In his last Lake Monticello update tournament bass fisherman Andy Wicker reported that the jigging spoon bite was starting to come on. It has now arrived, and in Andy’s opinion the best jigging spoon fishing of the year will be found between now and December. While a lot of people will be fishing spoons in January and February, he finds that now is the absolute best time to spoon fish on Lake Monticello.
Fish will be in their typical “holes” in 30-40 feet of water – look off long tapering points and around humps. While Monticello doesn’t have any creeks to speak of some fish will also be found schooled up in channels and gullies. A lot of different spoons will catch fish, and Andy will fish Berry and War Eagle brands among others. The water is usually so clear that he shies away from bright colors and usually fishes silver, white, chrome and other “natural,” shad colored baits. Anglers will certainly encounter some white perch jigging spoons on Lake Monticello, and everyone knows the lake has monster catfish, too. Andy knows of a 55-pounder jigged up by a bass fisherman a few years ago!
Spoons are hard to beat this time of year on Monticello, but a secondary pattern is to fish crankbaits and topwater lures around riprap. This is primarily an early morning pattern, although all the recent cloud cover may allow it to last longer. Strike King and Norman Deep Little N crankbaits will both work. Andy advises sticking to shad-colored baits since the fish are gorging on small threadfin shad as well as white perch.
Water levels fluctuate on Lake Monticello but visibility is normal at about 4-6 feet and surface temperatures are about 66 degrees.
Catfish: Very good. Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that small fish can certainly still be caught in strong numbers but the bite for big fish has now also settled into a strong fall pattern. Anchoring on humps and points and fan-casting to depths of 20-65 feet has been the most consistent pattern, and Santee-style drifting on the bottom is also working well in the same areas. For numbers of fish free-line drifting is hard to beat. While gizzard shad were far out-performing other baits a few weeks ago, white perch are now working equally well.
As always, if you know of anyone who would be willing and able to provide a crappie report for Lake Monticello please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.