The fishing is typical for this time of year, according to guide Chris Heinning (www.captchrisfishing.com), but the fish are definitely on the bite. And although it's time for bigger baits, that doesn't necessarily equate to bigger fish.
Like any body of water right now, early morning and right before dark seem to be the peak times, but you can still catch fish in the middle of the day if you know where to look, Heinning said.
"Early morning or right before dark, fish will be up shallower in the water column," Heinning said, "and they'll be deeper during the day, probably holding around 15 feet around structure on points and humps."
No matter the depth, it's all about presentation, and the fish seem to be hitting on topwater baits like buzzbaits, frogs and spinnerbaits around the bank grass in the mornings and evenings. Deeper water obviously calls for different lures, and Heinning recommends crankbaits and plastics in watermelons and browns.
"I traditionally go with a little bigger bait this time of year," Heinning said, "and I'm also looking with something with fair amount of appendages like a lizard. When it gets kind of colder, I downsize, but this time of year I use the bigger stuff."
Another thing to keep in mind, Heining said, is that there is typically a tournament just about every weekend on Wateree, and that can have an effect on the size of fish you're catching."The tournaments usually start around February, and what I've noticed is that as the year goes on is that the fish will get more pressure and get a little harder to catch," Heinning said. "When there isn't a tournament for a while, the fish weights are up. But after every tournament it seems the weight drop a little. The weather's obviously going to effect more than anything, but I think the tournaments can play a factor."