Mist floated above the water as a long cast sent a big-bladed lure through the morning light. Landing with little subtlety, the lure woke up the morning as it churned and bubbled across the glassy surface of Lake Thurmond. An explosion sent it flying through the air with a strike from a largemouth bass. Two casts later, the bass exploded again, this time hooking itself on the 5/0 hook trailing the Black Angel buzzbait.
After a long winter, fishermen can find a strong fishery cranking into high gear as the spring thaw approaches. For light-tackle anglers familiar with the rock jetties that straddle the North Carolina-South Carolina state line can expect a fantastic redfish bite along the rocky fringes of Little River Inlet.
A guy whose nickname is “Stump Hunter” could only be destined for one thing: catching crappie. Stump’s alter ego is Ronnie McKee of Piedmont, a fisherman who loves all things crappie, runs a garage business making and tying crappie jigs and prefers nothing more than to spend a day on Lake Russell teaching his lures how to swim.
On the eve of spring, an awesome fishery erupts this month in the Cooper River tailrace downstream from 60,000-acre Lake Moultrie. By the thousands, American shad will move from the ocean through Charleston Harbor and into the river, then upstream 35 miles to spawn at the base of the coal-fired power station known as Santee Cooper’s Jefferies Generating Station.
March crappie fishing on Lake Murray can be likened to a piscatorial form of March Madness. Limits are typically caught, and it’s the time of year to catch more slabs consistently as the big females migrate up the creeks toward shallow water to spawn.
Traditionally, many have thought of aluminum boats as being somehow utilitarian and, well, basic. But that’s changed over that past decade or so, and now aluminum boats are built for every purpose imaginable — from carrying duck hunters into the swamp to screaming-fast bass boats to tricked out bay boats.
March is the peak for crappie fishing across South Carolina, especially for lure-maker Ronnie McKee, who does much of his damage to the slab populations at Lake Russell.