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Catch of the Week: Big Summerville bass

Catch of the Week: Big Summerville bass

Karen Brown sent us these photos of a bass caught by her 12-year-old in Summerville. Congrats to this young man! He made our Catch of the Week!

We want to see your catch too! CLICK HERE to send us your catch.

Saltwater Fishing Trends (freshwater below) - Provided by SCDNR

Charleston (Updated August 2)

Inshore water temperatures in the Charleston area are around 84-85 degrees, but despite the heat the fishing has been really good. Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) reports that it is as if the fall bite is getting off to an early start this year! With the creeks full of 3-5 inch shrimp everything is feeding up, and you don't need to look much further than these crustaceans for bait.

Numbers of redfish have been nothing short of phenomenal some days, and recently Rob caught 60 in the morning. Most of them are small in the 10-14 inch size range, but bigger fish can certainly be found mixed in – or out at the jetties. And with the creeks full of shrimp the fish are going to grow very fast. Inshore fishing around oysters either on the bottom or under a popping cork will work, and the key is a couple of feet of heavy 40-pound fluorocarbon leader. Fish are also around docks.

The trout and flounder bite has also been pretty good, usually in the same areas as the redfish. Finger mullet are also a good bait for these species, particularly flatfish. Overall trout sizes are small, but they will get bigger as things cool off.

Tarpon are around in very good numbers inshore, and there are also some jack crevalle schooling in the Charleston Harbor around Castle Pinckney. These fish can be caught on topwater lures and even the fly – hold on because they run in the 20-30 pound range.

Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516) reports that plenty of whiting, black drum and sheepshead in the 2-3 pound range have been landed, as well as a few trout here and there.

At the nearshore reefs 3-5 miles offshore the Spanish mackerel bite has been really good, both casting and trolling with Clarks Spoons. Schools come up and go down, but when Rob is trolling he likes to use a number 1 planer to get down about 10 feet on 50-pound test line and “dig the fish up.”

Little River/North Myrtle Beach (Updated July 13)

Inshore water temperatures on the North End of the Grand Strand are around 80 degrees, and water clarity is pretty good for now.

The heat of summer has arrived in the Little River/North Myrtle Beach area, and Captain Patrick "Smiley" Kelly (843-361-7445) reports that as a result fishing is a little bit of a roller coaster right now. On days like today his boat had caught more than a dozen trout to go with redfish and bluefish by 9 a.m., but on other days the fishing is slower and they only catch a few fish.

Overall the trout bite continues to be about the best thing going, and early in the morning they are catching fish on topwater lures like Mirrolure Top Pups and Zara Spooks before switching over to live shrimp underneath a popping cork. Today they caught a 4-pounder on shrimp.

Redfish are eating Gulp! jerkshad and shrimp, and they are also picking up reds dead sticking baits around docks. In the Calabash River there are giant schools of pogies, and fishing these baits on the bottom around Tubbs Inlet, Tillman's Dock and Bonaparte Creek is letting anglers tangle with some big drum.

The black drum bite has slowed down in the summer heat, but they are still catching a decent number of short flounder as a by-catch. Overall it's been a down year for flounder, however.

Beaufort (Updated June 22)

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 August 2)

Captain Ron Davis Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that Edisto Island-area inshore water temperatures are around 84 degrees, and the creeks are full of shrimp making it easy for fishermen to get bait. Days are already about 30 minutes shorter than at their peak length, and when water temperatures drop to about 80 the fall bite should begin.

The redfish action has been strong, and on the oyster flats the fish are feeding well when you can find the schools. Live shrimp fished about 18 inches under a cork have been the ticket. The creek bite has been excellent with lots of undersized fish in the 10-14 inch range, and there have also been a good number of slot and over-slot sized fish. Creek reds are in their usual areas in the deep bends with structure. Shrimp will catch redfish but also get tons of bites from smaller fish, and so small 2 ½ to 3 inch finger mullet are probably the best bet.

Trout numbers have been excellent but sizes are a little down, with only one out of every six or seven trout keeper-sized for most fishermen during the day. At daylight there is a pretty good topwater bite with some keepers mixed in between 6 and 7 a.m., but as the day progresses the better fish become more and more scarce. They are just not comfortable in the shallows when the sun is up right now, and in the heat trout either go deep or into swift moving, heavily oxygenated water. They also feed at night.

Ron predicts that this will be the best fall for trout fishing in 10 years, and after a number of mild winters the numbers of fish are definitely around. Around the end of August or beginning of September when water temperatures dip into the 80s the fishing should really take off.

Fishing for sheepshead remains good around docks that have 6-10 feet of water at low tide. The best fishing is at the lower part of the tide cycle and with so many small bait stealers around using fiddler crabs is a must.

The size limit for flounder was recently changed to 15 inches, and even with this new limit on most trips Ron says they have been catching at least one good keeper as a by-catch. Small finger muller in the 2 ½ to 3 inch range fished around oysters flats and in the creeks are the best bet.

For some reason numbers of black drum are way down this year, and they are not catching nearly as many juvenile fish in the 14-25 inch range.

Tarpon have arrived around the Deveaux Banks, the South Edisto Bar, and the Bluefish Bar, and while you have to weed through sharks (with about five sharks caught for every one silver king) there are some big fish to be caught. The best bet is to put out three rods behind the boat with a crab on the bottom, live/cut mullet or menhaden on the bottom, and then one fish under a float rig (on big 8/0 circle hooks). It's not uncommon to see tarpon rolling in the morning but they can be hard to catch then.

Probably the best game in town is the Spanish mackerel, and on any day that is navigable in an 18-20 foot boat anglers can head out to about 30 feet of water off the beaches and find them schooling everywhere. Numbers and sizes are better than in previous years, and even though the later afternoon is choppiest that is when there is usually the best bite. Trolling Clarks spoons or casting Hopkins or Crippled Herring Spoons is a good bet; the ½ ounce size is best for casting.

Bluefish and ladyfish are mixed in with the Spanish mackerel, and there are also plenty of oversized red drum in the 30-40 inch range around on the nearshore reefs. 1-2 ounce bucktail jigs with white curly tail Gulp! trailers are hard to beat. Right now there are a lot of billfish and particularly sailfish offshore, but it's not a good time for meatfish. At the full moon in August there should be a good run of wahoo with 4-5 fish days average and 9-10 fish days not unheard of.

Greater Murrells Inlet (Updated June 21)

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 July 14)

Inshore water temperatures in the Hilton Head area are in the mid-80s and above, and clarity is good.

Considering the summer heat it's not surprising that one of the best inshore patterns going in the Hilton Head area is a deep bite. Captain Dan "Fishin' Coach" Utley (843-368-2126) reports that the creek shrimp have gotten big enough to use as bait and his boat has been using a slip cork rig to fish them in the deep bends of creeks, particularly those that have docks or trees. He is getting the bait down about 8-12 feet, and sometimes as deep as 15. This technique is picking up some big redfish, some legal black drum, and some trout. He has found some holes that are fishing best on the outgoing to low tide, and some that are most productive on the incoming.

Along the edges of the grass and oyster bars Coach has been catching a ton of juvenile redfish on the incoming tide. While this is obviously a good sign for the future, he is wary of handling too many of these fish that we want to grow up.

While there have been tons of big schools of mullet around, the tarpon sightings and catches have been sporadic. It's basically been a report of one here and one there, not huge numbers of them.

Southern Grand Strand (Updated August 2)

Water temperatures in the Murrells Inlet area are around 83 degrees, and clarity varies.

Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) reports that this week they have had northeastern winds that have made for muddy conditions, and as a result he has been fishing for black drum. Drum have super sensitive senses of smell, and so fishing for them is almost like targeting catfish. Captain J. puts out several rods with cut shrimp on the bottom, and then waits for the drum to arrive. You have to feed the pinfish at first, but once the drum move in they will run off the pinfish. If after 20 or 30 minutes you are still just catching pinfish then you need to move on to the next spot.

Some of the spots they fish are in 10-14 feet, and some are in only 5 feet or less. The incoming tide has been good recently, but the real key is the right kind of bottom.

Some old, laid down shell that has growth, crabs, and other critters feeding in it is ideal. Live oyster shells are not as good.

The redfish fishing has not been great, but there have definitely been some fish caught recently. They will eat live mullet, but probably the most common way Captain J. has been catching them recently is while he is black drum fishing. In Murrells Inlet there is a lot of boat traffic and so the reds don't get super shallow, and 5-6 feet around the same shells the drum are frequenting is a great place to look for them.

Trout fishing has been pretty good, and the key has been floating live shrimp around grass edges, little rips or off the ends of points. Suspended jerkbaits have also been working. Unlike drum trout are not as particular about the bottom structure – they just want a good ambush point that has some current flowing around it and where bait is disoriented.

A few flounder have been picked up but that bite is slowing down.

In the surf whiting, pompano and bluefish are around.

Just offshore there are a bunch of Spanish mackerel right now, and once you locate them you can troll or throw lures. King mackerel fishing has been very good, and while you have to weed through lots of small fish there are also some good ones around. Either trolling dead cigar minnows, or fishing spoons on planer boards, will catch fish, and fishing over live bottom areas (best) or near reefs can both work.

Freshwater fishing trends

Piedmont Area

Lake Russell (Updated July 14)

Lake Russell water levels are at 473.49 (full pool is 475.00) and water temperatures are in the mid to upper 80s.

With the summer heat the numbers of crappie being caught on Lake Russell have dropped slightly, but Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) reports that they continue to catch some really nice fish. The best pattern has been fishing around brush piles in the creeks or just off the main channel in smaller creeks, and fish have been from 10 feet down to the bottom in 15-20 feet of water. They are catching fish on minnows fished on a drop shot rig.

On the bass front, Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports there is not much change in the pattern. If he had to look for some big tournament fish right now he might start out throwing a buzzbait or topwater plug early in the backs of creeks, before getting on the deeper pattern.

Wendell reports that they have been catching a lot of bass even in the heat of the day by fishing around bridge pilings when some water is being pulled (most days). Fishing a Su-Spin blade with a fluke is a good way to catch them, and live bait will certainly also work. About 1 out of 20 fish is a largemouth with the rest spots.

In striped bass news Wendell reports that fish can still be found on both ends of the lake but that they are doing better fishing down-lines 25-40 feet down over 70-90 feet on the lower end.

The catfish pattern is unchanged and fish are still biting very well.

Finally, Jerry has found some very large white perch in the 1 1/2 pound range out deep on the edge of timber along the main river channel. They are catching them on big baits such as herring as well as spoons.

Lake Thurmond (Updated July 14)

Lake Thurmond water levels are at 324.49 (full pool is 330.00), and surface temperatures are in the mid to upper 80s. Clarity remains good.

Many people think of spring when they think of crappie, but Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that the bite has been exceptional in the heat of this summer on Lake Thurmond. On a trip last Friday his boat caught 83 good fish! They have been fishing over brush in the backs of coves in the mid-lake area including the Georgia Little River, and fishing about 20 feet down in 30 feet of water has been the best pattern. Fish can be caught on jigs but minnows have been working much better.

The hybrid bass fishing on Lake Thurmond has been very good this week, and they have been catching some very nice fish in the 5-8 pound range fishing before daylight on the bottom in 40 feet of water. Main lake points in the lower lake have been the key. Some nice striped bass have sometimes been mixed in with the hybrids, but the striper have overall been a little scarce.

Smaller hybrids can be caught in the back of coves in 30 feet on the lower lake, which is full of 2-3 pound fish. Hybrids can also be caught in front of the dam at night tied up to the cable in 25-40 feet of water. Schooling action has been very rare, but perhaps one out of seven days you will see fish on top.

On the bass front Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that weights are a little down from a couple of weeks ago, with about 12 pounds winning 3-fish night tournaments. The pattern however is unchanged except that there has been some schooling activity over deeper humps. At other times you need to slow way down to catch fish.

Lake Wylie (Updated July 14)

Lake Wylie is at 97.4 percent of full pool, and although clarity is basically good with some afternoon storms there are areas of the lake that are stained. Clarity will vary from day to day and is also very location dependent.

It's not the best time of the year to catch trophy catfish on Lake Wylie, but Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that there is no doubt that some good fish can still be caught in this post-spawn phase. His boat has recently caught a good number of blues up to the mid-teens, as well as flatheads up to about 20 pounds.

It's also not the most comfortable period of the year to fish if you don't pick your times, and so Rodger suggests targeting fish either early or late. One option is to fish from about daylight until 10:30 and then call it a day, and the other choice is to fish in the evening from about 7:30 p.m. until 12:30 or 1 a.m.

It's hard to pattern the fish right now until you are on the water, and so it's important to be flexible. On some trips Rodger has found a much better bite drifting, and at times he has had better results anchored. At night he has had the most success anchored around mid-lake humps where fish would be coming off of flats close to the channel. Most of the bites have come in 6-12 feet of water. In contrast, one morning he found a good bite drifting right up the middle of the river in deeper water. Conditions and preferences vary from day to day, and so flexibility is very important.

Gizzard shad from Wateree have been the best bait.

On the bass front, guide and FLW fisherman Bryan New (704-421-5868) reports that there is not a lot of change in the pattern – but the fishing has gotten tougher. Dragging a big worm or football jig through the offshore community holes is still the best thing going, although you can also fish shallow. However, if you fish shallower you are probably only going to see 6 or 7 bites all day and they are not necessarily any better quality than the deeper fish.

Midlands Area

Lake Greenwood (Updated July 14)

Lake Greenwood water temperatures are in the mid- to high-80s, and water levels are at 438.97 (full pool is 440.0).

Bass fishing on Lake Greenwood remains tough, and veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter reports that it's only been taking 12-14 pounds to win and 8 or so pounds to get a check in night tournaments. The pattern remains relatively unchanged, with the addition that decent numbers of fish have been caught with drop shot rigs fished around brush piles in 15-18 feet of water. However, most of these fish have been small to medium with a lot of introduced spotted bass in the mix. There have also been some fish caught shallow around bream beds.

On the catfish front, Captain Chris Simpson reports that anchoring on points and humps and fan-casting stinkbait is the best bet to get channel catfish of all sizes in the boat right now. 5-20 feet is typically the best depth at this time of year. If you want to target larger channel catfish or flatheads doing the same thing with live bream or perch is a good option, and cut herring and shad will also work well for bigger channels.

Lake Monticello (Updated July 14)

Lake Monticello water temperatures are hot, and by the evening they are in the lower 90s. Lake levels generally fluctuate daily.

The offshore bass bite continues to be pretty good on Lake Monticello, and tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria and his brother recently won a night tournament with 20.7 pounds. Last night weights were more modest again, but the fishing is still good.

Overall the deep pattern is holding pretty constant, but there are a couple of changes. First, as the summer has gotten hotter the fish have actually moved shallower, perhaps looking for better oxygen levels. There are still some fish out in the 35-foot range but the 20-22 foot zone has been better. Second, more fish have been around brush recently.

On the catfish front, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports no change.

Lake Murray (Updated July 14)

Lake Murray water levels are at 357.73 (full pool is 360.00), and temperatures are in the mid- to upper 80s. Clarity is good.

Even though the fish are deep it's a great time to be striped bass fishing on Lake Murray. Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that, as expected this time of year, most of the fish are grouped up in the lower pool 60-100 feet deep and they are coming on down-lined herring. Fish will be around humps, main lake points, and ridges, and you need to use your graph to locate them. It's always advisable this time of year to get on the water early, when the fishing is more enjoyable, and a lot of times the best bite is first thing. However, that varies day-to-day and some days the bite gets better later.

Tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that there is a surprisingly good bass bite for the first couple of hours of the day on topwater plugs and buzzbaits. However, by about 7:45 or 8:00 it's time to get out of the bass boat and into a pontoon boat!

Still, if you stay out on the water in the heat that's not to say you can't catch some fish out in deeper water. There has been some random schooling action right through the day over very deep water in the 50-60 foot range and deeper, including some really nice fish coming up and eating. You have to move fast when they surface.

Crappie fishing continues to be good, and Brad reports that they are catching some nice fish 10-12 feet deep over brush in 15-20 feet of water. They are fishing from Dreher Island up around the mouths of creeks and on the side of the river channel, and they can't get the fish to eat anything except very small minnows.

Lake Wateree (Updated July 14)

Lake Wateree is at 97.3 percent of full pool and by Wateree standards the lake is very clear. Water temperatures are in the upper 80s and even higher.

Even though it's gotten hotter, the crappie fishing has gotten better over the last couple of weeks according to veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt. He reports that the fish are now on brush in the 15-20 foot range, mostly on the main lake and scattered from one end of the lake to the other. They aren't on all the brush piles in that range, but by now they seem to be on about 85 percent of them as the heat has made them more structure-oriented. Early in the day they are suspended over the brush, and as the sun gets up they sink down towards the bottom. Fish Stalker jigs have still been the best bet.

It's definitely the dog days of summer for bass fishing on Lake Wateree, and on a recent trip FLW angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden read 91 degrees when he got out on the water in the afternoon! Accordingly he spent the afternoon and evening trying to find a deep bite, but as other anglers have found it still continues to be basically non-existent. The best bite remains shallow around the grass.

On the catfish front, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that right now with fish essentially in a post-spawn period the best bet is to get out early in the morning and fish out of June Creek or another landing in the mid-lake. He advises anchoring around mid-lake humps that might rise to within 7 or 8 feet of the surface on a flat of 12-15 feet of water. There are a lot of mussel beds in this area, and fan-casting a bunch of rods at various depths is the best way to pick up fish. If rods don't move anchored up after a few spots then you can turn to drifting to cover more water. At this time of year most of the fish won't be giant but you could catch a good one up to the mid-20s or bigger. Cut gizzard shad is the best bet.

Santee Cooper System (Updated July 14)

Santee Cooper water levels are at 75.38 in Lake Marion (full pool is 76.8) and 75.32 in Lake Moultrie (full pool is 75.5).

The catfish bite on the Santee Cooper lakes continues to be variable, with Captain Jim Glenn (843-825-4239) reporting some scattered bites in mid-depth water as well as positive reports in shallow water late in the day. Overall cut perch and shad have been the best baits.

Captain Steve English (843-729-4044) reports that his boat has found better action in the lower lake than the upper, and that fishing in the canal continues to be strong in the same pattern. He also reports that he has been catching fish shallow in 5-8 feet of water – both day and night! He has heard good reports in deep water at certain times and in certain locations, but not everywhere.

Crappie fishing is still tough, and catches have actually slowed down again.

The bigger bream are still a little scarce, but there were some good bluegills caught off the beds last week. Steve's boat even landed a big 1-pound 3-ounce fish. On the August full moon there should be another good wave of spawning activity, and there could even be a new moon phase in between.

Mountains Area

Lake Jocassee (Updated July 14)

Lake Jocassee is at 93.5 percent of full pool, and surface water temperatures are about 80 degrees on the main lake in the morning, rising to around 82 in the afternoon. The rivers are a couple of degrees warmer and clarity is normal.

The trout continue to follow the seasonal pattern on Lake Jocassee, and Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) reports that as water temperatures have gotten warmer trout have moved deeper. They haven't quite hit the 100-foot mark yet, but he is catching fish in 70-90 feet of water. His fishing is mainly concentrated on the big pool, although action at the dam has been a little hit-or-miss. He is also spending some time in the rivers, but only at the very edge of the big water. They are still sticking exclusively to hardware, with Apex and Sutton spoons accounting for almost all of the fish. Occasionally a Doctor spoon will get some use.

Lake Keowee (Updated July 12)

Lake Keowee is at 96.8 of full pool and surface water temperatures are in the low to mid-80s throughout the lake. Water clarity is very good all over Keowee.

Lake Keowee bass continue to feed this summer, and veteran Lake Keowee fisherman Charles Townson of the Keowee Anglers reports that night tournaments have been taking a healthy 12-15 pound sack to win. Still, a 10-pound bag is a good catch on the lake right now.

Early in the morning there continues to be a good bite on topwater baits, and some days a chugger is better while on other days a walk-the-dog bait is better. Crankbaits will also catch some fish early on points.

Some fish are cruising the shorelines and back in coves, and there is also some schooling activity at times where schools of shad are present. This trend should continue to improve as the summer goes on.

After the sun gets up, most anglers are fishing deeper in 30 to 50 feet with drop shots.

Lake Hartwell (Updated July 14)

Lake Hartwell water levels are up to 653.43 (full pool is 660.00), and water temperatures are around 85 degrees even first thing in the morning. Clarity is good.

The striped and hybrid bass bite has slowed down marginally on Lake Hartwell in the heat, but Captain Bill Plumley (864-287-2120) reports that they are still catching very good numbers of fish. The biggest change he has noticed is that striper have moved further down the lake, mostly out of the rivers, and started to suspend over the deep timber. In addition to down-lining live herring they are catching some nice fish dropping big spoons down into the fish and then ripping them up.

Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) has also noticed a slight summer slow-down in the heat, but more significantly he has seen the big fish going a bit deeper into 40-60 feet. More fish are starting to be on the deeper end of that range as the water warms up. He is finding fish at the mouths of some deep coves and occasionally a little way up the main rivers. Some days they are over clean bottoms, but the next day they could be over trees. There is occasional schooling very early in the morning but it does not last long.

On the bass front, Guide Brad Fowler reports that fish remain in a pretty typical summer pattern on Lake Hartwell. Recent tournaments have had some good sacks in the 17-18 pound range at the top, and maybe another good bag over 15 pounds, but there is usually a pretty steep drop-off after that.

The patterns and baits are still about the same, including an offshore topwater bite, an offshore deep bite, and a shallow topwater bite. Brad says that if you are looking to catch some good fish it's really a toss-up whether to fish shallow or deep, and you are just as likely to catch a good one either place. The shallow fish seem to be eating bream and you can throw topwater baits at them all day long.

Captain Bill reports that there is not much change on the catfish bite which remains good, with channels eating about anything in 5-40 feet. 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.

There is not much change with the crappie either, and overall the bite remains a little slow. Captain Bill reports that a few have still been caught at night over brush in 18-20 feet of water, and some fish are also still being caught under bridges at night.

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