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Sunday, December 29, 2013 12:00 AM
Trout: Slow. Fish are in 50 to 70 feet of water, and the best catches are coming up the rivers trolling minnows and spoons. Black Bass: Slow. Few anglers are pursuing black bass right now, but the best action is coming fishing from the bank to 30 feet out using shaky-head rigs.
Largemouth and Spotted Bass: Good to very good. Bass fishing remains very strong on Lake Keowee, and that catching 20-plus fish on a trip is fairly common as late fall/winter-time schools get tighter. Anglers willing to use live bait can catch even more fish. Bass can still be found chasing bait and schooling on the surface, although schooling back in the creeks has slowed down. Schooling fish related to the main channel can be caught on small topwater plugs.
Black Bass: Fair. Bass are starting to move a little deeper but water temperatures still have not dropped significantly and it won’t be until there is a string of below-freezing nights that water temperatures will dive and the pattern will change substantially. Overall fish are still highly related to bait and most fish are holding offshore. Fishing in 20-40 feet of water with Scrounger heads, Blade Runners and drop shot rigs can catch fish. Catfish: Fair. A few channel catfish can still be caught on herring, worms and even stinkbait, but overall the channel bite has significantly slowed. Striped and Hybrid Bass: Slow. Striper fishing has improved, and fish are moving a lot. They can be found up any of the major creeks and out in the creek mouths. Free lining live herring or gizzard shad is the best way to locate them. Crappie: Slow to fair. Not a lot of people are targeting crappie right now, but they can be found around brush 14-15 feet down in 25 or so feet of water. Both minnows and jigs will catch fish.
Black Bass: Good. The best pattern for catching good numbers of spotted bass has been fishing drop shot rigs, spoons or minnows around schools of bait in 28-30 feet of water, particularly around brush. White perch: Good. Big schools of white perch can also be found around schools of baitfish, and whereas a few weeks ago the perch were significantly deeper than the largemouth they are now mixed together in the 28-30 foot range. Perch will eat spoons and minnows. Striped bass: Fair. Birds will provide indications of where the striper can be found, but the key to targeting striper is still to cover a lot of water with big free-lined baits. The best areas to target are the lower end from the mid-lake to the dam and up Beaverdam and the Rocky River.
Crappie: Good. Good-sized crappie are being caught on minnows fished about 15 feet down over 30 feet of water around standing trees. The mouths of creeks are productive areas, and Raysville has been a good place to fish. Striped and Hybrid Bass: Good. Striper can be caught on planer boards pulled down the middle of the channel in about 20 feet of water. Both herring and gizzard shad make good baits, and they can also be fished on free lines or with a 1/8 ounce sinker. Around Amity, up to the pumping station, and the South Carolina Little River have all produced fish.
Catfish: Fair to good. Try drifting cut white perch or cut shad on the bottom in or near the main channel. Largemouth Bass: Slow to fair. Up and down air temperatures have kept a strong winter bite from turning on, and for now the fishing is still pretty tough. Schools of bait are getting bigger and tighter, but fish are not yet ganged up with them. Fish can still be caught on Rattle Trap-type baits, square billed crankbaits, and even Alabama rigs. The grub bite should get good once water temperatures drop on, and as shad begin to die off when water temperatures hit about 50 degrees the jerkbait bite will get better and better.
Catfish: Good. Drifting cut herring, shad and shrimp in 15 to 25 feet of water near the Reedy and Saluda River channels is working well for channel cats. Crappie: Fair. Crappie are still feeding pretty well. The best fishing has come around bridge pilings in 12-15 feet of water using minnows. Largemouth Bass: Slow. Some fish are being caught on shakey head worms fished on the bottom in 8-15 feet of water, and there is still sporadic schooling activity with a mix of bass, small stripers and white perch feeding on top.
Catfish: Good. Anchoring on main lake humps and points with steep ledges is most effective for putting big blue catfish in the boat; being patient and staying in one spot for a while can really pay off. Cut gizzard shad, big threadfin shad, and white perch seem to be the best baits.
Crappie: Very good. A lot of crappie in the 1 – 1 1/2 pound range are being caught right now, and most fish are concentrated on the upper end of the lake from Wateree Creek on up. Fish are in the channel, and most are being found about a foot off the bottom in 18-24 feet of water. The best technique is tight-lining very slow with both jigs and minnows. A few fish are still in brush, and these fish are at the bottom of the brush. Largemouth Bass: Fair. The bass bite has slowed with winter setting in. Concentrate on rocky points and banks. Crankbaits, shakeyhead worms, and jig and trailers slowly worked are producing the best. Concentrate in 6-12 feet of water; however try shallower on warming trends and deeper during a cold trend.
Striped Bass: Fair to good. Most striper are in the upper end of the lake from the Gap up. Fish are generally grouped up in little pockets of fish, and most striper are being found from the bank out to 40 feet of water. Fish can be in the shallows or out in the middle of the channel, and so anglers are advised to look for birds in order to locate fish. Free lining with live herring or big minnows (both are equally effective right now) is the best technique, and some anglers are also having success pulling planer boards. Shellcracker: Fair to good. Fish worms on the bottom from the bank out to 10 feet of water. Finding shells is a good indicator that fish are in the area, but the real key is to keep moving every 5-10 minutes until fish are located. Catfish: Fair to good. Bait and catfish are scattered across a wide depth range from about 20-50 feet. Some fish are traveling in and out of big feeder creeks, some are moving up and down the main river channel, and others are scattered across flats holding schools of baitfish. Cut herring is currently the best bait choice.
Santee Cooper System
Striped Bass: Fair. Although still not frequent, reports of striper being caught are picking up. Catfish: Good. Catfish are deep but feeding extremely well in the lower lake; gizzard shad drifted or anchored are very effective.
Cherry Grove Pier reports that a few whiting, croaker, and small flounder have been caught off the pier.
Spottail bass: Good. There are some good red drum catches way back in the far north and south stretches of the Inlet on the low tide turn. Mud minnows and cut mullet are working well. Sheepshead and black drum: Good. Fishing fiddler crabs or shrimp at the jetties is yielding some nice sheepshead and black drum.
Charleston Angler reports redfish are producing in the morning with 5.5 Gold Rush and Avocado/Red Glitter Jerk Shads.
Beaufort - Hilton Head
Trout: Very good. The trout bite continues to be very strong. Fish around oyster beds on the incoming tide and around sharp drops. Live mud minnows and shrimp, Gulp! baits and, Zman soft plastics are all working. Spottail Bass: Good. Redfish are schooling up in tighter and tighter schools, especially on lower stages of the tide. Gulp! baits are working well. On higher tides fish remaining in relatively tight schools and blind casting with mud minnows under a popping cork is a good way to locate them.
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