Striper, hybrid fishing heating up

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Baitfish, like threadfin shad and blueback herring, have been moving into Thurmond Lake's tributaries and they're being followed by stripers, hybrids and largemouths.

Big Branch (aka Pollard's Cove) runs past Wildwood Park off Keg Creek. This is the time of the year when it's red hot during late afternoon hours for schooling stripers and hybrids.

Several good-sized fish were observed schooling from 4 p.m. until dark Tuesday afternoon. They struck jigging spoons in 18 to 24 feet of water and also hit Zoom Super Flukes (white ice color) rigged on quarter-ounce Buckeye jig heads.

Few fish were seen schooling in there late Wednesday afternoon, but a pair of 2-pounders -- one a largemouth, the other a hybrid -- struck a trolled Gotcha Shad on a Buckeye jig head.

The cold front that moved into the area Thursday night ought to get more bait fish moving into the creeks.

THURMOND LAKE

Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington and Doug Pentecost), (706) 595-5582 -- Jason Lawson, of Thomson, caught 30 crappies on jigs in our fish house. Jerry Moore, of Thomson, caught a limit of crappies on jigs, fishing over shallow brush in the Raysville area.

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) -- Fishing continues to be great as the fish start grouping up for the fall run. Richard Miao and his wife, Sophia, entertained a group from Atlanta on the water. They had so much fun that I had to promise to take them out again before Christmas. Fish are hitting live herring on downlines 30 to 40 feet down.

Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide, (706) 860-7373 -- Bubba Paris, a defensive end with the San Francisco 49ers, fished with me. Paris, 6-foot-7 and 365 pounds, played in three Super Bowls. Last Sunday afternoon, he caught two bass on the Yellow Fellow and I caught four jacks. He's a good fisherman and can handle baitcasters very well.

My new show features Capt. Dan Utley, a former Augustan now residing in Bluffton, S.C., and guiding out of Hilton Head Island. With his expertise, I caught big redfish up to 46 pounds. Utley, a former Augustan, showed me how to use live and cut mullet for those bull reds. Fishing with Ralph Barbee airs Saturdays at 11 a.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Stations are Comcast Ch. 21, Knology Ch. 7, Atlantic Broadband, Ch. 7 (Aiken), Northland Ch. 9 (Statesboro-Swainsboro) and Fort Gordon Ch. 9. You must have a special box from Comcast to view my show. The box is free.

Dale Gibbs, professional guide specializing in largemouth bass (706) 288-7510 -- Last Saturday, I fished with my fishin' buddy, Thomas Thomas, and had a great time, catching a few fish in the process. We caught 10 largemouth bass with the heaviest five weighing nearly 9 pounds. A double-bladed, quarter-ounce Buckeye buzzbait grabbed the attention of a 21/2-pounder, while T.T. scored on one of about the same size on a No. 5 Rapala Shad Rap. That lure accounted for the rest of our catch. Friends of mine claimed they caught 30 or 40 bass on crank baits, but only half of them reached the legal 12 inches or more. Gene Williams and I fished Tuesday, but were able to catch only two keeper bass.

Capt. William Sasser, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in crappies, hybrids and striped bass. (706) 589-5468 -- This week has been great for striper fishing. We've seen a few fish schooling on top, but not in great numbers. Charlie Brinson, of Electrical Equipment Supply, treated Don Hadden, of Blythe, and Brian and Buddy Applewhite, of Evans, to an afternoon of fishing. The bite was consistent for them all day. Fred Rosenblum, of Augusta, fished with Donna and I and caught a limit on a beautiful fall day. Don Coty, of Brunswick, Ga., and Joey and Danny Coty, Cameron Owens, Robert Cable, Brian and Drew Stone and Brian Peeples, all of Statesboro, Ga., had a great day on the lake. I always enjoy fishing with a large group and we wound up with a nice catch of stripers and hybrids. All our fish this week have come on live blueback herring fished 30 to 40 feet on downlines from Lake Springs to Raysville. My VHF radio handle is Crappie Master and I can be reached on the lake on Channel 68. Check out my Web site at www.william sasserfishing.com.

Craig Johnson, professional guide specializing in largemouth, hybrids and striped bass. (706) 364-6437 -- Bass continue to move about a lot, so covering lots of water is the only way to keep up with them. My biggest producer is the quarter-ounce Buckeye Fire cracker spinnerbait as well as small crank baits fished around the hydrilla mats. Kip Ashmore and I used those baits to catch 18 bass during last Saturday's Southern Anglers Challenge tournament. Our biggest five weighed 131/2 pounds. Wind is the key to catching bigger fish. On windless days, we slow down and throw the Buckeye half-ounce Brown Mop Jig. The cold front moving into our area ought to make the bite even better.

Albert Moody, Clark Hill Herring Hut, Clarks Hill, S.C. (864) 333-2000 -- Tropical Bob Hockman and John and Ooollee Bricker fished with me on the river below Thurmond Dam. We couldn't buy a yellow perch or crappies, but we tore up the bream, redbreasts and shellcrackers. We're glad we brought worms. Pro guide Mark Crawford and Raymond Leclair went looking for big stripers. They caught a 17-pounder, a 12-pounder and some smaller fish.

SAVANNAH RIVER

New Savannah Bluff Lock & Dam

Lock and Dam Bait and Tackle (Bob Baurle), (706) 793-8053 -- Lots of crappies, big ones, hitting small and medium shiners and Popeye jigs down river. A good many bream have been caught off the dam on red worms and pinks. Catfish are striking worms and cut bait, using either tackle or tying on bush hooks. They're catching some jacks (chain pickerel) upstream on spinnerbaits and Smithwick Rogues, fishing around the Plant Uhrquart outflow. Yellow perch also are being caught around the railroad trestle below Sand Bar Ferry Bridge.

MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS

Harrison Sears (706) 722-8263 (www.brickyardponds.com) -- Paul Micek still leads the Big Fish of the Month contest with a 5.28 pounds. Catfish have been biting in the White Elephant and King ponds. A fishing license is not required to fish in our ponds.

ATLANTIC OCEAN

BEAUFORT, S.C. & VICINITY

Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 -- Goodison: Fishing in our coastal area has slowly been heating up, with good catches of trout, redfish, whiting and some flounder. Gray trout and snapper blues are hitting near the shore, while offshore bottom fishing is the best in years for red snapper and vermilion, while small grouper also are biting. Trollers are catching good king mackerel around the Betsy Ross wreck. The ninth annual Kids Fishing Tournament, which last year attracted 140 youngsters, will be held at Fripp Island Marina on Nov. 23. Call the marina at (843) 838-1517 for more information.

SAVANNAH

Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 -- Our inshore bite has been wide open for trout and redfish this week. The cold front that moved into the state Thursday night might have a short-term, adverse effect, but the weekend is looking good. Ever wonder why we use popping corks? When the cork is popped on the surface, it sounds like shrimp tails slapping the water. Fish liked spotted sea trout listen for such sounds which are like the ringing of the dinner bell. "Come and get it!" Charter Captain Matt Williams, of Miss Judy Charters, likes the commercial Bay Side cork, although those who use the Cajun Thunder corks do well, too. He also uses sinkers of the type I call a "Mickey Mouse" because they have "ears" at both ends. They are equipped with hard rubber inserts to keep them in place on the line.


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