The revived striped bass fishery on the Santee Cooper lakes is no secret; many anglers throughout the Carolinas have heard about the strong recovery.

But many probably don’t realize the extent of the recovery.  During October and November, the fishing reaches a fervor not enjoyed since the long ago “good ol’ days.”

“I haven’t seen striper fishing this consistently good in a long, long time,” said guide Leroy Suggs, who had just returned from only a few hours on the water with a party of four and a cooler full of stripers. 

“Today. we’ve got the limit of 12 keeper stripers, three per person,” he said. “But what’s really great is that we caught and released a triple-digit number of stripers. It’s a cloudy day, ideal for topwater schooling and live bait fishing. But even on clear days, we’re catching 40 to 60 and sometimes more per trip. And we’re boating more keepers than in a long time.”

Suggs, who has been guiding since 1983, works out of Blacks Camp on the Diversion Canal between Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie and has long specialized in striper fishing. He’s fished these lakes through the good, bad and now good times again. He’s confident the fishery is going to continue to improve and 2017 should be as good as or better than last year. 

To consistently catch fish, he’s developed a plan that allows him to catch them even when weather or water conditions are not ideal.

“Regardless of how many fish are in the lakes, I can’t rely on just one technique, such