Fishing weed lines is a no-brainer up north, but few anglers realize that sprawling Clarks Hill Reservoir on the Savannah River along the South Carolina/Georgia border also has plenty of weeds, in the form of hydrilla, that attract tons of fish – particularly striped bass and hybrids.
Guide William Sasser said he refers to the pattern as the “crawfish bite,” because when he and his guides clean fish this time of year, their stomachs are full of the freshwater crustaceans.
“You can find hydrilla in spots all over the lake, starting from the bank out to about 30 feet of water,” said Sasser (706-589-5468). “The fish get up on those long hydrilla points at night and eat the crawfish. We catch them on herring fishing the edge of the hydrilla, just like they do up north fishing weed lines.”
Sasser said the crawfish bite typically starts up in late June and lasts until the lake starts to turnover in September, but this year, the fish got a late start, and he and his guides didn’t get on the reliable pattern until late July. He said that all fish species will congregate on those spots at night, but the majority of his catches are hybrids, striped bass and catfish.
“Some years it doesn’t matter if it’s dark or not. You can go in there at 2 a.m. and catch fish, and some years, the fish will not bite until the sun starts to peak,” he said. “This year, we are getting started about an hour before daylight, and by 7 a.m., the bite on the hydrilla is done, and most times we’ll have our limit by then.”
Sasser fishes live blueback herring on a Carolina rig and will drop the bait to the bottom and turn the reel handle three times to suspend the bait right on the edge of the grass. He then uses his trolling motor to move along the edge of the grass, and stripers will dart out and grab the bait. When one fish commits, the remainder of the school is usually not far behind.
“You can mark the grass on your graph; it will come up 2 to three 3 feet off the bottom,” he said. “Another way is to just look for grass growing in the shallows on a point and follow it out to about 25 to 30 feet of water.”