
STROM THURMOND LAKE
Raysville Marina, near Thomson. (Doug Pentecost, Leon Buffington) (706) 595-5582 - Jerry Moye of Thomson caught his limit of crappies on silver jigs in the Raysville area.
Capt. David Willard, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed full-time professional fishing guide specializing in hybrids and stripers and trophy largemouth bass. 410 Sprouse Road, Clarks Hill, SC 29821 (803) 637-6379 (crockettrocketstriperfishing.com) - No report.
Ralph Barbee, professional guide, (706) 860-7373, 957 Windmill Lane, Evans, GA. 30809 - No report.
My fishing show, Take Me to the River, features Columbia County Sheriff Clay Whittle and Chief Magistrate Judge Wade Padgett on the Savannah River seeking striped bass. The show runs each Saturday at 11 a.m., on UPN Augusta and each Sunday at 2 p.m. on UPN Augusta, including Knology Ch. 7, Comcast Ch. 21, Charter Ch. 9 (Fort Gordon), G Force (Aiken) Ch. 7, Northland (Burke County, Statesboro, Ga., Swainsboro, Ga.) Ch. 9 on Sundays from 2 to 2:30 p.m.
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) - No report.
Billy Murphy, professional guide, (706-733-0124) (web site doubletroublefishingguides .com) with twins Brad and Jim - No report.
Craig Johnson, professional guide specializing in largemouth bass, hybrid bass, striped bass. (706) 364-6437 - My Outdoor Destinations show features Jeremy Altman and myself catching awesome sting rays and blacktip sharks off Hilton Head Island, S.C., will continue to be shown Sunday at 1:30 p.m., on UPN Augusta.
NEW SAVANNAH BLUFF LOCK & DAM
Lock and Dam Bait and Tackle (Bob Baurle), (706) 793-8053. - Lots of striped bass are being caught and released on Pencil Poppers and bucktails. They're wallowing just below the dam. Bream and redbellies continue to bite. Perry and Jenny Hutton caught 57 bream on crickets fishing from the Baurle Boat Ramp. Arthur Milligan and his son, Rusty, limited out on big reds on crickets down river earlier this week. Scott Eckstein caught some stripers on Wednesday and released them. Lots of mullet are being caught down river and at the boat ramp.
Harrison Sears (706) 722-8263 (www.brickyardponds.com) - David Scott caught 20 crappies in the Front Ditch using minnows. Johnny Lewis, the crappie king, and his fishing partner, Nelson Washington, caught 47 crappies in the Ditch. Wendell and Patty Smith caught 19 crappies and six nice catfish on minnows in the "mystery pond." Charlie Baggett had another good day, catching 13 bass totaling 25 pounds on buzz baits and a black plastic worm. Kenneth and Barbara Cantrell, along with Eric Burdette, Conway Rice and others, caught a bucket full of crappies and catfish on worms and minnows. Kenyatta Green, Rick Johnson and Nicholas Hewitt had a good time catching a few crappies and bream. Baggett struck again as he now has the big fish of the month with a 7.02-pound bass caught on a buzz bait in Hidden Pond. No fishing license is required, just our $7 daily fee. Our bass tournament was not held last week because of a lack of entries, and now will be held Saturdays, weather permitting, from 9:30 a.m., until 3 p.m., with a $20 entry fee.
Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530, and Doug Gertis, professional guide, (843) 524-5250) - Goodison: Inshore fishing has perked up as water temperatures have started dropping into the low 80s. The redfish and trout bite are good, while flounder fishing is just fair. We haven't gotten too many reports from offshore. Spadefish and Spanish mackerel fishing remains good, while king mackerel are being caught under the Spanish and are just fair. This weekend looks pretty good as tides are just right for inshore fishing.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 - Spotted trout are one of our most popular species because they're easy to catch. They come equipped with a mouthful of teeth that are positioned to hold, kill and then eat their prey. Trout hit targets hard because they must kill it before eating it, so you've got to keep a tight line on the fish or else it could swim right off the hook. You've got to put a solid set on the strike and keep reeling once the fish is on. While live shrimp remains the most popular bait, others such as small yellowtails, croakers, finger mullet, large mud minnows and peanut menhaden are just as effective. Stick the hook through the backside bottom of the lip and up through the head area. A rising tide is the most popular time to catch trout around exposed oyster "rakes," but there also are low tide "drops" that produce fish, too.
Our inshore and offshore fishing schools did well this year and bow we're planning the next sessions. The inshore session will be held Dec. 3 and 10 and again Jan. 21 and 28 from 8 a.m., until 2 p.m. at Tubby's Tank House, 2909 River Drive, Thunderbolt, Ga. The offshore school will be held Feb. 287 from 8 a.m., until 2 p.m. at the same site. Cost is $80 per session and includes breakfast and lunch. Call (912) 897-4921.