Anglers going the cut bait route

Live bait anglers on Thurmond Lake are in need of the assistance of someone with a scientific mind who can develop a blueback herring that can live in warm (84 degrees on the surface) water.

As the lake water heats up, the fragile bluebacks have a tendency to go belly up. Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is not a viable answer. Options may include going to a hardier bait fish like gizzard shad or golden shiners, but many fishermen have been opting to go the cut bait route. They slice the fresh herring into squares, impale same on circle hooks and lower them to the bottom.

Ted Boileau, of Evans, used that technique in 70 feet of water. Asked if I thought I could spoon-jig some at those depths, I recalled using a two-ounce Berry's Flex-It Spoon to catch fish 60 feet down, so I'll try that technique today. Unlike Ted, who has two anchors holding the boat at that depth (one fore, one aft), I won't have to wear myself out hauling them in.

- Check out the Wednesday Night Shootout in the tournament report. You'll see a bunch of fishermen who were fit to be tied. When a tie happens, the team with the bigger big fish prevails.

- The Rivers & Glen Outfitters will conduct free fly-tying instruction sessions geared to Augusta area anglers, starting Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. Materials will be provided, but participants must bring their own vises and tools. Coffee and doughnuts will be served. The shop is located at 387 Highland Avenue in the Surrey Center shopping center. More information: (706) 738-4536.

THURMOND LAKE

Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington and Doug Pentecost), (706) 595-5582 - Jimmy Posey, of Swainsboro, Ga., James Graham, of Wrens, Ga., and Mike Smith, of North Augusta, caught three nice catfish totaling 90 pounds. They used cut bait. Connell Reddick and Gary Jenkins, both of Hephzibah, caught bass, crappie and bream with a combined weight of 40 pounds, all on shiners.

Capt. David Willard, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed full-time professional fishing guide specializing in hybrids and stripers and trophy largemouth bass. (Boat phone: (706) 214-0236. (803) 637-6379 (www.crockett rocketstriperfishing.com) - We've had another great week of fishing. Early morning has seen nice chop from the southwest and the fish have been hitting good. Many parties have caught hybrids 2 to 6 pounds and stripers 3 to 20 on live herring. The "G-Man," Mike Graziano, and his sons, Ted and Tom, had a great morning catching a cooler full of stripers. Bill Crowe brought down fishing buddies from Monroe, Ga., and caught 20 nice fish. Ed and Andy Farr, from Columbia, caught 15 nice stripers and some schooling hybrids. The threadfin shad are starting to hatch out by the millions and we're starting to see the first signs of major surface feeding activity. We had an acre of hybrids come up in front of us on Tuesday, but we were anchored down and by the time we got through catching downline fish, they were nowhere to be found. The late summer season should be a good one.

Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide, (706) 860-7373 - My new show is all about family catching fish. It features my son, Ralph Barbee III, and my grandsons, Houston, 11, and Christopher, 23. Billy Murphy and his son, Jim, and grandson, Johnathan, took us out hybrid fishing. It 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 Ft. Gordon Ch. 9. You must have a special box from Comcast to view my show. The box is free.

Mark Crawford, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in hybrid and striped bass. www.teamsaveonemore.com (706) 373-8347 - I fished the lower end of the lake with herring on downlines in 20 to 30 feet. Woody Shuler and son, Jack, from Augusta, and managed to catch a limit of hybrids and stripers. The big fish was about 5 pounds, and Jack caught and released most of the fish.

Capt. William Sasser, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in crappies, hybrids and striped bass. (706) 589-5468 - As the full moon faded away, we experienced a tough bite, but it got better. Eric Clark, with buddies Sharif Chochol, Jason Wren and Greg Oldham, all of Evans, enjoyed a quick bite on cut bait and put 40 fish into the boat. Our monthly trip with Albert Moody, Karl Moore, "Tropical Bob" Hockman, Robert Bradburn and Richard Smith, all of Augusta, started with the boat's prop spinning out a bushing. The boat would go only 5 mph, but we continued on. The group caught 18 fish, most on the small side, but with the boat going that slowly, there was more time for jokes.

Check out my Web site at www. williamsasserfishing.com.

Capt. Tommy Dudley, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids. (706) 833-4807 - My bait is staying alive with no trouble. I can fish it 20 to 50 feet down, but the problem was there weren't any game fish to bite in water above Fishing Village. The better fish are hard to come by right now. I'll be glad when big fish bite returns to normal. Stewart Garrett, Bryan Newman and Bryan Jr., all from Augusta, fished for quality fish and didn't have much success. They caught 19 hybrids from the "hybrid hole." Dave Doss and Danny Newton fished with me Saturday. We went up the lake for the first two hours and then we went down to where they limited out on hybrids. My VHF radio handle is Boat Racer and I can be reached on Channel 68. My Web site is www.fishlakethurmond.com.

Albert Moody, Clark Hill Herring Hut, Clarks Hill, S.C. (864) 333-2000 - Ashley Goss, of North Augusta, caught a 24-pound striper on live herring. Ronnie Goss caught a 23-pound striper that same day. Ted Boileau and Paul Phillips caught 13 stripers up to 13 pounds, fishing cut bait down deep. Bryce Joyner, of Millen, Ga., while fishing with his grandfather, O.G. Penner, caught 14½-pound and 12½-pound striped bass on cut herring in 65 feet of water on the lower end of the lake.

SAVANNAH RIVER

New Savannah Bluff Lock & Dam

Lock and Dam Bait and Tackle (Bob Baurle, Billy Hambrick and Russ Peyton), (706) 496-1173 - The mullet are still just tearing it up. Lee LeGrande and Sammy Moore have been catching nice catfish in the river at night. The catfish are biting on everything from worms to big shiners and cut bait. The Baurle boat ramp area of the river is one of the hot spots, especially late in the afternoon. Charlie Dickerson and his granddaughter caught a bunch of rooster redbreasts down river.

MERRY LAND

BRICKYARD PONDS

Harrison Sears (706) 722-8263 (www.brickyardponds.com) - Mike Craig and Gene Moyer won last Friday's bass tournament with 4.73 pounds. They had the big fish with a 3.08-pounder. Jeffery Richards caught 16 bream in the Connell Pond on reds. Danny Sims and Tim Anderson caught 12 bream, catfish and two bass in the Pollard Pond on reds and crickets. Jack Felton caught eight catfish in the Pollard Pond on nightcrawlers.

Our bass tournaments run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., every Friday. Entry fee is $20 per fisherman in each event. A fishing license is not required to fish in our ponds.

ATLANTIC OCEAN

Beaufort, S.C. & vicinity

Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 - We had an invasion of millions of bait fish, most of them mullet, flood into our sounds and inlets and ruin our inshore bite. Pods of dolphin are chasing one of the biggest influxes of bait fish I've ever seen. Offshore, the cobia bite remains strong around the wreck of the Betsy Ross. One of our charter captains set a goal to catch 50 cobia and Capt. George, of the charter boat Full Tilt, has 86 so he's upped his goal to 100. Offshore, several sailfish have been caught, while wahoo and bull dolphin (mahi-mahi) also are strong. Spanish mackerel are schooling close to shore, and the spadefish bite is good.

SAVANNAH

Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www. missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 - Clients fishing from our inshore boats have fared quite well, catching spotted sea trout, flounder and black drum. Fishing around docks with live shrimp beneath corks also is red hot. Artificial reefs have been offering lots of top water action with Spanish and king mackerel. This time of the year, the blue water fish move closer to shore so small boat skippers have a chance to catch sailfish and dolphin. Just hook a plain ballyhoo on circle hooks of J-hook rigs and pull them on the surface.

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