Huge largemouth bass in both prespawn and spawning modes are being taken throughout both Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie of the Santee Cooper system.
Guide Inky Davis fishes both lakes, and he said huge largemouth are being taken in very shallow water on both lakes on a variety of lures.
“March is the magical time of the year for huge bass on both lakes, and right now the lower end of Lake Marion and throughout the shallow water on Lake Moultrie is producing lots of huge bass,” Davis said. “And the upper end of Lake Marion is almost at the same stage and will be peaking very soon. Find cover in shallow water and you have potential hawg hole right now.”
Davis (803-478-7289) is catching big bass that are in the prespawn mode and as well as fish on the beds.
“The potential to catch prespawn bass moving in and fish on the beds is what makes the time magical for trophy largemouth,” Davis said. “The water depths where fish are being caught are from very skinny water, just enough to keep the fish wet, down to about 4 feet deep.
“We’re finding them in all types of cover situations so coving a lot of shallow water cover is essential. Cypress and gum trees are holding a lot of fish in the prespawn mode, but the pads, grassmats, stumps, logs and brush are also holding big fish, both prespawn and spawning fish. My clients are hooking a lot of big bass and while we’re not landing them all, I do like getting a lot of opportunities and we’re certainly getting that.
“One crucial factor for the spawning fish is the bottom substrate and the sandy areas are best,” he said. “But there are a lot of prime areas where there’s a bit of muck that covers the sand, but that is easily fanned away by the fish when bedding. These beds are actually easier to see because of the dark contrast of water around them. It’s also an overlooked area because many anglers don’t realize there’s a good spawning substrate under that thin surface layer.”
Davis said another reason this time of year is so productive is that there are several ways to catch fish and anglers can often opt for their favorite lures and patterns.
“The key on bedding fish often is making the fish get aggressive, and there are a lot of lures that will do that,” he said. “For target fishing for prespawn fish, there are a number of lures that work well, plus we’ll hit beds we don’t even see, especially in upper Lake Marion. Creature baits are lethal and favored by a lot of anglers. Also, I like a swamp crawler worm, one that’s about the size of a finesse worm. We’ve caught several big fish recently on the gold Johnson Spoon with a chartreuse plastic trailer about 3 inches long; actually, the end of a ribbontail plastic worm has been a great trailer lately. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits are also producing well.”
Davis said the water temperature is fluctuating in the lower 60s and getting up to around 70 degrees on some of the warm, sunny afternoons.
“The water temperature is on the upswing, but colder nights and some cooler rain is keeping the actual number fluctuating,” Davis said. “But the temperature trend is up, and I’d suggest going anytime you can get on the water. But if we get a couple warm days in a row, the fishing is sensational. Go now and in the next few weeks into April for some of the best trophy bass potential of the year on Santee Cooper.”