Bass fishing has taken center stage at Lake Wateree on the first two days of September, with both big bass and limits of chunky fish being caught. Guide Chris Heinning said the fishing is excellent, and he's made some nice catches recently.
"September is an awesome month for largemouth – the action is superb now and will usually get better through the month," Heinning said. "But largemouth bass are in a summer-like pattern as water temperatures still typically remain in 80s."
Heinning (803-236-1257) said even though air temperatures may be dropping, he focuses more on water temperatures, which take more time to fall than air temperatures.
"Sometimes anglers make the mistake once they feel first cool front to rush to the creeks seeking a later fall pattern of shallow-water bass," he said. "However, the quality bass remain more on the main lake and in deeper water until we get about two or three major cold fronts and water temperatures drop (into) and remain in 70s. Some smaller fish will be found in creeks, but big bass remain in deeper water near the main lake."
Heinning said that baitfish and largemouth will suspend more in September than earlier in year where they tend to be locked on bottom.
"I rely heavily on my (depth finder) to locate areas that have more bait and fish than others," he said. "This is a real key to success. The best areas I've found are to focus on main-lake rocky points and underwater humps in 12 to 20 feet of water. Also, shoreline grass beds are thick and can be good during low-light conditions such as early or late in the day and cloudy days. Another favored target that holds plenty of big bass in September is docks with deeper water access, with eight feet or more of water being my favorite."
Heinning said a variety of lures will work but the ones he uses are quite specific.
"Both deep- and medium-running crankbaits in chartreuse color are best for exploring points and humps, also a half-ounce double-willow spinnerbait or a half-ounce football jig and craw. Since fish are often suspended, I will fan-cast productive areas thoroughly.
"The fish holding on grass can be caught on frogs, topwater chugging baits, spinnerbaits, swim jigs, and worms," he said. "Dock fishing is best with a 3/8-ounce jig and craw, shakey heads with straight-tail worms, and Texas-rigged creature baits in brown colors.
Heinning said that September bass are very chunky, since they have been feeding on shad all summer, another reason it's a great time to catch big bass.
"With many people finished with vacations, kids back to school and more outdoorsmen heading to the woods, September is one my favorite times to catch largemouth bass on Wateree with less angling pressure and variety of productive patterns," he said.