What does a fly fishing guide and fly shop owner do on his day off? He picks up his heavy tackle, heads to an impoundment he only fishes once in a blue moon, and hones his other fishing skills.

On Monday, Brandon Barber, owner of RiverBlade Knife and Fly Shop in Spartanburg met another buddy near SC 11 and spent the day bass fishing on Lake Hartwell.

"I'm not being elusive," Barber said, "because I fish Hartwell so rarely I'd have to look at a map to tell you exactly where we were, but the bass fishing was on fire."

Barber said that after putting in near SC 11 and I-85, things were immediately apparent as far as a working pattern. As soon as he figured them out, he had his choice of which pattern, and which species, he wanted to catch.

"The lake was mega-low, I mean, all the boat docks were out of water because the water was down 10 to 12 feet," said Barber (864-699-9433). "That left a lot of exposed shoreline. Because the wind was blowing steady and had been for a few days, we started on the wind-blown banks first."

Spotted bass are well known for their aggressiveness, and Barber knows why. He found that slick banks, even those in the wind, held few spots, but the rocky banks that dropped off into deeper water held clumps of spotted bass. Though not overly large by Hartwell standards, he and his partner had their fill.

"We were catching 2-pound spots on nearly every cast just as soon as we'd pull up on a rocky bank," he said. "They weren't overly picky, either. My buddy was throwing a jig and I used a variety of soft plastics. So long as it was on or near the bottom, they'd nail it."

The second pattern Barber found working was fishing surprisingly shallow in the backs of creeks. He noticed that recent rains had seriously muddied up the back ends of creeks and pockets, while the main part of the lake was relatively clear.

"I guess with the sun out, the largemouth were trying to get warm," he said. "It was a classic pattern: muddy water, gold spinnerbait, throw it out there, slow-roll it back and hang on."