Bass fishing on Lake Marion is red-hot -- especially for big fish -- and it's one of the favorite times of the year for guide Inky Davis.
"First of all, the bass fishing is excellent for quality and quantity of fish, but it’s a great time of the year to score on a huge largemouth," Davis said. "Combine that with the fact that a lot of folks that fish in the spring are deer hunting or watching college football, and there's just very little pressure on these fish. That's why it ranks as one of my favorite times of the year."
Davis (803-473-3783) said he has caught some huge largemouth recently, including an 11-pound, 15-ounce fish, his largest ever.
"The entire month of November is outstanding for both quality and quantity of largemouth, and there are a variety of lures that are producing," Davis said.
“It’s a great experience to fish Lake Marion in the fall. It’s still the same water we fish in the spring and summer, and it's full of big bass. But as you would expect, the fishing patterns are different, the places the fish hold are different and the little keys you have to look for to be successful change.
“I fish out of the upper part of Lake Marion, usually Jack's Creek," he said. "Much of the time, it’s a great place for me to start my trips, but I range far and wide this time of the year. On a typical day I may range 10 to 15 miles in either direction looking for bass.”
Davis fishes water that has all the ingredients for November success: a shallow flat near deeper water with lots of cover in the form of trees, logs stumps and pockets of weeds. Having a lot of baitfish in the area is a key. If the baitfish are there, and the habitat is right, he'll said he will usually find some hefty largemouth.
"I'll use both baitcasting and spinning tackle, and I use Texas-rigged worms and crankbaits a lot during the fall," he said. "Specifically for crankbaits I like a Speed Trap as well as a Strike King 1.5. I also use a swimbait called the Skinny Dipper. I work it topwater or just under the surface. Also, the Spro Frog is very good, especially on warmer days right before a front. I'll use 20-pound braided line on my rigs.
"The depths usually range from shallow cover down to eight feet," he said. "I start on the shallow ledge with cover and work deeper until I find the pattern for the day. Sometimes, I'll find the bass stacked at the mid-depth range. Cloud cover is good for shallow fishing, and water color will make a difference in depth, with dingy being best for shallow water."
One lure Davis keeps rigged and ready is a Little George, a heavy-bodied tailspinner that’s been on the market for decades. But many fishermen new to the sport may not understand the power of his reference to it as a diminutive dynamo.
“I can cast it long distances to quickly reach a largemouth that breaks into a school of shad at the limit of my casting range," Davis said. "Even though the water is cooling, schooling fish action is very good right now, and you may encounter it at any time. I’ve caught many, many big fish simply and only because I had that lure rigged and ready and could put in on the fish while still actively feeding."