Lake Thurmond, aka Clarks Hill, has always been a place to catch big stripers, and guide William Sasser said it's been producing both good fish and good numbers in recent days.

"Since they put that pump system in the lake, it seems like you're either catching way too many fish, or none at all," Sasser said. "Right now, though, we're catching good numbers and good-size fish on every trip."

Sasser (706-589-5468), who has been fishing Thurmond for the better part of 50 years, said that fish are in their summer patterns, being consistently caught about 70 feet deep.

"The average-size stripers we're catching right now is between 8 and 14 pounds," Sasser said. "The hybrids will be in 30 to 40 feet of water right now, or on a shoal in the mornings. The hybrids seem to be between holding between 26 and 40, with some stripers mixed in, but those stripers will be in the 4- to 5-pound range."

Sasser has been using small, live gizzard shad or blueback herring on down rods. Trolling also seems to be working as well. Late July, August and even into the early parts of September, trolling can produce good numbers of fish.

"I prefer to use a downrigger rather than an umbrella rig," Sasser said. "You can troll at 35 feet and catch good fish. I do a 3-way swivel and a 6-foot line to one boat-tail and a 3-foot line to another boat-tail, so you're running two baits off one downrigger. I'll use a white boat-tail and yellow or green feather and average about 2 miles per hour on speed. You can actually catch some pretty good fish on boat-tails and downrigger." 


Sasser said it's worth paying attention to the weather. After a hard afternoon rain – typical in the summer – fish tend to move up in the water column. The best time to catch fish has been in the morning, but since they've gone to their summer pattern, Sasser said mid-afternoon to dark can also be a great time to fish.

Sasser uses a 7 ½-foot, medium-light rod with a 6500 C3 Abu Garcia reel spooled with 20-pound test and a 4-foot leader of 17-pound fluorocarbon. Terminal tackle is a 1/0 tail hook and a 1 ½-ounce egg sinker.