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Rodgers and McLaughlin win Wateree CATT on surprising pattern

  • by Jay

Dearal Rodgers and Trent McLaughlin won Saturday's sixth CATT Lake Wateree Spring Qualifier with 18.79 pounds.  While they were pleased to catch a good bag, they were equally surprised by how they caught them. 

For over thirty years Dearal has been fishing for spring bass on Lake Wateree in March and April, and every year when it starts to get warmer they catch them on docks and points as the fish move shallow and further back into the creeks.  A month ago they were already catching them in three feet, and they seemed to have moved further back the week before the CBC just ahead of the lake going off-limits.  However, by tournament Saturday (March 23) the water had dropped and the fish they had found were gone.

This Saturday they started out fishing the shallow areas that fish should have been in, especially considering the muddy conditions, but they just weren't there.  Eventually they tried some deeper areas out from the points and docks they wanted to fish and began to catch them.  One of their best spots was a pinch point inside of a creek, and another was the deeper end of a point on the main lake.  Everything was in 10-15 feet and mostly main lake.    

Up-and-down water levels must be responsible, but it was still shocking to see pre-spawn fish moving deeper and deeper as the spawn approached.  One other interesting note was that everything came on a jig, but instead of bouncing it back to the boat they had to slowly crawl it back and the strike was almost imperceptible. 

From the Upstate to the Low Country, freshwater to saltwater, it continues to be a strange year of fishing in South Carolina... Thanks to Dearal and Trent for sharing, and congratulations on the win!  

(Please note that regular fishing reports will return next week after the Easter/ Spring Break holiday.) 

Dearal Rodger and Trent McLaughlin this Saturday