Augusta, GA -
Joseph Newman, co-owner of Joe's Fishing and Hunting says, “The Lock and Dam is one of my main objects. I’m out here for the Lock and Dam.”
Newman has been fishing in Augusta for more than 70 years, and when I told him that a portion of the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam will close next week, he was surprised.
“There’s a lot of elderly people go down there to do it that don’t have nothing else to do and they like to go down there and catch them. It would hurt their feelings and hurt my business some," said Newman.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says erosion under the riverside lock wall has exposed supporting timber pines, making it unsafe.
"I’ve known people that have been fishing that part for years and years, and I’ve never known for anybody to get hurt there," said Newman.
Boats will no longer be allowed to pass around the dam starting on Thursday, May 15th.
Newman says he would like to see that change. “Well, if they wanted to fix it up, it would be a good idea because it’s a good dam and a lot of people would like to have the recreation to go from Augusta to Savannah on boats," he said.
The part of the lock that will close is a prime shad fishing spot. Fishermen were reeling in shad every 5 to 10 minutes Wednesday.
“It’ll slow business down a good bit on some of the people around and it’ll hurt the fisherman. It’ll really hurt the fisherman a lot because a lot of them like to go down there and catch those shad," said Newman.
Newman says his business specializes in keeping bait on the hooks for the Lock and Dam. “I’ve got stuff out here that I bought for the people for the Lock and Dam fishing and it’s strictly for them people, and it help me out a lot, and they’re good to me and I’m good to them," he said.