If you guessed that near-80 degree days in the latter part of December would have the Clarks Hill bass wondering which way is up, you would be right! Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that the fish don’t know what to make of this weather, and the bass are “so daggone confused” that they are hunkered down where it is comfortable – and bait is accessible. That means sitting off the ends of main lake points in 25-30 feet of water.
In a typical Clarks Hill winter significant numbers of bass move into the ditches, and to be sure there are some fish in the ditches now. These fish will eat a red crankbait, but generally these are smaller fish. The higher quality fish are off the main lake points at the depth range mentioned above and anglers are targeting them by sitting in 50-60 feet of water and casting up towards the points. A lot of fish are being caught on jigs, and Alabama rigs fished in the same areas are also producing.
Overall, Clarks Hill is very close to full pool at 326.03.
White perch: Excellent. Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that the white perch bite is on fire. Anglers are catching a ton of perch fishing on the bottom in 30 feet of water around shoals and other underwater structure that are holding threadfin shad and herring. Little jigs, small minnows, and cut herring are all catching perch.
Striped and hybrid bass: Good. Captain William Sasser reports that he is spending most of his time on the water fishing in the mid-lake area such as the South Carolina Little River, and in the backs of creeks fish are being caught pulling planer boards and free-lines. He is also catching fish on down-lines fished on the bottom in 30 feet of water around shoals; the best shoals are at the mouths of major creeks and larger tributaries. There used to be a major annual winter migration of striper up the river, but the construction of the Russell Dam and the pump-back system reduced the strength of the migration pattern. Still, some fish do make the move at this time of year, and in fact William says that tagging studies show that fish can be caught on both ends of the lake all year.
Crappie: Good. Captain William Sasser reports that in the South Carolina Little River he is having success tight-lining jigs about 15 feet deep in the main channel. Additionally, a good number of fish are being caught about 15 feet down over 25 feet of water in the backs of creeks. These fish are suspended in the tops of brush and tree tops and are eating minnows.
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