In mid-June tournament angler Dearal Rodgers (803-223-1117) reported that he and a junior angler had an excellent day bass fishing in the heat of the day – between Noon and 5:00 pm – on Lake Wateree. Dearal reported that they had caught more than a dozen bass over 3 pounds, and he estimated that their best five would have gone 24 pounds or more.
A couple of weeks later I asked Dearal if the deep bite that had been so productive was still on, and he said that he had recently gone back with another young angler and had a similar experience. The deeper bite continues to hold up for Dearal, and he has had his best success fishing ledges in 10-18 feet of water. Zoom Ole Monster worms fished on a Texas rig, deep diving crankbaits, and jigs have all been productive.
In the heat of the day it’s tough to beat deep ledges, but early in the morning anglers are still catching fish around the grass on frogs and soft plastics. Fishing topwater lures off points is also a good pattern, and working deeper docks with worms and lizards can generate bites.
Reflecting the quality of the fishing as well as the fishermen on Lake Wateree, in the most recent CATT Wateree Summer Qualifier on June 27 almost half the field had 15 pounds or better. Three teams weighed in more than 20 pounds. The Summer Final will be held on July 11, and it will be interesting to see if anglers can continue to top 20 pounds in the heat of the summer.
While bass fishing remains hot, bass aren’t the only species feeding on Lake Wateree, which is at 97.3% of full pool:
Crappie: Good. Veteran tournament angler Will Hinson reports that with water temperatures in the upper 80s and low 90s crappie have moved completely out of the creeks. They are bunched up around brush in the 18-22 foot range in the main lake, and early in the morning fish will be suspended just above the brush. Later in the day they will be heading to the bottom of the brush. While minnows will catch some fish, Will has had much better results using Fish Stalker Slab Tail Jigs in Ugly Green, pearl and yellow colors.
Catfish: Good. Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that catfishing remains strong when there is current flowing, although at other times the bite can be slower. In the backs of the creeks 2-8 pound fish can be caught, but bigger fish have been absent in the backs recently. Oddly, gizzard shad have been hard to find on Lake Wateree but cut herring will work as bait.
DHEC Fish Advisories: Due to PCB advisories visit http://www.scdhec.gov/environment/water/fish/Advisories/lakeWateree.htm before consuming any Lake Wateree fish.