I don’t mind shooting a turkey in the face, but what I really love to do this time of year is to feel the tap, tap-tap, of a largemouth bass on the end of my fishing line. That’s why when I showed up at the Clinton House Plantation for a turkey hunt with Mike Johnson, I broke the news to him before we’d even donned our camo.
“Mike, I’m going to cancel my turkey hunt. I just caught four bass on four casts on the front pond, and missed a 6-pounder on my fifth cast. From the same spot standing on shore. The fishing’s just too hot in your ponds, so I’m content with that,” I said.
Johnson (864-833-0274) looked at me quizzically, trying to determine if I was joking. It’s April after all, and the Clinton House Plantation has some of the best turkey hunting you’ll find in South Carolina. It seemed to click in his head though, that every time I’ve visited his place, I’ve spent more time fishing than hunting.
“I’ll get you set up with a johnboat and trolling motor, and you can fish six of the ponds on the property. We will put it in the water for you and make sure you’re loaded up safely, then leave you alone to fish,” Johnson said.
I spent the day hopping from one pond to the next. Jordy Perez, Johnson’s right-hand man, gave me a few pointers on where to cast in a couple of ponds, and his advice didn’t disappoint. The ponds all have a great mixture of downed timber, weeds, open water, shallow water, and deep pockets. It’s a dream scenario for bass anglers, and I caught more than my share of largemouth on soft plastic lures, spinnerbaits, and even on topwater once the sun began retreating for the day.
One of the biggest surprises for me was in the last pond I fished. A white fluke was the lure of choice, and after catching a few chunky bass, I found a deep hole that I let the fluke sink into. I missed a couple of strikes, then let the fish really have it on the third hit. Expecting another bass, I was surprised to find a 14-inch crappie on the end of my line instead. It absolutely inhaled the fluke.
After that, I tied on a Mepps Aglia spinner and slowly reeled it through that same hole, allowing it to sink before retrieving. The crappie pounded the spinner until dark, and I also caught a shellcracker on an errant cast.
I had to laugh as I moved to a different pond at one point in the day and saw gobblers strutting in the fields. Lucky for them the fishing's so good.
When fishing at the Clinton House Plantation, bass are catch-and-release only, anglers can keep 8 bream each, 5 crappie that must be 8 inches or longer, and 5 catfish that must be 8 inches or longer.
Click here to see all the outdoor activities the Clinton House Plantation has to offer, and don’t forget that they offer more than hunting and shooting.