Baab: South Carolina reduces red fish catch limits

A favorite among saltwater anglers is the redfish, a.k.a. red drum, channel bass and spottail, because of its strong fight and good taste. Perhaps it is too much of a favorite.

In recent years, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologists have documented a declining trend, no thanks to over-fishing.

So the S.C. General Assembly passed a new law recently signed by Gov. Henry McMaster and is effective July 1. It set a new catch limit allowing two fish per person per day and no more than six fish per boat per day.

Previous catch limit was three fish per person per day, with no boat limit. The slot limit of 15 to 23 inches remains unchanged.

• State Rep. Lonnie Hosey, a native of Barnwell, was on hand June 6 to dedicate a newly-constructed fishing pier on 100-acre Lake Edgar Brown on the outskirts of Barnwell.

The lake is one of 18 in the S.C. DNR’s State Lakes Fishing Program. DNR Director Alvin Taylor credited the legislator’s “vision that started the ball rolling on this project.” Hosey said it was Cecil Ayers, a longtime constituent, who first put forth the fishing pier idea.

Others present for the dedication included Mary Ann Keisler, director of Thoroughbred Country Regional Tourism Marketing. The region includes Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg and Barnwell counties.

The lake is stocked with bream, bass, shellcrackers and catfish.

• The Georgia BASS Nation High School State Classic Bass Tournament will be held at Thurmond Lake next year. Wildwood Park is the likely site.



Raysville Marina, (706) 595-5582 – William Hawkins has caught 41 white perch and a catfish over the last two days. He was fishing with red worms.

Capt. David Willard, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed, fulltime professional guide specializing in hybrids, striped bass and trophy largemouth bass. (Boat phone: (706) 214-0236. (803) 637-6379 (www.crockettrocketstriperfishingcom) – Water temperature is 83 and the lake is clear. The fish continue to jump into the boat. We’re having to hide the bait in order to put it on the hook. That is not much of an exaggeration. We had reeled up one line so that we could land other fish. We left the bait on the short line dangle on the surface and the fish came up and hit it. We landed that fish, too. Pat Calloway, from Macon, Ga., and his group of fish killers blistered the hybrids and stripers, catching limits within an hour after daylight. Gene Johnson, from Hilton Head, and his group also had a great morning as did Ritchie Sapp, from Savannah, and his group who had a cooler full of fish about 7:30 a.m., 2 1/2 hours after launching the boat. All our fish are coming on live herring fished 24 to 35 feet of water. As the lake stratifies, we look for even better fishing.

Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide specializing in largemouth bass. (706) 831-8756 – Kathy Wade and I caught four bass apiece on the Pop-R fished off points. It’s the bigger model in silver and black. We put in at Cherokee and fished the Grays Creek area. We cast it out, popped it once and let it sit. That’s when the fish struck. Our biggest fish weighed 5 pounds and was caught by Kathy. It was my first trip since having back surgery and my doctor doesn’t want me to pick up anything heavy, so I am glad she caught that one.

Billy Murphy, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed guide specializing in striped bass and hybrid bass. (706) 339-4784 – Surface temperatures are 86 degrees at 5 a.m., and the lake is clear. The fish are “on fire” all over the lake. We are having a hard time keeping our baits in the water and everybody in the boat is hooking fish at the same time. We are fishing live herring 30 feet down in 50 feet of water. Our fish are ranging in size from 1 1/2 pounds to 8 pounds. Most weigh 3 to 4 pounds. Ray Dowdy, of Harlem, Ga.; Ricky, Juanita and granddaughter Parker Cleghorn, from Sycamore, Ga.; Jake Cleghorn, Robert Jones and Chris Hopkins, all of Vidalia, Ga.; Wayne Bland, of Augusta; and Karen and Al Bland, of Metter, Ga., fished with me this week. All limited out during fast and furious fishing. Check our photos on Facebook and our web site at

William Sasser’s Guide Service, (Capt. William Sasser, Capt. Bradd Sasser, Capt. Andrew Tubbs, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed, full time professional guides specializing in crappies, hybrids and striped bass). (706) 589-5468 (William), (Bradd) (706) 267-4313, (Andrew) (803) 507-5083 – Bradd Sasser: The lake level is a shade under full pool and water temperatures are in the mid 80s and climbing. Downline fishing is in full swing, with the bite starting around daylight and lasting until midday. The fish are holding in 30 to 35 feet off channel points the first thing in the morning and moving into deeper water along the channel as the day moves on. The Parksville, S.C., area (Catfish Creek), the Georgia Flats across the way and Cherokee and Mosley Creek areas have been hot. The lake around the oxygenation lines near Modoc also has been productive. Check us out on Facebook for up-to-date pictures.

Eddie Mason’s Guide Service (U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in striped bass and hybrid bass). 1 (803) 637-5395. Cell: (706) 829-0428 – Fishing has been really good this past week. One oxygenation line is on and bubbling near Modoc. We are fishing between the line and the dam off points and humps. Our down-lined herring are being dropped to the bottom in 30 to 40 feet of water, then turning the reel handles two or three times which places the baits just off the bottom. Don Hamilton, son Greg and daughter-in-law Shelly and another son, Daniel, fished with me last Saturday. All are from Waycross, Ga. We were on the lake before sunrise and they limited out on hybrids and striped bass. Be sure to check our website and Facebook for fresh updates.



Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, (706 722-8263) – There are multiple ponds offering good fishing for largemouth bass, bream and shellcrackers, crappies and catfish. Our Friday evening bass tournaments continue. Entry fee is $22, with a five-bass limit (each fish must be over 12 inches in length). Dead fish weighed in draw penalties. Come by the tackle shop or call to learn more details. June 8 results: Cody Blackmon and Lane Phillips won with 9.12 pounds. Marty Pearson and Joey Bishop were second with 6.74 pounds and Calvin Davis and Austin Davis were third with 6.74 pounds, including Austin’s 5.34-pound big fish.



Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 ( P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – Jim Logan and family members, all of Augusta, fished with Savannah charter captain Garrett Ross a few weeks ago. Logan’s daughter, Katie, celebrated her earning of a doctorate in chemistry from Indiana University by catching a whopper red fish.

There was something about the fish’s tail that looked wrong and Judy Helmey, of Miss Judy Charters, later said the spot on the tail apparently had fooled a predator fish into striking the wrong end (thinking the spot was an eye) of the fish. The predator was probably a dolphin. Check out the photo above.





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