Once Labor Day passes, pleasure-boat traffic on South Carolina’s Lake Wateree diminishes and bass get on the move, making for good fishing, according to bass pro Dearal Rodgers of Camden, S.C.
“The bass are transitioning shallow in September, following shad and bluegills. They will be in the same places as they are in the spring, but are often not as aggressive. You have to make them bite,” said Rodgers, who said fish moving into new areas will often be very aggressive.
“In early September, I like to target bass early and late in the abundant grass that has made itself a home on Wateree,” he said, calling it ‘gator grass’ and saying it “has become abundant at Wateree and has changed bass fishing a lot in the last five or six years.
“Our bass seem to prefer the grass over the ledges that we used to catch so many on in the summer and the rocks that we used to catch so many on in the spring. The grass has been a good change for the quality of the fish, but (fishermen) have had to adjust to it in order to stay on top,” he said.
“Topwater frogs like the Bronze Eye and Zoom Horny Toad in dark colors work for me. Be sure to follow up any short strikes with a Senko. Later in the day, I look for fish on the ledges with a Zoom Ol’ Monster worm in green pumpkin, a ¾-ounce Buckeye football mop jig in PB&J and a Strike King 6XD crankbait in a shad pattern.”
As the water temperature begins to cool later in September, Rodgers usually fishes the grass all day and mixes in docks with a green pumpkin mop jig.
“I have had some of my best days in September on the jig right after a cool snap,” he said. “Also, later in the month, keep a Zara Spook Junior ready on the deck, as often you will have several fish surface, chasing shad in open water. A quick cast can often help you land a bonus fish or two.”
As the water continues to cool into October, Rodgers said, the fish begin to relate more to rocks and brush piles around docks.
“Many times in September, they are suspended as well, hanging beneath shad and shaded docks. That can make topwater really good, and this trend extends into October,” he said.