On Lake Moultrie, the lower lake of the Santee Cooper system, the bream are starting to move into their fall patterns around brush piles, and they're fattening up for winter like a bear, according to Steve English of Fishing with Steve English Guide Service.
"The cooler it gets, the more they'll be out there," said English (843-729-4044). "By mid-October, we could probably catch 300 or 400 in a day. They get on a brush pile, and they stage before they move to deeper water where they don't really feed much. You'll catch a variety of sizes, small to large, but it does seem that the cooler the water gets, the better the fish are."
Bream staging on brush piles can wreak havoc on crappie fishermen, but that doesn't dissuade English from putting a handful in the boat each outing.
English said the best bait to use if you're targeting the bream is crickets. Worms will work, but English prefers crickets since they're easier to put on a hook and aren't quite as messy.
"There are times when we get so many bream on a brush pile, you can't catch a crappie," English said. "When they're there, if you don't get a strike within 10 seconds, you've lost your bait. It is absolutely a blast to take a kid out there when you catch them one after the other like that."
English prefers a long-shank No. 4 hook, and you always have to consider adding a split shot to the rig.
"Depending on depth and how rough it is, that'll determine how much split-shot you have to use to get the bait down," English said. "Most everything I've been fishing has been 8 to 14 feet (deep). The water depth is anywhere from 15 to 25 feet, but the fish are holding 8 to 14 feet right now."
English said his go-to rod for bream is a Shakespeare Agility, whether he's casting or fishing vertically."If I had to pick one rod to use exclusively, I'd use that one," he said. "The reels we use are Shakespeare President (spooled) with 6-pound test. We lose a few big catfish every once in a while, but a lot of people get hung up in the brush and braided is a pain to break off."