This is a great time of year for bass fishing on the Santee Cooper lakes, and a local pro said three lures are currently working especially well. Marc Deschenes said a combination of factors make certain lures work better than others this time of year, and he offers his advice for anglers looking to hook their share of the bounty.

“We’ve still get a lot of high water around the state, and that’s got crawdads pushed out of their normal areas. They are also feeding up for the winter, and crawdads are just stacked up in shallow water and around any sandbars and cypress knees. The crawdads around Santee are a burgundy red color, so in crawdad colors or watermelon colors are producing,” said Deschenes. 

Big Bite Baits Trick Stick is getting the job done in shallow water. It’s a Senko-style lure. You want to fish it without any weight, or with a small, 1/16-ounce weight at most,” said Deschenes, who not only fishes and guides on Santee, but also can simulate many different fishing scenarios and locations at VIP Adventures, his collection of private fishing ponds that he guides on. These ponds are made up of characteristics that anglers will find on major lakes throughout the state, and across the country.

Hollow-bodied frogs like the Spro frog are also productive lures on lily pads, which are still present throughout much of Santee’s surface area. A good hook-set is the key to catching bass on these lures, and Deschenes said many anglers who complain of missing the hook-set on these lures is that they are using the wrong line. 

“I use 60-pound Power Pro braid. It doesn’t stretch, and you don’t want it to. You want that lure’s hooks to bury into their lips immediately, and braid will do it. You’ll also find that once you hook a bass in those lily pads and other surface weeds, the fish will wrap you up around those thick weeds, and you’ll need strong line to keep them hooked and reel it all in. And 60-pound Power Pro casts better than small monofilament,” said Deschenes.

Deschenes’ third lure recommendation for Santee’s current conditions is a crankbait. “The Yo-Zuri 2- to 4-foot crankbait in either crawdad or shad color is a good one. The shad are moving shallow to spawn right now, and the bass are following them,” he said. 

When fishing crankbaits, Deschenes suggests using 12-pound Berkley Big Game monofilament.

Contact Deschenes at 843-708-5473 or visit his website here. VIP Adventures is open for business year-round, and is a great place to test new lures, new tactics, or warm up your fishing skills in a variety of structure. Many of the B.A.S.S. and FLW tournament pros come to VIP Adventures to do those very things, and you can too.