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Catch of the Week: Red snapper

Robert Miller and his big red snapper

That's a whole lot of red snapper caught by young Robert Miller. This pic snapped of the snagged snapper is our Catch of the Week.

If you have a photo or video of a great catch, you can share it with us too. CLICK HERE to submit.

Saltwater Fishing Trends (freshwater below) - Provided by SCDNR

Charleston (Updated July 1)

Inshore water temperatures in the Charleston area range from the lower to mid-80s.

The trout bite has been pretty good recently, and Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) reports that they are catching a lot of small fish to go with some heavier roe fish. However, he advises releasing these bigger fish – the meat is softer and killing them means killing literally thousands of future trout. Live shrimp under a popping cork are hard to beat.

While action for slot-sized redfish has been a little on the slow side, they are catching big bull reds at the jetties, around Dynamite Hole, and generally in deeper water.

However, by far the most exciting bite right now is for tarpon, and silver kings have showed up off the beaches, inlets and sandbars. This week Rob's boat caught a 110-pound tarpon after a half-hour fight!

The fish have followed the schools of menhaden here, but they will eat both live menhaden and live mullet. Rob advises fishing two baits on the bottom and two on the top, rigged on 8/0 to 10/0 circle hooks, just beyond the breakers.

A mile or two offshore Spanish mackerel fishing has been good, and just yesterday Rob's boat filled the box. Around the jetties, at Castle Pinckney, or just outside the Stono Inlet or North Edisto Inlet fish can be caught casting or trolling a 0 or 00 Clarks Spoon or Sidewinder.

Spadefish are very thick at the reefs where they will eat jelly balls.

Little River/North Myrtle Beach (Updated June 30)

Inshore water temperatures in the Little River have risen into the mid- to lower 80s, and clarity is good.

Inshore fishing on the upper Grand Strand continues to be very strong, and Captain Patrick "Smiley" Kelly (843-361-7445) reports that his boat is still catching a mix of species. The best bite has been for trout, and recently there has been an exciting topwater bite first thing in the morning (and late) when fish will eat Zara Spooks, Mirrolure Top Pups, and other topwater walking baits. You need to move the bait slowly and then pause it, and the fish will be in the shallows. Instead of looking for any particular type of cover or structure the key is to find areas where mullet are showering – indicating feeding fish. Trout can also be caught on popping corks with live shrimp. Tubbs Inlet, the Little River Inlet, and Dunn Sound have all been producing. Ladyfish, which often inhabit the same areas as trout, will also be caught on topwaters as well as popping corks.

It's also possible to pick up some redfish while fishing topwaters, and there also some nice 20-23 inch fish being caught along the grass on cut mullet when you catch the tide right. Bigger reds over the slot can be caught at the jetties.

Black drum have been feeding well, and this week Captain Smiley has been catching them mostly on the incoming tide. The best bait has been a live shrimp hooked through the legs up to the head on a 1/4 ounce jighead, and fish can be caught jigging along the bottom in deep holes.

There has also been a good flounder bite in holes as well as around sandy bottoms, and both Gulp baits as well as small finger mullet (prolific in the creeks) fished on a 1/4 ounce jighead are working. Fish have ranged from 12 inches up to some nice ones in the 20-inch range, and recently the incoming has been productive.

Beaufort (Updated June 22)

Inshore water temperatures in the Beaufort area are in the lower 80s, and while clarity has been mixed generally the water is pretty dirty.

Overall the redfish bite in the Beaufort area has been good, and Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that on high tide the tailing activity has been strong. Redfish are gorging on fiddler crabs, and so on the fly Puglisi crab patterns, Dupre spoon flies, or most any weedless fly pattern is working well. Presentation is more important than the perfect fly, and Gulp! baits are also working well for tailing fish.

There has also been a good redfish bite on moving tides and particularly dropping water, and around creek mouths and oyster bars fish are feeding well on live shrimp, finger mullet, or mud minnows fished below a popping cork.

Trout fishing has also been pretty good on both the incoming and outgoing tides, particularly over oyster shells that have some water rushing over them. Live shrimp under a popping cork are hard to beat, and Gulp! paddle tail grubs in new penny color fished on a 1/4 ounce jighead are also deadly. Because of the heat trout are likely to be in a little deeper water in the 3 foot plus range.

There have also been some tripletail spotted on the surface, and these fish are likely to be lying on the top along with floating debris. They will eat a range of small artificial lures, particularly crab imitations. On the fly black deceivers are a good bet. While tripletail could be along the edges or flats, generally you will see them out in the middle of the river and so when you are running is the most important time to keep your eyes peeled.

Tarpon have not showed up en masse yet.

Edisto Island (Updated June 21)

Captain Ron Davis Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that Edisto Island-area inshore water temperatures are around 84 degrees – it got hot fast early this summer! Because of rain the last two weeks the South Edisto (the actual river) is not as clear as the North Edisto. Fish are eating well when you can find them.

Ron rates the inshore redfish bite as "fair," basically a result of numbers being down. When you can find fish they are willing to bite baits and lures. On the flats fish will take fresh shrimp or mullet fished on a jighead or Carolina rig, and the first couple of hours of the day there is also a good topwater bite. In the creeks the bite is pretty good early with cut shrimp or cut menhaden fished around docks, rocks, and trees found around bends in the creek.

The trout fishing was excellent, but now rates a good as it has gotten hotter. Lots of small sub-keeper sized fish have been caught to go along with some better fish. The first two hours of the morning there has been a good topwater bite, and after that mud minnows/finger mullet, live shrimp and DOA shrimp fished under a rattling cork in 3-5 feet of water have been working well. Live shrimp are the best bait with finger mullet second but there aren't a ton of either around in the creeks. Main river shell points and creek mouths are holding almost all of the fish, and while the particular tide has not been that important finding clear water is key.

Flounder fishing is fair in the inlets, but the hurricane last year has added a wrinkle. You can only get in and out of inlets like Townsend and Frampton with 3/4 tide or better, and most of the better fishing is at the bottom of the tide cycle. You either have to fish the weaker high tide, or commit to staying for a while and fish through low tide back to high tide again. Mud minnows and finger mullet on the bottom are both working, and there are a lot of small flounder around. At the nearshore reefs there are also flounder to be caught.

Inshore sheepshead fishing is good, although the sizes are a bit hit-or-miss with lots of small fish around. Because there are so many croaker and pinfish present fiddler crabs are a must, and you want to target docks with 6-10 feet of water at low tide. The best period is three hours either side of low water.

In the surf whiting fishing is good around turbulent sand bars at the mouths of inlets – you won't find too much on the plain beach. Tarpon are just starting to show up and will be here through September.

Just offshore Spanish mackerel fishing has been good in 30-40 feet of water. Look for birds diving and then cast small spoons at the fish. On the nearshore reefs the spadefish bite has been outstanding – so good that Ron says it is probably the hottest thing going. Any reef in less than 60 feet of water are holding the fish, and he says it is probably the best bite he has ever seen. Usually the fish are very finicky, but perhaps due to the lack of jelly balls fish are hungry and so they are very willing to eat a 1/4 piece of shrimp on a 1/0 or 2/0 hook either free-lined or cast with a small piece of split shot.

The offshore bite for wahoo, tuna and dolphin has slowed a lot, but the best bet is start out very early and troll until about 9:00 a.m. between 120-160 feet of water out to the ledge, and then bottom fish after that for vermillion snapper, black sea bass, grouper, triggerfish, etc.

Greater Murrells Inlet (Updated June 21)

Water temperatures in the Murrells Inlet area are in the lower-80s. Inshore water has been kind of muddy lately, but there was some green (instead of brown) water yesterday before another round of rain came through.

Perry's Bait and Tackle in Murrells Inlet (843-651-2895) reports that they are still getting some good catches of flounder along the South Grand Strand, but they are receiving really strong reports on redfish and black drum. Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) says that he is catching both species on pieces of shrimp fished over shell bottoms where there is some current. The shells can be live or dead, but the key is just not having a mud or sand bottom. The tide hasn't mattered much, and it will take some patience to weed through the pinfish but after a few minutes the drum show up and seem to run off the bait stealers.

Trout fishing has also been pretty good inshore, with plenty of 15-16 inch fish being caught on live shrimp and smaller live finger mullet.

At the jetties sheepshead fishing has been strong, and off the beaches there have been a lot of sharks, bluefish, ribbonfish, ladyfish and croakers caught. Before the storms pompano were doing well, but they have slowed down since the rain started.

Nearshore Perry's reports weakfish, gulf flounder and spadefish at the 3-Mile and 10-Mile reefs, although Captain J. says that at times it's been a little tough to catch spadefish with so much of their natural bait (small jellyfish) around.

Captain J. is having a lot of success trolling 16-18 miles offshore in 30-60 feet of water for king mackerel. Pulling live menhaden and cigar minnows over live bottom areas has been producing a good number of smaller 10-12 pound fish, while the artificial reefs have barracuda which often don't mix well with kings. Perry's has gotten good king reports at Belkie Bear.

Georgetown Landing Marina (843-546-1776) reports that they have had some bottom fish hit the docks, and the trolling trips have produced some spotty dolphin fishing. Blackfin tuna are in their traditional areas – the trick is just getting them to bite!

Hilton Head (Updated June 21)

Hilton Head inshore water temperatures are in the mid-80s and water clarity is good right now – better than it was this spring.

Inshore fishing has been pretty good around Hilton Head, even though Captain Dan "Fishin' Coach" Utley (843-368-2126) reports that redfish are still not thick along the grass edges. Instead he is catching them on the dropping tide around large oyster shell rakes. It takes some searching but if you work along the edges you will eventually find areas where the fish are gathered up around the oyster beds, and then a mud minnow or cut mullet under a cork is hard to beat.

The trout fishing has been a little unpredictable, with some tougher days mixed in, but overall they have been catching a lot of fish including numbers of small male fish and some good ones in the 3-pound range. Fish have been in the faster water around creeks mouths and points where there are oysters, and finding glass minnows is a good sign. Trout will also inhabit the same areas as the ladyfish, which also like current. Live shrimp or mud minnows under a rattling cork, Mirrolure Mirrodines and Trout Tricks are all working well. The bigger fish seem to be holding around drop offs near points where there is still some good current.

To go with the usual inshore bites there has been a better-than-expected flounder bite, and around oyster shell rakes on the outgoing tide they are picking up a good number of flatfish. If you can find a spot where water is running out of a drain into the main river channel flounder should be around, and on higher stages of the incoming tide fish can be found around the edges of white shell rakes where the oysters have washed up. In addition to live bait Trout Tricks have been working very well for flounder, and while the fish haven't been huge some good ones in the 16-18 inch range have been caught.

Tarpon have been sighted but the numbers don't seem to be huge yet.

Freshwater Fishing Trends

Lake Russell (Updated July 1)

Lake Russell water levels are at 474.53 (full pool is 475.00) and water temperatures are in the low-80s.

So far this summer has been unseasonably good for crappie fishing on Lake Russell, and Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) reports that over brush piles in about 15 feet of water they are catching lots of good fish. The best brush has been in the backs of coves and creek, which is not typical for the summer. Perhaps it is the result of recent rains or relatively mild temperatures. The best action is coming casting curly tail jigs on a 1/16 ounce jighead and swimming them about 6-7 feet down, or fishing minnows on a drop shot rig/ float rig about 6-10 feet down.

On the bass front, Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that the fish are starting to get very deep in 15-25-35 feet of water. They are out on the main lake way off the ends of points, particularly where there is brush around. Fishing plastic worms or minnows on a drop shot rig is usually the best way to target them.

Wendell has also been catching bass in the same areas on a Spot Remover, and he has also been having success swimming a worm past bridge pilings. If you want to catch largemouth perhaps fishing the timber is the best option.

As is typical in the summer Wendell says that striped bass are on both ends of the lake. On the upper end below the Hartwell Dam you will be fishing fairly shallow water in 15-20 feet and so pulling trout or large herring on free-lines or planer boards is the best bet. On the lower end the water is deeper, and so far this summer fishing down-lines 20-30 feet down over 70-100 feet of water has been the best pattern.

There have also been some really big white perch caught on the bottom, with some 13-inch fish finding their way into coolers. They are basically in the same areas as the crappie, but a little deeper. Fishing minnows on the bottom in about 25 feet of water in the coves has been the best way to catch them.

While there are tons of little bream around the banks, the better ones can be caught in 10-12 feet with crickets fished near the bottom.

Finally, perhaps the hottest bite on Lake Russell is for channel catfish. Jerry is filling up coolers fishing off points and in the backs of pockets, with 15-25 feet the most productive depth range. He is mostly using cut herring.

Lake Thurmond (Updated July 2)

Lake Thurmond water levels are at 324.00 (full pool is 330.00), and surface temperatures are around 87 degrees. Clarity is very good.

It's a great time for striped bass fishing on Lake Thurmond, and Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that early morning before daylight they are catching lots of fish with down-lines in 50 feet of water. They are fishing right on the bottom on main lake points at the lower end of the lake. Mid-morning and mid-day the fish are suspending in 30-50 feet of water in 60-80+ feet, with the better fish deeper. In the 30 foot-range it's all 1-2 pounders with the better fish under them.

In the evening and at night anglers are catching fish near the dam tied up to the cable fishing 20-40 feet down. There is very little schooling activity right now on the lake.

On the crappie front, William's boat is catching fish along the edge of mid-lake creek channels like Shriver Creek and Dorn Creek where they intersect with main flow of the river. Fish are over brush about 20 feet down in 25-30 feet of water. Minnows have been working best.

Bass fishing on Clarks Hill continues to be tough, even though Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that 3-fish limit night tournaments are frequently being won with 14-15 pounds. It appears that the majority of the fish are being caught after dark.

Early and late some fish can be caught around bank grass, wood and even shallow docks with a buzzbait. This remains a good way to catch a big fish, but not numbers. Some fish have also been caught off of bream beds.

The better numbers of bass are out on the humps, and they can be caught on a 3/4 ounce Sled with a Zoom Speed Craw. Go with natural colored baits at this time of year since fish aren't feeding too heavily, like Green Pumpkin or Clarks Hill Craw (which has an orange tint). Fish can also be caught around deeper brush in 15-30 feet of water on deep diving crankbaits and jigs.

Lake Wylie (Updated May 17)

Lake Wylie is at 97.7 percent of full pool, with water temperatures in the low to mid-80s.

As is typical in the summer on Lake Wylie, what was a red-hot offshore bass bite a few weeks ago has cooled off a bit. Guide and FLW fisherman Bryan New (704-421-5868) says that the pattern is about the same but fish have been pounded on and pressured for so long that they are getting less aggressive. They are still on the same deep places such as long tapering points and any drop you can find, but they are busted up a bit more and not so stacked up. You also have to finesse them a bit more with a worm or football jig.

While there are always some fish shallow, you are certainly fishing for less bites right now. The shallow bite is probably a little below average for this time of year, perhaps owing to high water levels that may have the fish spread out.

Late in the evening right before dark there has been some schooling activity, usually in the same places where the fish are grouped up during the day offshore. They will eat a walking bait or a fluke.

Midlands Area

Lake Greenwood (Updated July 1)

Lake Greenwood water temperatures are in the mid-80s, and water levels are at 439.09 (full pool is 440.0).

A few weeks ago veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter reported that the offshore bass bite on Lake Greenwood had gotten good, and there were some nice sacks being caught even in abbreviated night tournaments. With the summer heat fishing has gotten tougher, however, and the big offshore limits have gotten smaller. On Wednesday it took less than 12 pounds to win a night tournament.

Overall the pattern is unchanged, and fishing deep brush with crankbaits and worms is still the best way to catch fish. Besides the fish getting smaller the only other significant change is that early and late in the evening some fish can be found schooling out over the brush, humps and points. These fish, too, are generally smaller.

Lake Monticello (Updated June 30)

Lake Monticello water temperatures are hot, ranging from the mid-80s to 90. Lake levels generally fluctuate daily.

The offshore bass bite is still pretty good on Lake Monticello, and the best pattern remains unchanged from recent reports. However, tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that it is starting to get tougher out there. You can still catch fish on the deeper places, but instead of catching a bunch you now get 1 or 2 off a spot. They seem to be getting better educated as the summer goes on, probably because of the fishing pressure and just seeing so many lures. Fish that are related to brush seem to be a little more willing to consistently eat than ones that are just related to humps and long points.

There is still a topwater pattern first thing.

On the catfish front, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the fishing has turned around – in addition to the mussel die-off being behind us the majority of the catfish spawn seems to be past. The best pattern is fishing around deep humps in the 45-65 foot range with fresh cut bait, be that perch, bream or gizzard shad.

The free-line drifting bite has also gotten good again, and should stay that way through August. Fish can be caught over 15-150 feet of water this way, and they could be over trees, humps, points – or just out in the middle. Anglers need to study their graph to decide where to fish.

Lake Murray (Updated June 30)

Lake Murray water levels are at 357.86 (full pool is 360.00), and temperatures are in the mid-80s. Clarity is good.

Lake Murray bass are firmly in summer mode, and veteran tournament angler Captain Doug Lown reports that there isn't a lot of change in the overall pattern since the beginning of the month. Early there is a shallow bite around the banks, and after that you need to look around deeper channel points. Doug notes that if we get some rain and cloudy weather it can be a good time to look around the bank later into the day, particularly since deeper fish don't bite as well when it is cloudy. When it is hot and sunny you pretty much need to concentrate offshore outside of a small window first thing.

Tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria has also spent time on Murray recently, and he notes that it's not taking a lot of weight to win tournaments. In addition to finding some fish shallow early (before 8:00) on topwaters like a buzzbait, frog or Pop-R he has also found some schooling fish out over deeper water. Most of these fish seem to be in the 2 to 2 1/2 pound range. They have also caught them in the same areas on the bottom around brush.

On the striped bass front, Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that the best action has been coming on down-lined herring fished in 40-60 feet of water. Pretty much all of the fish are out on the main lake moving towards the lower pool, and there have even been some reports of fish caught in 80 feet along the dam.

Crappie fishing has been really good recently, and Brad reports that he is catching fish around brush in 15-20 feet of water at the mouths of major creeks on the upper part of the lake. The fish have been 6-12 feet down, and they will pretty much only bite toughies that are small as you can get.

In catfish news, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the spawn is winding down as in most of the area lakes. That means that most of the fish are headed deeper, although they will come into shallower water to feed at night. 30 feet is a good depth range to target during the day, while at night 15-25 feet is a good range. Fish will be found off long points and humps, and fishing the deeper side of channel buoys on the lake is a good bet. For numbers of fish dip baits are hard to beat, while for a little better quality try cut bait.

At night you have a good shot at tangling with a good flathead on Murray right now if you fish live bait around brush.

Finally, if you just want to catch numbers of fish – as most of the year – it may be hard to beat the white perch fishery. The best bite is up the lake because of the threadfin population, and fishing long ledges that run out to the channel are good places to look. 20-25 feet is a good range to target, and they may come up to 15 feet. Minnows, jigging spoons and even strips of fish belly meat will catch perch, with the best bite early and late.

Lake Wateree (Updated July 1)

Lake Wateree is high at 97.5 percent of full pool; up the lake dirty water can be found, but overall clarity is pretty good for Wateree down around Clearwater Cove. Water temperatures range from the low to mid-80s.

The bass fishing on Lake Wateree has been decent recently, but it's only been taking about 16 pounds to win tournaments. Tournament angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that with water levels pretty high there is still a good shallow bite in the grass, and anglers can throw frogs, swim jigs, and Chatterbaits at the fish. On cloudy days the topwater bite can last longer, and you can always flip the grass. Perhaps because water temperatures haven't gotten super hot, or as result of good water levels, the offshore bite has not really materialized this summer.

CATT director Brett Collins concurs that the best bite has been shallow, and anglers just aren't catching them deep. A couple of weeks ago there was a good bite around docks, but right now grass is the best cover.

On the crappie front veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that fish remain in a pretty typical summer pattern – on brush. The fish are generally around brush in 12-20 feet of water, and for the first hour of the day they are suspended in the top. As the sun rises they get close to the bottom and hold very tight to the cover. Will has found the best bite on Fish Stalker jigs in ugly green, yellow with black flake, pearl white and black and chartreuse colors. Fish are pretty much on the main lake, from one dam to the other. It's just gotten too hot for there to be much action in the creeks.

Santee Cooper System (Updated July 2)

Santee Cooper water levels are at 75.47 in Lake Marion (full pool is 76.8) and 75.42 in Lake Moultrie (full pool is 75.5). Water temperatures are around 83 degrees.

Captain Steve English (843-729-4044) reports that the catfish bite continues to be strong in the Diversion Canal, and when they are pulling water through you can almost always catch fish. Some people are also anchoring at night in the canal, even when there is no current, and having success. This is also a typical summer pattern.

Out on the lakes, Captain Jim Glenn (843-825-4239) reports that fishing is still a little slow even though his boat has caught some big fish up to the 40s. The best depth range has been 10-25 feet, and there have been smaller fish mixed in with 10-pounders, “teenage”-sized fish and some bigger ones.

There are still a lot of small catfish being caught in the Rediversion in the Russellville area from the bank on cut baits and prepared dip baits.

While the crappie bite hasn't really turned on, even at the time of year when it's supposed to be slow it has actually improved a bit. In particularly they are catching better numbers of fish. Deep water has been wholly unproductive, and the best pattern right now has been fishing shallow to medium depth brush 8-14 feet down over 15-25 feet of water.

Bream fishing has also been a little off, and the shallow bite just doesn't seem to have been as strong as it usually is – even around full moon bedding periods. You can catch tons of fish off brush, with the occasional nice one mixed in, but most of the fish are small.

The summer doldrums have set in for bass fishing on Santee Cooper, and even though they are catching a few early and late on topwater baits like frogs it's overall slow.

Mountains Area

Lake Jocassee (Updated July 2)

Lake Jocassee is at 93.6 percent of full pool, and surface water temperatures range from about 75-78 degrees.

The trout continue to do what they are supposed to do in the summer on Lake Jocassee, and Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) reports that with surface temperatures heating up the majority of the fish are now in 60-80 feet of water. There are still some fish up the rivers, but there are more at the dam and he is fishing more there. They are still trolling the same Sutton and Apex spoons and not fishing live bait, and there have been some good trolling trips around the dam. Recently they landed a 6 pound, 23-inch fish.

There is a little bit of an intake bite first thing, particularly for rainbows. However, while some boats have been doing well there it hasn't yet turned on the way it sometimes does.

Lake Keowee (Updated June 30)

Lake Keowee is at 96.8 percent of full pool and fluctuating quite a bit. Water temperatures are in the mid-80s across most of the lake and clarity is normal.

By now Lake Keowee bass are in a pretty stable summertime pattern, and veteran Lake Keowee fisherman Charles Townson of the Keowee Anglers reports that the pattern is fairly consistent from last week. Early anglers should look off points and humps, then around deeper shorelines, and then later in the day they need to search deeper in 30-50 feet of water. In the morning and late evening topwater poppers are now working better than walking baits, and in the late afternoon there is some schooling in areas where bait is present.

Lake Hartwell (Updated June 30)

Lake Hartwell water levels are up to 653.47 (full pool is 660.00), and water temperatures are around 82 degrees. Clarity is good.

It would be hard not to give the striped and hybrid bass top billing on Lake Hartwell right now, and Captain Bill Plumley (864-287-2120) reports that on his worst trip this week they had 38 fish by 9:30! While there are still a few fish in the rivers Bill has found that most of them are moving down the lake, and he is catching them 30-45 feet down off long tapering points.

Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) is also finding excellent numbers of fish, and while he concurs that there are some fish up the rivers he is also finding more down near the dam. Additionally, up the rivers he notes that you have to deal with voracious, small channel catfish at every depth. He is fishing 40-45 feet down at the mouths of coves, and one day recently he found fish over timber and caught some nice ones and broke off some monsters in the trees. On other days they will be in clean spots. If you fish up the river you need to fish the sides of the river channel, from 32-45 feet deep, and with a thermocline developing up there you need to be aware of whether the bait is staying alive.

Chip reports sporadic schooling – three days ago it was awesome for an hour, the next day he found occasional schooling for about an hour, and yesterday he found none.

On the bass front, Guide Brad Fowler reports that fish are in a pretty typical summer pattern on Lake Hartwell. Out on the points you can find them in their normal range of about 15-25 feet of water, and you can call up some on topwaters like Spooks, Sammies, Sebilles and flukes. You can also catch fish on drop shots and shakey heads in the same areas. The bite is about average for this time of year.

There has also been a shallow bite for bass, and there have been some hungry wolf packs prowling the banks. These fish are not picky and they will eat a variety of baits including flukes, noisy but subtle topwaters like Pop-Rs, Spook Jrs., or smaller buzzbaits. If there is a lot of rain more fish should move into the old growth along the banks.

Captain Bill reports that catfish are pretty voracious right now, with channels eating just about anything in 5-40 feet. He is also catching them while pursuing striper. Blues are out in the deep timber but you have a shot of catching them in 25-30 feet of water at night. Flatheads can be caught at night on live perch or bream around brush.

Overall the crappie bite has been a little slow, but Captain Bill reports that a few have been caught at night over brush in 18-20 feet of water. Some fish are also being caught under bridges at night.

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