Some bass fishermen like to work the shallows; some like to fish deep. You have to be willing to do both to be successful on Lake Wateree this month, according to bass pro Dearal Rodgers of Camden, S.C., who grew up fishing the South Carolina reservoir.

“In September, I always start out in the morning fishing around grass and rocks in the zero to 5-foot deep zone,” he said. “Bass at Wateree will cruise up shallow looking for an easy meal that time of day.”

Fishing main-lake points and in pockets, Rodgers said he likes to throw a frog around grass beds and a Pop-R or Zara Spook Jr. around rocks. His lure selection includes a white Buckeye double willow leaf spinnerbait and a Strike King 1.5 crankbait.

“A morning breeze really helps the top water bite,” he said. “If there is no wind — and definitely if there is fog — I stick with the spinnerbait and crankbait. Shad colors are best.”

Wateree bass tend to pile up offshore around deeper breaks on points and along creek-channel ledges and humps, according to Rodgers, so as the sun begins to rise, he will move to the deeper water in the 10- to 20-foot range.

“These bass in the deeper water will bite a variety of lures, like Carolina-rigged lizards or Baby Brush hogs, deep-diving crankbaits, Buckeye football Mop jigs, and the Spot Remover with a Zoom trick worm.”

Noting that boat electronics have come a long way in the past decade, Rodgers said he relies heavily on his to locate bass and baitfish in the deeper zones before making a cast.

“Once you find a productive spot, don’t be afraid to stay a few hours trying different baits and retrieves to fire up the school,” he said.

“As water temperatures begin to cool later in the month, the bass will transition more to the shallows,” he said. “That’s when I begin to mix in dock fishing with the Buckeye Mop jig and Spot Remover.”