"I believe the fish have already spawned, based on what I saw in late March as well as the activity we had back in May," said McGuffin, "but that don't mean you can't catch them now. The last few trips I've made, I've caught good numbers of largemouth bass and a few of those fish were in the 8-pound class, the ones Jocassse is known for."
With Jocassee finally at full pool, McGuffin said all of the scrub grass, weeds and bushes that grew up on the lake's banks are now flooded. The best place to look for fish is in the very backs of creeks and cuts on any of the long, winding tributaries. Anywhere a creek enters the lake is now a flooded jungle.
"Fish the backs of these creeks and cuts, even if there's no water coming in, because there'll still be a flat with 10 to 20 feet of water on the bottom," said McGuffin. "On your way into or out of those creeks, also be on the look-out for blowdown trees either under the water or sticking out in the water. Bass love to hang out in the shade of those trees and ambush anything that comes close."
McGuffin's go-to bait for fishing both the creek outlets and blowdown trees is any topwater bait in a frog pattern. He suggests easing up on the area with your trolling motor so you don't spook the fish, and then line up to make that perfect cast to the structure.
"Typically, you'll get one, maybe two casts to a specific area," he said. "If he's there and he's willing, he'll nail it on the first cast, provided you put your bait all the way into the back of the cut or lay it right next to an opening in a blowdown tree. Then it's time to move on to the next spot."
All four of the major tributaries that feed Jocassee – Whitewater, Thompson, Horsepasture, and Toxaway – are good bets, as well as any of the smaller tributaries off of these on the north and northwest ends of the lake.
"Start out fishing in North Carolina and work your way south," said McGuffin. "Just make sure you have a license for each state, because there is no reciprocal agreement."