When Clyde Folse of Sumter thinks of fishing in August at Santee Cooper, he thinks of being covered in sweat from head to toe. He also thinks of lily pads, hollow-body frogs and big bass.
“You’re going to sweat out here. I don’t care how early you get on the water,” Folse said. “By the time you’re fishing, you’re going to sweat, but if you don’t mind that, you can have some great days of bass fishing, whether you’re on the upper or lower lake.”
Folse doesn’t fish tournaments, but he’s taken his share of tournament anglers fishing to familiarize them with what he believes is the best all-around style of fishing for summer bass.
“One thing I hear from tournament anglers is that there is no consistent pattern of fishing on Santee,” he said. “I don’t think that’s true. I think you can find a number of different patterns that work on Santee. It’s just so full of such varied structure and water depths that I think one angler might find a pattern that’s working great, and another angler might find a totally different pattern that is working just as good.
“My way isn’t the only way to catch bass on Santee this month, but it’s the way that works for me.”
And his way is fishing pockets of lily pads with hollow-body frogs. Lucky for Folse, Santee has plenty of areas for his style of fishing.
“I can think of five places that you can find big areas of lily pads that are really close to landings. There’s several out of Pack’s Landing, and several off of the Diversion Canal out of Black’s Camp — areas that are bigger than most fishing ponds, just covered with lily pads, acres of them. That’s the type place I’m fishing this month,” he said.
Folse said he catches most of his bass within 10 feet of the edge of the pads, but he always makes numerous casts to the dead center of areas filled with the surface weeds.
“Some of them just like to hang around the center. You’ll get fewer bites there, but it’s always worth a few casts. Some of my biggest bass come from the center,” he said.
Beef up your gear for this style of fishing, according to Folse, who said 60-pound braided line is the norm. This is the one style of fishing where Folse will use a rod that’s rated extra-heavy. He also prefers a high-speed reel, which he said helps him get the fish in quickly, and away from all the weeds they can run into if hooked.