Although Lake Monticello is often regarded as a trophy catfish destination northwest of Columbia, S.C., its largemouth bass population is also thriving, and it is guide and tournament angler Brett Mitchell’s pick for a magnum-spoon hot spot.

Mitchell, from Florence, S.C., spends a great deal of time on the Santee Cooper lakes, but without any spoon bite to speak of there, he makes a move to Monticello when he wants to go deep.  

 “Monticello is not a big place; you can go from one end to the other in a bass boat in about 10 minutes,” Mitchell said of the 6,700-acre reservoir. “You’re looking for schools of bait on the depthfinder that are down deep. The bass will huddle up with them around the same depth.

“In June, the fish could be anywhere from 18 to 40 feet deep, around any kind of depth contour or structure in the lake. You should be looking around the points and the islands. There’s a lot of sandy bottom out there; so, if you can find some rock or wood, that’s always good.”

According to Mitchell (803-379-7029), an angler will spend a lot of time looking at his depth finder and should give the fish he finds careful interpretation before spending any energy trying to catch them. Long, flat marks are more than likely catfish, while smaller marks in 30 to 40 feet of water spell white bass.  

Once Mitchell has found suitable returns, he lines up the area with a shoreline marker and works it over with the spoon. He prefers a 7-foot-7 Ben Parker Magnum Spoon Rod — an extra- fast, extra-heavy stick made by ALX Rods as part of the Expert series — mated with a Lew’s Super Duty baitcasting reel with a 7.1-to-1 gear ratio.