While Lake Murray may be better known for its striper fishing than its catfish fishery, Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that anglers on his boat have been filling up coolers with channel catfish this summer. The key has been anchoring on points and humps and fan-casting out dip (stink) baits, cut herring, and shrimp in 5-25 feet of water. Channels are voracious feeders in the warmer months and they can be found all over the lake, and solid numbers of 2-12 pound channel cats are being caught. A 12-pounder is a big channel catfish and you’ll know you’ve been in a fight if you hook into one!
Channel cats aren’t the only thing going right now on Murray, though. The lake is at 357.64 and surface water temperatures at the dam have dropped into the mid-80s after a high of about 90 degrees, and as would be expected the relative cooling spell has helped the overall bite in the last few days:
Striped bass: Good. Lake World (803-957-6548) reports that with a hot early summer striper have moved deep into the 35-70 foot range in the lower lake. Most of the fish will be found around humps on the channel, or bunching up on the edges of the channel. Some fish have been caught around the towers, but overall the action there is not fast and furious yet. Anglers are catching fish by down-lining live herring, and there is also a fair amount of activity trolling lead core lines and down riggers with big plugs like Stretch-25s and umbrella rigs. While surface activity has not been a significant pattern anglers should still keep their eyes open and have a topwater lure tied on; last week in 102 degree temperatures at 2:30 in the afternoon a guide saw schooling striper pop up on the surface over deep water.
Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that his boat has also been concentrating on the lower end of the lake recently, and he is also fishing the main lake humps pattern with down-lines. For him 50 feet has been the most productive depth and he has also seen some occasional schooling.
Shellcracker: Good. Lake World reports that shellcracker continue to bite pretty well, although they have pulled into slightly deeper water. Fish out front of docks and around brush piles in 12-15 feet of water with nightcrawlers. As always when shellcracker fishing, anglers should move on if they don’t have any bites after about 10 minutes.
Crappie: Fair to good. Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that as would be expected for the heat of summer crappie are in a brush pattern. While the depth seems to vary from day to day he has found the best fishing in 20-25 feet of water in the mid-lake area. While the better fish are being caught on jigs, for sheer numbers of fish minnows have been hard to beat.
Largemouth bass: Fair. Lake World reports that first thing in the morning anglers can fish a buzzbait around the banks or look for fish schooling off long points and feeding on baitfish that have moved up shallower overnight. Once the sun starts to get up, however, fishing has been a grind and the best pattern has been fishing soft plastics around brush in the 30-foot range.