Nearly 200 of the Augusta area’s best bass fishermen will launch their boats into Thurmond Lake next weekend (Oct. 2-3) to compete in the 48th annual Mr. Clark Hill Bass Fishing Championship.
Two-time winner (2016 and 2019) Bobby Stanfill of Greenwood, S.C., and a member of the Hawe Creek Bass Club is expected to defend his latest title. Winner earns a sizeable check and bragging rights.
The inaugural tournament was held in 1973 and was won by Sam Seal of the CSRA Bassmasters with a 10-fish limit of bass weighing 16 pounds, 10 ounces. In 1974, that same club’s Noel Brown won the first of a then unprecedented four titles. The daily club limit had been lowered to eight bass and his weighed 11 pounds, 4 ounces. In 2003, David Brown tied his brother’s record with his fourth victory.
The creel limit was lowered to seven bass in 1985 and to its present five fish in 1989. Anglers competed on a single day until 2006 when back-to-back days (Friday-Saturday) were introduced and the limit doubled to a total of 10 fish. Bart Blackburn of Columbia County River Rats Bass Club won the first double day event with 10 bass and 28.36 pounds.
There have been five two-tournament winners since each of the Brown brothers notched their four titles. No one has won three. The two-time winners are Thurston Hall (1976, 78), Marty Quesada Jr. (1993, 2004), Bob Becton (1997, 2000), Dale Gibbs (1998, 2001) and Stanfill.
William Sasser’s Guide Service (Capts. William and Bradd Sasser) full-time U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional fishing guides specializing in crappies, striped bass, hybrids. Capt. William, (706) 589-5468. Capt. Bradd: (706) 267-4313 – Water temperatures have cooled into the mid-70s and the lake is over full pool. The water is starting to clear. Hybrids and stripers have moved away from the lower end of the lake and as conditions improve, the fish continue to move up the lake. The bite is good and consistent throughout the morning and not so set at daybreak as it was during the summer. We are seeing a lot of schools off the main channel points in 32 to 35 feet of water. Dordon Creek, Shriver C reek and the Parksville, S.C. area have all been productive. The bait fish have moved up in the water column and we are beginning to see some schooling activity so keep a top-water lure such as a Sammy or weightless Super Fluke handy. Catfish remain in a feeding frenzy off points in 25 to 30 feet of water, Crappies are holding tight to structure 10 to 12 feet down in 20 to 30 feet of water.
Capt. Eddie Mason, full-time U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional fishing guide specializing in hybrids and striped bass. www.masonsguidesrvice.com. 1 (803) 637-5395 or (cell phone) (706) 829-0428. – Last week’s storms worried me a bit, but once the rain stopped, fishing was good. We had to stay out of the winds and luckily we did. I stayed on the lower end of the lake and was able to get out quite a bit. I am dropping my live herring to the bottom in 30 feet of water and then turning the reel handle a good three cranks. Cooler weather means our bait is living a lot longer and we’re staying put longer. Last Friday, Ronald and Elizabeth Thornton from Hilliard, Fla., and Greg and Shelley Hamilton from Blackshear, Ga., came to celebrate Elizabeth’s birthday. We didn’t quite catch a limit, but had a great time. Last Saturday, Shannon Godbee, Chris Godbee, Brian Frittes and Allison Frittes came up from Savannah and took home close to a limit of fish. Normally, I don’t like to fish on Sundays, but on the first day of this week I took out brothers Jeremy and Jason Oerman and Blake, Everett and Bill Boynton, all from Aiken. We spread out our catch onto a table and didn’t have room to place the catfish. Last Tuesday, I took out Tim Androi, Thomas Dwyer and little Scarlett Dwyer, all from Grovetown. Scarlett caught on quick and we had a great catch.
BEAUFORT, S.C. & VICINITY
Capt. Ralph Goodison Jr., Fripp Island, 1 (843) 986-4070 –Strong winds and rain have subsided, not many boats are out, but fish are hungry. Inshore, the bite has slowed for red fish, trout and flounder, but sharks and whiting are hungry. Near the shore, good catches of black sea bass, grunts, triggerfish, a few kingfish and Spanish mackerel are being caught offshore to the Gulf Stream. A big boat full of excited anglers went out to the Stream and enjoyed hooking up with two white marlin. Some good king mackerel, a few bull dolphin were taken, but lost was a huge wahoo. The crab baiting season is in full swing and I’ve heard of good catches.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, 1 (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com), 124 Palmetto Drive, Savannah, GA 31410. – Surface temperatures have dropped into the high 70s and low 80s. Some fishermen braved windy conditions in Wassaw Sound and almost every sound south of here plus off the beach fronts and discovered trophy red fish, some more than 40 pounds. Some spotted sea trout are being caught in deeper holes in the tidal creeks, but change is coming an d hey won’t be in there long. Best thing is to find a slough with water moving in and out on the tides and move up and down the bank until you find the fish. I haven’t been offshore in nearly two weeks so I don’t have a clue as to what’s out there and where. I’m heading out 15 miles to artificial reefs in 60 to 70 feet of water and I expect to catch king mackerel, barracuda and Spanish mackerel. The yellow butterflies are migrating and that means kings are moving into 70 feet. One man said I was crazy to think the butterflies had anything to do with the fish. He apologized later.