Striper anglers are experiencing 100-fish days on Santee Cooper right now, and Kevin Davis with Black’s Camp said the trend should continue for several more weeks. The fishing is sizzling hot, and Davis said following the birds is the key to finding schooling fish.
“Just follow the birds, and they’ll take you to the stripers. The birds are feeding on baitfish, and that’s what the stripers are feeding on too. So the birds will help you locate the fish. Lately, this has been more productive in the afternoons, and with a few different lures,” said Davis.
“Bucktails are always good this time of year, and jigheads with curly-tailed jigs or 4” to 6” swimbaits are also good,” said Davis, who likes one jighead over all others. “The Rockport Rattler Quicklock jigs are working especially well. It’s got big, shiny glass eyes, and it has a rattle built into the jighead. The stripers are really keying on that combination of sound, color, and light that is reflected off those glass eyes,” he said.
Anglers are having good luck with these lures in white, red, or chartreuse colors. “It’s been tough to find chartreuse these days, so a plain yellow color will also work,” said Davis, who likes to use one color for the jighead and a different color for the grub or swimbait, which is a simple way to offer up more than one color.
“When you see a big group of birds, just motor over that way, and shut down the outboard or at least cut it back to idle. This will keep that school of fish from running off. Cast out and just real in. Don’t let the lure drop too much. You’ll be reeling right through the school as long as they stay up top,” said Davis, adding that if they fish disappear from the surface but you see them on your depthfinder, that’s the time to let your lure sink a bit before reeling.
Davis said for the lower lake, the striper action is hot in front of Bonneau, and anglers in the lower lake are seeing the most action in front of the spillway. He advises fishing with medium rods. “These are some strong fish, so you need a rod that has a little bit of give in it.
For his main line, he uses 10-pound braid on baitcasting reels, and ties on a long (4-foot) leader of fluorocarbon line in 20-pound test. “I tie that on with an Albright knot because that knot will go smoothly through your line guides and onto your reel, and it doesn’t have any negative impact on your casting,” Davis said.
While the stripers are plentiful, Davis said anglers will encounter some throw-backs. “These fish have to be at least 26-inches to keep, so when anglers catch fish that are too small, they need to handle them carefully. They are strong fighters, but they don’t do well when kept out of the water for more than 30-seconds, and if these fish hit the floor of the boat, they are doomed,” said Davis, who added that it’s best to get undersized fish immediately back in the water.
Black’s Camp (843-753-2231) isn’t just a fishing guide service. It offers a host of lodging options, a fully-stocked tackle and bait shop, and an onsite restaurant that offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner.