Guide Kevin Davies at Blacks Camp said the bite turned on about a week ago, and some hawg bass are being taken from skinny water.
"It's unusual for early February, but some monster largemouth are being taken in water only a foot deep," Davis said. "Last week, one fishermen had several big bass topped by three weighing 7, 8 and 9 pounds-plus in one day. All three of the biggest fish were taken in a foot or less of water, and it's not an isolated incident. The fish have moved into the shallows, and the big bass bite is on."
Davis said a combination of things fell in place for this to occur.
"First, we've gotten ample rain, not just here, but also upstream of Santee Cooper," said Davis (843-753-2231). "That's pumping fresh water into the lakes, and a lot of it is warmer water. Plus, the water is rising and pushing back into the very shallow areas that warm quickly. The rising water in the vegetation is attracting forage, and thus the largemouths, into the shallows.
"The fishing is consistently good, but the best times are when we get a sunny morning that warms the water even a little, and then the afternoon bass fishing in the shallows is sensational," Davis said. "The best places are around the matted gator grass, which will tend to hold the heat from the sun. Also, the blackwater ponds in isolated areas, as well as most any shallow vegetative cover, are producing. Fishermen need to push back into the shallows and fish water that would normally be too shallow for February, but that's exactly where the big bass are right now."
Davis said additional good news is that from this point of time on the fishing normally improves steadily anyway.
"I expect consistent improvement from now through March," Davis said. "The water will continue to warm, and the shallow water fishing will get even better in the next couple of weeks.
"Not a lot of fishermen have found out about this fishing yet, and there's some huge bass ready for the taking. The best lures have been soft plastics, with lizards, craws and regular plastic worms all producing. Use a light weight because of the shallow water.
"Overall, the fish are quite aggressive, and hooking these huge bass in shallow water is a real bonus for us at this time of the year. Usually it's close to March when this type fishing cranks up, but the bass fishing in shallow water is red-hot, right now."