By the time March rolls around, crappie fishermen across the Carolinas are chomping at the bit for waves of slabs to invade the shallows. And even though tight-line and long-line trolling techniques are proven winners, guides like Brad Taylor of Batesburg, S.C., are adding another wrinkle, using planer boards to spread baits out even farther from the boat and access territory otherwise out of reach.
It may not match winter in northern climates, but South Carolina does have a season that’s colder than the rest, and when it arrives, redfish gaggle up by the hundreds into tight groups in headwater creeks in marshes, providing anglers with easy-to-find targets. But as soon as Mother Nature turns up the heat at the approach of spring, the fish appear to scatter and vanish into thin air. Fishermen who ply the waters at either end of the Grand Strand who know where to look and how to wiggle their worms can score big during the spring thaw.
Early spring and crappie fishing form a perfect combination of potential and realization on the Santee Cooper lakes. If you’re looking for a heavy stringer, they are legendary for producing huge crappie, and it helps that March is prime time for roe-laden slabs to be on a strong bite while shifting from prespawn to the spawning.
Walk into any tackle shop this time of year and you’ll likely be overwhelmed with choices of crappie jigs to use to tempt one of the country’s favorite gamefish. How do you decide which one(s) to buy and use?
Anyone travelling around the Wilmington, N.C., area has got to cross at least one of three rivers — the Cape Fear, Northeast Cape Fear and Brunswick — but because very few boats are visible from the bridges across those rivers, fishing is often under the radar for many, which is a terrible mistake.
Turkey season gets cranked up in mid-March in South Carolina. In North Carolina, crappie fishermen have plenty to be thankful for. Turkey photo by Brian Carroll. Crappie photo by Brian Cope.