Slow-trolling live bait is a very productive tactic for catching striped bass and crappie in Midland and Piedmont reservoirs across South Carolina. Guide Steve Pietrykowski has used those tactics many times while catching striped bass and hybrids from Lake Hartwell in the Upstate.

When it comes to catching fish, whether it be the numerous brown and rainbow trout or any of the several black bass species that call Lake Jocassee home, anglers have gotten away from the basics and tend to specialize in heavy tackle such as downriggers and trolling spoons for trout or drop-shot rigs and jigging spoons for bass to get deep at Jocassee.

"Deep" at Jocassee is a relative term in the extreme. While 30 feet is extremely deep on the Santee-Cooper lakes and mid level at Lakes Murray, Hartwell, and Wateree, a shallow flat on Lake Jocassee will run from 30 to 40 feet in depth.

"During the cooler months, we don't have to fish deep by Jocassee standards," said Pietrykowski (864-353-3438). "The water column tends to even out, and baitfish will seek out these shallow flats, which are readily found in the very backs of most of Jocassee's feeder creeks."

While medium and large store-bought minnows will also work, Pietrykowski prefers to match the hatch by cast-netting blueback herring from nearby Lake Keowee – because it's illegal to net bait in Jocassee.

"I use light-action spinning tackle," Pietrykowski said, "6-pound test and 6½-foot spinning rods. I do use a little different rig; it's a No. 4 mosquito hook, to which I tie a 3-inch dropper with a No. 10 treble hook as a stinger. Bass will usually just engulf the bait, but since there are a lot of those first-year stocker sized trout in here, too, the stinger will most often be what you catch the trout on."

Pietrykowski slows trolls with four rods from the stern of his boat and will vary the size split shot, usually a No. 5 or a No. 7, to get the baits to different depths.

In the attached video, Pietrykowski demonstates how effective his cold water live bait tactics are by catching rainbow and brown trout as well as spotted and largemouth bass, all using the same tactic.