Six bodies of water in South Carolina have been included in Bassmaster magazine’s list of the top 100 bass-fishing destinations in the United States in its July/August edition.
The Santee Cooper lakes, Marion and Moultrie, ranked the highest among South Carolina’s bass fisheries at No. 27. Lake Murray was No. 48, the Cooper River No. 80, Lake Hartwell No. 87 and Lake Wateree No. 96.
Bassmaster ranked Toledo Bend Reservoir on the Texas/Louisiana border as the top bass fishery in the country, followed by Wisconsin’s Sturgeon Bay. Rounding out the top five were Michigan’s Lake St. Clair, the California Delta and Lake Sam Rayburn of Texas.
According to Bassmaster, the rankings were created by first polling the fishery agencies of each state to produce a current list of bass-rich waters. Next, the B.A.S.S. Nation was employed to chime in on the best fisheries they compete on across the country. All 630,000 B.A.S.S. Facebook fans were polled to make sure non-tournament lakes were considered, and then the B.A.S.S. Council, a 3,500-member panel of super-avid bass fishermen, helped put the lakes in order. Finally, after scouring tournament data from hundreds of bass fishing clubs and tournament organizers, the rankings were finalized by a 15-member blue-ribbon panel from the fishing industry.
Five of the six South Carolina fisheries were unranked in Bassmasters’ 2014 list. The Santee Cooper lakes held the No. 34 spot last year.