"A few days ago, no one was catching any stripers in the upper end of Lake Marion, we were all wondering when the spring spawning run would begin," said Steve Pack of Packs Landing (803-452-5514).
"It literally changed overnight," Pack said. "We went from no action to nearly every boat catching big numbers of stripers, literally from one day to the next. And it's been red hot every day since it started. The good news is that it is only going to get better if the water conditions stay reasonable."
Pack said the striper run is starting a bit later than normal, but the cold weather has held the water temperature down.
"Right now, the water conditions are ideal in terms of water temperature, color and current flow and we're catching stripers both in the river and in the flats," he said. "Most of the striper action is coming on cut bait, but a few are being taken on whole, live saltwater herring."
Pack said that by far the best action of the day is very early.
"I strongly recommend that fishermen be on the water and rigged and ready by first light," he said. "I've had several mornings in a row where we've caught 10 to 15 stripers by 9 o'clock in the morning. This is typical of spring stripers as they move up the river; there will be some fast and furious action very early, then the remainder of the mid-day will be good fishing, but slower. Typically, the action picks up again late in the evening, but not quite like the early morning.
"We're catching a good number of keeper sized fish, 26 inches and larger, with the biggest we've had here so far weighed 28 pounds," Pack said. "But the spawning season has literally just started. We'll be catching fish now through May here in the upper end of the lake. Now while the stripers are moving upstream, then later as they move back down. But the first big wave of spawning fish has started and the action is awesome."
Pack said each big saltwater herring is good for about eight good chunks of cut bait.
"It's crucial to keep fresh bait on for the best striper action," he said. "I go by the 30- minute rule and change baits every half hour at a minimum. But right now, the fish are biting fast enough that keeping fresh bait on is not something we have to do with a watch."
Pack is using 7-foot Eagle Claw baitcasting rods with ABU reels spooled with 25-pound test Trilene line and a 3/0 Kahle hook.