For most of the year, the Santee Cooper lakes’ fish camps and public boat ramps get plenty of visitors, all kinds of people, from alligator hunters in the fall to duck hunters in the winter, to the massive year-round catfish fleet. Yet April is dominated by crazed anglers with bigmouth on the brain. It’s right in the middle of the bass spawn and a perfect time to dial in on a true, trophy largemouth.
Few people need a calendar to know when spring arrives; the warm weather, new foliage and blooms erupt across the landscape. And for light-tackle saltwater anglers, the spring green is just the marker needed to slide back into the salty waters of Bulls Bay to latch into a snaggle-toothed yellowmouth.
While thousands of spectators will marvel at the professional bass fishermen on Lake Hartwell in next year’s Bassmasters Classic, most will be bass-fishing enthusiasts who’d love to catch more fish on the sprawling Savannah River reservoir.
In many places, spring means many things to many people, but for the diehard hunter who calls the Carolinas home, it’s full of sitting, listening and stalking a gobbling tom. It’s turkey season, and the millions of acres of public land across the two states are perfect places to bag a longbeard. Even though public lands receive a lot of hunting pressure, a hunter who knows the ins and outs of hunting them has a good chance to bring home a 20-pound bird.
Redfish are our No. 1 year-round saltwater target, really the only inshore fish we catch with any consistency during the coldest months. But now with the warming water, baitfish and other forms of forage return to shallow water, and so do the trout. Spotted seatrout, aka speckled trout, the favorite eating fish of many Lowcountry anglers, come out of hibernation and feed on finger mullet, crabs, tiny shrimp, mud minnows or anything else they can get their big mouths around.
April means great bass fishing across South Carolina, but especially at Lake Hartwell and the Santee Cooper lakes.