• Volume 8 Number 3 - March 2013

    Features

    Lake Hartwell isn’t known for crappie because it doesn’t look like a crappie lake, but those in the know simply move deeper and catch loads of the tasty fish.

    For years, Lake Hartwell has maintained a strong reputation as a largemouth bass and striper reservoir. Its 56,000 acres of deep, clear, open water and an abundant forage base of blueback herring and threadfin shad have made for great fishing for both species. Even the on-and-off drought that began a decade ago hasn’t done much to curtail those two fisheries.

    Through it all, Hartwell’s abundant crappie population has been swimming under the radar. They tend to be overlooked and underfished, and the reason is a matter of perception.

    March is prime time to slow-troll or drop minnows and jigs into Lake Wateree crappie hangouts for fish ready to move shallow to spawn. Here’s how to catch them.

    Take a random sample of anglers and ask what species of fish Lake Wateree is best known for, and you're likely to get three main responses: largemouth bass, catfish and crappie.

    The trio definitely dominates the mind-set of fishermen who visit Wateree, but in March, crappie is king. With water temperatures warming enough for crappie to move in from the deep to spawn, they are easy to find, and many anglers hit the water for the first time of the year to stock up on these tasty panfish.

    So it's a great time to catch crappie on Wateree, and to Capt. Buster Rush of Rush Guide Service that means back-trolling with jigs in the creeks.

    From Charleston to Georgetown, you can go for bull reds or numbers of smaller fish this month; it’s your choice, and there’s no bad option.

    Successful fishing is all about choices. Redfish angler have two choices this month, and both are winners.

    There’s the popular pattern for fishing for lots of redfish back in the flats, but the allure of hooking really big bull reds at the ocean’s edge is also strong. From Charleston to Georgetown, the opportunities abound for both big reds or bundles of them.

    Capt. Steve Roff of Barrier Island Guide Service said there’s no wrong choice, because great fishing exists for quality and quantity. In March, his clients make the decision to go for trophy fish 40 inches or larger, or to fish for numbers of good-sized redfish.

    Early season longbeards might have plenty of female companionship, but that doesn’t mean you can’t tie a tag around a gobbler’s leg this year.

    There’s one word that will make a turkey hunter discharge a mouth call with a dry-mouth gag, flip his friction call to the ground or toss his tube call in abject frustration.

    It is the dreaded “h” word — hens.

    For some, it may as well be the “H bomb,” because many feel the morning hunt is blown when they encounter a gobbler with hens.

    Bass fishermen won’t do much better than a trip to Lake Murray this month, as the spawn approaches.

    By Jason Snyder

    As far as Ben Lee of Columbia is concerned, there is no better month to fish on Lake Murray than March.

    “For a fisherman looking for … other fish, March may not be that great on Lake Murray,” said Lee, who has fished tournaments and guided on Murray for years. “But for the bass fisherman there is no better time.

    “The fish are just coming in leaps and bounds. Bass are on the beds. Bass are in the pockets. They are on the points and the secondary points. They are in the brush piles and in the rock piles. They are pretty much everywhere.”

    Surprisingly, live shrimp can be a staple redfish bait through the winter.

    The mist was thick as Trea Everett buzzed Simons Hane’s flats boat through the winding creek that separates Lady’s and Dataw islands, and gives quick and easy access to the creeks and marshes north and east of US 21 when the tide is high enough.

    Needless to say, it wasn’t your typical March day. A cool, low-pressure cell had worked its way up the coast, bringing grey clouds and lower-than-normal temperatures. Still, Everett and Brad White of Barrier Island Marine in Beaufort said they knew a couple of creeks in Dataw, Lady’s, Judge and Morgan’s islands where a few schools of resident redfish would be feeding.