Finding a reservoir where the bass fishing is good all summer isn’t always that easy — unless you live near Charleston. Just up the road, I-26, is an excellent and often overlooked lake: Goose Creek Reservoir.
Goose Creek is a 1,000-acre reservoir in Berkeley County near Goose Creek, Hanahan and North Charleston, that offers easy access for a lot of fishermen. Guide Chris Orvin of Moncks Corner said bass fishing there is outstanding through the summer, and better yet, he often has the best fishing all to himself, himself and his clients.
“I fish there frequently with guide parties, and we do extremely well,” Orvin said. “The key is to match the bait you use to the time of day you fish. My preference is early and late when I can use topwater lures most effectively, but bass are caught all-day long by fishing worms and Rat-L-Traps on offshore humps and stumpy flats and using frog lures in very heavy cover and around the pads.”
Orvin said there is a wide diversity of cover in the lake, and that’s one of the reason he enjoys fishing it, even during the hot weather. He said the bass fishing can be productive all year, but this is prime time, especially for big fish.
“I fish it a lot in August, but July to September is among my favorite times for fishing this lake,” he said. “The diversity of cover is a key, and the patterns get fairly consistent during the summer.
“Tthe better lures for big bass are very large plastic worms, spinnerbaits, Rat-L-Traps or similar lures, shad-colored crankbaits and topwater lures,” Orvin said. “The best topwaters include Pop Rs, a Spook fished walk-the-dog style, buzzbaits, and floating worms or Flukes.”
Orvin said the fishing is excellent throughout the day, and while the heat at high noon just keeps anglers off the lake, it doesn’t necessarily turn off the bass fishing.
“I’ve found water about 11 feet deep, but most of the lake will be about 5 to 6 feet, except around the shoreline,” he said. “This is part of what makes it great for bass in the summer; the fish have to be at fishable depths because there’s nowhere deep they can go.
“But just like on Lake Moultrie, shad are a key to fishing in this lake; you need to have forage in the area to be successful,” he said. “But there are trees standing in portions of the lake, along with lots of weedbeds, pads, stumps, logs and other debris that will hold fish.
“During the hot part of the day, I’ll get back in the heavy stuff with large worms, maybe 10 inches or larger, or use topwater frogs. Just like on bigger lakes, look for small points or pockets of cover that give bass an identifiable ambush point, and cast to those targets. Areas where different forms of vegetation come together is usually good, especially if there is a bit of a cove or opening there.”
Orvin will fish the shoreline cover a lot, although there are a few points and ledges that drop into slightly deeper water where he will catch bass on consistently.
“Most of the time, this lake is a shoreline fishing situation, especially early and late in the day when the fish are usually more active,” he said. “However if you hang in there, you can catch big fish all day long. There’s a lot of 4-to 6-pound fish in the lake — and certainly much larger — that we catch frequently during the summer.
“During the heat of the day, I work slightly deeper water,” he said. “But also, there is plenty of heavy vegetative cover that will hold bass during the day. This is often where they’ll hold during the intense, bright day, but using worms, or even topwater frogs and similar baits to get back into the cover, you can get to and catch these fish during the day.”
Orvin said he has been fishing this lake consistently for the past seven years and said it’s a proven producer.
“Even fishing shoreline cover, I still work out the pattern for the day,” he said. “It begins with forage, but even during the summer, there will often be subtle changes in daily patterns that keep me on my toes to ensure I find fish.
“On a typical good day we’ll often catch as many as eight or more largemouth in the 4-pound class and some much, much larger. But we also have days where we only catch a couple big fish. But the key is that it’s very reliable for good action from quality largemouth through August. I know of a couple of fish over 12 pounds caught from the lake, so the top-end potential is great.”
Orvin said he often hears fish breaking the surface, and the big ones actually sound like heavy stripers as they explode on the shad.
“Most of the bass fishermen on this lake work it during the spring but are gone by summer,” he said. “They’re missing some really good action.”
HOW TO GET THERE — Goose Creek Reservoir is just east of US 52/78 near Trident Technical College in North Charleston. Take Mabeline Road east to Railroad Avenue, turn right and then left on left on Bettis Boat Landing Road to John R. Bettis Landing.
WHEN TO GO — Bass fishing is good year-round, but summer is prime time because there is less fishing pressure and more big-fish activity, especially late in the evenings.
TACKLE/TECHNIQUES — Fish topwaters early and late around shallow cover. Later in the day, fish big worms or frog- or Fluke-type baits around heavy cover or in slightly deeper water.
GUIDES/FISHING INFO — Chris Orvin, Overdose Fishing Charters, Moncks Corner, 843-509-2306, www.overdosefishingcharters.net; Anglers Sporting Goods, Moncks Corner, 843-761-1171, www.anglerssportinggoods.com. See Guides and Charters in Classifieds.
MAPS — Delorme’s S.C. Atlas & Gazetteer, 800-561-5105, www.delorme.com.