Bass are doing really well on senkos around lily pads in the Blacks Camp area.
The Crappie and catfish are doing pretty good right now. both are in and out of shallow water, the catfish on open water humps and shallow depressions; the crappie in coves. Catfish can be caught on cutbait and the crappie are being taken on minnows and jigs. Try throwing curltail jigs on 1/16 oz. jigheads. for the crappie. Shallow running crankbaits for the bass.
Couple more pictures
Here are some fish caught by some great people fishing out of Blacks Camp. Every species of fish in Lake Moultrie is biting. Went out with Blacks Camp Guide Service today and caught some big slab crappie and got tired of catching big bream. They bit every time we dropped a cricket in the water on every brushpile we went to. The stripers are plentiful and going wild, but not alot of keepers being caught. (They have to be really big to keep now - 26') There are a lot of big blues coming in too - deep drops out in the middle of the lake are producing some real trophies. the shellcracker are biting in the canal. If you want to catch a big cracker, now's the time to do it. Santee Cooper is home to the biggest shellcracker anywhere and holds the world record at five pounds, seven and one half ounces. Matter of fact, you will find the biggest catfish, bream, shellcracker, crappie and largemouth in SC in the Santee Cooper Lakes! The lakes are full of grass and the fishing is phenominal! A friend of mine had a crappie the other day that weighed three and one half pounds and that was 22' long! Good fishing and God bless.
The cats are starting to get on their fall pattern - find the bait, find the fish! The Arrington family had a good day today drifting in 30 feet of water with herring. Don't forget - there will be a great catfish tournament out of Blacks Camp on Nov. 6.
There will be a charity catfish tournament out of Blacks Camp on November the 6th to benefit the food bank of Deliverance Tabernacle Ministries in Jedburg SC. (Wow, what a run on sentence.) Payback for first place will be $750.00 PLUS HALF OF THE ENTRY FEES. This should make for a pretty good payout at the end of the day! More info to follow.
Time to go crappie fishing! We'll catch fish in the lower lake (Moultrie) on brushpiles now right on to Christmas. If you have never sank any brushpiles, try it. They will really hold fish for you almost year around. Seems like wax myrtle bushes work real well, they last a long time underwater.
Mr. and Mrs. Christian will be featured on The Early Show tomorrow morning to talk about their incredible trophy! This story has been aired from Charleston to Los Angeles! It has even aired on CNN and rumor has it that the AP will now write a story! All of this fuss over an old lizard!
Mel and Mark Christian harvested this MASSIVE american alligator while guided by Blacks Camp Guide Service. The beast measured 13 feet and 4 1/2 inches and was officially weighed in at 1025 pounds by 301 Taxidermy in Florence, SC. Mel, Mark and Myself hooked into the leviathan just 10 minutes after departing from Blacks; right after going through the cut and entering the Diversion Canal. It took three snatch hooks on heavy rod and reels, two harpoons, a muzzle snare, eight pistol shots and a knife through the spine to dispatch the hefty behemoth.
Mark is a bear guide in Maine and a commercial fisherman for huge Bluefin Tuna and Stripers; he told me that this was one of the most awesome adventures he'd ever experienced. He and his wife have hunted and fished all over the country and promise to return to Santee Cooper Country. We had a blast! Congratulations Mel and Mark!
This buck I watched all year last hunting season and he is back again this year. I sure hope a client gets him this year, he is a giant, wouldn't you agree? His rack is so tall that this picture really doesn't do any justice as to how wide his rack is, also. Every now and then he comes out during daylight hours, I try to stay off this stand as I don't want to spook him or any of the other bucks hanging around this area. I'm getting tired of feeding him though, he eats too much! Ha Ha
You can catch a catfish right now in Santee Cooper - if you know where to look. What has happened this year is kind of unusual; but I have seen it happen in the hot summertime before. It has been so consistently hot this summer that the highest concentration of dissolved oxygen is in fairly shallow water. If you're fishing in deep water with no luck try drifting in 8 - 12 feet of water; you might just get your string streched.
Seeems like the old Santee Cooper is on the rebound again. I've been looking around in shallow water alot over the last few years, watching vegetation grow and flourish in places where for the longest time there was just water and dirt. Fish don't reproduce and grow very well where there is just water and dirt, it takes vegetation. The lakes (especially the lower lake, Lake Moultrie) are full of primrose, coontail, gator grass, lily pads, eel grass and many others that I can't identify. The coontail grass is even growing out in six to seven feet of water! That's good news for a fisherman! I've been seeing plenty of life in the same shallow water. Seems like the fish populations are growing as a result, too; there have been some really good spawns in the last few years also. All that vegetation gives the little fry and fingerlings places to hide and feed - a place to grow. I look for fishing to boom over the next several years in the Santee Cooper Lakes.
P. S. There will be four CATT bass tournaments out of Black's this year. the first one is tentatively set for Sept. the 11th.
SC Sportsman Field Reporter
Connor Higgins (age 7) with an 83 pound cat caught while fishing with guide Billy Salmon out of Blacks Camp. Also, the fish are doing pretty good in the Diversion Canal right now if you can take the heat. Fish the lower end of the canal and where it dumps into Lake Moultrie. Herring or White Perch. Crappie are still biting on brushpiles.
bass on cypress and stumps in 3 to 5 feet throw wacky and weedless
This time of the year, the big blue cats come to feed in shallow water which can make for some dynamic catfishing. When you hook a big one, he can't go down so what does he do? The big fish goes out and around. Fighting a forty pound fish in two feet of water is a thrill that should be experienced by every sportsman.
Linwood Thornhill is a forty year veteran guide out of Blacks Camp. During his career he has fished for every species of fish that roams the waters of Santee Cooper. Linwood fishes a lot of bass and catfish tournaments on Santee Cooper and other lakes as well. As a matter of fact, he won a big cat tournament out of Hills Landing just a couple of weeks ago. Mr. Thornhill has fished many of B.A.S.S. tournaments and even fished the Bassmaster Classic a couple of times. He is also a master of shallow water fishing for big cats.
I talked to LT this morning and he gave me some great tips for fishing the skinny, on the rope. (secret guide lingo- means anchoring in shallow water) The type anchor you use is very important and must be able to hold on hard clay points and underwater islands, as well as creeks and depressions full of silt and slime grass. The guides like to use a solid steel shaft with four long prongs, or tines. Santee Cooper is notorious for taking peoples anchors, so the anchor must be the break - away type or made with bendable tines. I prefer the latter. When my anchor gets hung really bad, I tie it to the front cleat of my boat and use the boat engine to pull with until the 3/8' tines bend. I have had my current set of anchors for a long time without losing them.
The way the boat is anchored and boat positioning is very important, too. When approaching the spot you want to fish, cut your motor off and drop the back anchor. While the boat is still moving forward let the rope feed out unhindered. (a whole lot of rope for a 30' tri-toon, by the way) Then drop the front anchor and physically pull the boat backwards with the back anchor rope while the front rope feeds out. Once you get an equal amount of rope (or scope of rode if you want to be nautically correct)out of the front and back of the boat, lock the boat in between the two anchors. This can be challenging when the wind is blowing, but when done right makes for a stable fishing platform, even in rough water. It is so important that the boat not be dragging anchors and crab walking around, which makes for a big mess. Once set up, ten to twelve rods baited with cut bait are casted in every direction around the boat. Mr. Thornhill prefers the big herring that come into the lakes this time of year from the ocean to spawn. He says the big cats get a taste for them and can't turn them down. The head is the best piece. Five or six baits may be cut from one herring, cutting them about an inch and a half thick. The bloodier the better. A big blue cat is like a white shark - they can smell blood from a long way, and when they do they will come a runnin'. The way the fish hit when fishing like this is so awesome - the rod will be so torqued down in the rod holder that the angler can't get the rod out some times without much effort. A big cat will literally crush it, burying the rod down in half a second.
If you've never fished like this, get out on the lakes and try it. If you sit in a spot for thirty minutes without a bite, pull up and move somewhere else, sometimes within a few hundred yards. When you hit the right honey hole you'll definitely know it, and you will come back for more.
The Santee Cooper Lakes are looking pretty good. The lower lake (Lake Moultrie) looks real healthy with all of the new vegetation that came about as a result of the drought. Crappie fishing is a little late due to the harsh winter we have had but they are finally starting to move shallow. The catfish are moving shallow to feed. I talked with Captain Clayton Crawford this morning and he said that you need to be on the lake early. He says that the daytime bite seems to be somewhat better than night. Capt. Crawford says that his parties have had some banner days so far this spring with fish in the 40 and 50 pound range, and many fish in the 30 pound range. Bass are also coming shallow, caught two off the bed yesterday. Look for vegetation in water warmer than 60 degrees and fish slow.
In the lower lake, the catfish are biting pretty consistently in 15 - 20 feet of water, drifting gizzard shad. Look for the big cats to move to deeper water after the first three or four successive cold days and nights. The fishermen who put brush in the lake are catching some big crappie and the bream bite is amazing. I have not seen so many blue bream in the Santee Cooper Lakes in a long time. Fishing over brush piles, you can literally catch a big bream every time you put a cricket in the water. Some keeper stripers are being caught and the lakes seem to be supporting a large number of short fish, which is a good sign that we haven't seen in a while. Remember to practice catch and release on the trophy fish; the fishing will just get better as a result.