Good catches limited to water 20 to 35 feet deep

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Little has changed from last week's report to today's, except lots of fish are being caught in water much shallower than 90 feet.

The "bubble" of oxygen-rich water is still in existence in the 70-to-90-foot level where anglers hauled in fish weighing up to 22 pounds, fishing cut bait on the bottom from anchored boats. The only problem is the fish are dead on arrival to the surface and it's like pulling in a log. That doesn't appeal to me.

On the other hand, professional charter skippers Capt. William Sasser and Capt. Tommy Dudley are starting to find quality fish in water 20 to 35 feet deep.

Dudley landed a 15-pounder from 20 feet of water while on a Thursday morning scouting trip. Check out Capt. Sasser's report below.

High westerly winds and occasional thunderstorms might help with the negative dissolved oxygen situation, which will solve itself when the lake "turns over" during cooler fall temperatures.

The oxygenation system being installed in the Modoc, S.C., area will provide at least a mile of cool, oxygen-rich water in the lower part of the lake.

It would be nice if contractors could speed up installation of the system where it could be ready next summer instead of 2011.

- Tony Welch will demonstrate how to tie a "Bendback Redfish Minnow" when Rivers & Glen Outfitters conducts its free fly-tying instruction session geared to Augusta area anglers on 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. For more information, call (706) 738-4536.

THURMOND LAKE

Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington and Doug Pentecost), (706) 595-5582 -- Elaine and Annette Bradley caught bream and shellcrackers and a 14-pound catfish in our fish house. Paul Wolf and friend from Augusta caught 15 nice crappies and four largemouth bass in the fish house on minnows. Jerry Jenkins caught 10 crappies in the fish house.

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.crockettrocketstriperfishing.com) -- Water temperature is 82 degrees and the lake is very clear. My parties have been catching some nice hybrids and 10-to-12-pound stripers and some huge largemouths. I moved up Little River in an attempt to find water with better oxygen. The baits have been living a lot better up there. I've been trying to put an early box of fish together for my clients and then go sit on the deep stripers. Some days it's good, others slow. White perch are also beginning to gather and can be caught on Berry's Flex-It Spoons dropped into 24 feet of water. Cory Hinson brought in a group of Savannah, Ga., fishermen. They enjoyed the lake, catching mostly hybrids and a few stripers. Roy Howard, a firefighter from Charleston, S.C., also had a great morning, catching hybrids, stripers and nice largemouth in the 4- to 41/2-pound range. The largemouths are running bait fish in 20 feet of water. We're in the Dog Days, but still catching fish and looking forward to fall fishing. I did not see any breaking fish this week, but saw a couple of dead stripers in the mouths of Little River and Keg Creek.

Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide, (706) 860-7373 -- My show 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 Fort Gordon Ch. 9. You must have a special box from Comcast to view my show. The box is free.

Billy Murphy, professional guide, (706) 733-0124 (Web site www.doubletroublefishingguides.com) with twins Brad and Jim -- Last week, we marked lots of bait in 70 to 100 feet of water, but no game fish. We hope the rains forecast will help. I'm not planning to fish again until sometime next week. My VHF radio handle is doubletrouble on Ch. 68.

Capt. William Sasser, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in crappies, hybrids and striped bass. (706) 589-5468 -- Jim Jatho, Kranich Lljubo and Bernie Silverstein, all of Augusta, caught limits of 2- to 6-pound hybrids. Rick Winterboer, of Augusta, and his son, Lee, of Yuma, Ariz., and 9-year-old Tucker Meyer, of Augusta caught limits of hybrids and stripers. Tucker caught most of the fish. Tommy Tomlin and his wife, Anita, fished with Ed and Joan Allen, all of Martinez, wore out the fish on Thursday morning. The catch was composed of stripers and hybrids up to 6 pounds and all were caught in water 20 to 35 feet. We anchored Thursday morning because of strong winds.

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 -- I've been catching some better fish, but not in good numbers. It's still inconsistent. My plan is to try to catch some smaller fish to get some in the box (ice chest) and then try to find some bigger fish. Most of my fish have been coming 20 feet down in 30 feet of water. I caught a 15-pound striper in 20 feet of water on Thursday morning while on a scouting trip.

My VHF radio handle is Boat Racer and I can be reached on Channel 68. My Web site is www.fishlake thurmond.com.

Albert Moody, Clark Hill Herring Hut, Clarks Hill, S.C. (864) 333-2000 -- Weston Thomas, of Columbia, caught a 22-pound, 4-ounce striper on cut bait in 70 feet of water. Ted Boileau and Doug Thompson, both of Martinez, caught fish from seven to 22 pounds fishing cut bait deep in the lower end of the lake. Greg Struck caught a 32-pound flathead catfish on cut bait.

SAVANNAH RIVER

New Savannah Bluff Lock & Dam

Lock and Dam Bait and Tackle (Bob Baurle, Billy Hambrick and Russ Peyton), (706) 496-1173 -- William Ghant caught a 19-pound striper on a live herring fishing down the river. Some really nice mullet are being caught at the Baurle Boat Ramp and farther down river. Some huge carp are being caught in Butler Creek. The bream bite also is excellent down the river and at the dam, especially early and again near dark. Catfish bite is still going strong, with rooster livers, cut bait and Louisiana pink worms. Access to the fishing platform remains blocked despite a Corps of Engineers report to the contrary carried in Wednesday's editions of The Augusta Chronicle. The area was closed for minor repairs, the report said.

MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS

Harrison Sears (706) 722-8263 (www.brickyardponds.com) -- Gene Moyer and Mike Craig won last week's bass tournament with 6.13 pounds. Greg Leaptrotte and Mike Leaptrotte had big fish with a 3.44-pounder. Our bass tournaments run from 6 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.

SAVANNAH

Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 -- Large spotted sea trout and king mackerel are to be found along the beachfronts. Tarpon are jumping in the sounds and it's tripletail time. Near-shore artificial reefs are holding schools of Spanish mackerel and kings, with the Wassaw Sound rip alive with bait fish and game fish. Offshore, kings and bull dolphin are to be found 18 to 55 miles out, while red snapper, grouper and lots of other bottom fish are having a strong bite in Savannah Snapper Banks.

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