Bass anglers who are mourning the loss of fish in their livewells need to trade their bass rockets for a kayak and hit one of the Upstate’s big rivers. Last week, J.D. Desrosiers of Simpsonville, his buddy, Kris Moran, and Moran’s son, C.J.., landed more than 80 smallmouth, largemouth and rock bass on a 15-mile float trip down the South Pacolet River.

The three anglers put in at daylight behind the No. 2 Dam in the city limits of Pacolet and made the 11-hour float to their takeout at the SC 105 bridge in Cherokee County. Desrosiers, a pro-staff member for Wilderness Systems kayaks, said they caught fish the whole way.

“I would never thought to float the South Pacolet, but a game warden we met at the recent Spartanburg Paddlefest told us we needed to try it,” said Desrosiers. “The Pacolet flows into the Broad, and I guess the smallies made their way upstream, but not only were we catching numbers, we had some smallmouth and largemouth bass up to 4 pounds.”

Escaping the heat during summer is nothing new to paddlers. Typically water temperatures in flowing rivers across the northern portions of South Carolina run at least 10 degrees cooler than impounded lakes and reservoirs.

“The fish were super aggressive,” Desrosiers said. “Our baits were pretty simple. For most of the day, I threw a black Roostertail on ultralight tackle, Kris threw a shaky head jig with a worm and C.J. used a small Rebel crankbait. We all caught bass and some big slab bream as well.”

Desrosiers said fish were holding more in deeper pools, especially any pool that had a blowdown tree sticking out in it. They would catch three or four bass off each blowdown that was over a deep pocket.

Upstate anglers need not confine their efforts to the Pacolet as similar results are common on many waters including the Broad, Enoree, Saluda, Reedy and most any navigable water deep enough to float a boat.

Access in and out of the water is best at either public right-of ways or public access areas along the way.

“This was a day that I will never forget; the word epic always comes to mind when trying to describe theĀ  paddle down the South Pacolet,” said Desrosiers. “All of us are itching to get back on a local river soon as possible.”