Keep topwater lures ready

Catching bream is the focal point for many anglers during June, but it’s not the full measure of great fishing on the Santee River. The opportunities for largemouth bass, crappie and striped bass also exist, and that simply adds to the diverse fishing experience.

“I am rigged and ready with topwaters lures such as Tiny Torpedos and white Flukes because plenty of big striper and largemouths are schooling on top as we fish along the river,” said guide Joe Dennis of Bonneau. “When they blow up feeding on baitfish within casting range, we’re hooking up with these fish as well as catching bream. These two lures are both extremely effective for both species.

“For crappie, I keep a jig tied on an ultralight spinning outfit and cast it along brush, stumps and fallen trees as I work along the river. When we find one, we often find several, and there are some slabs in the Santee River. I also keep a plastic worm rigged for those ideal looking largemouth targets as we drift along.”

Drifting the edge of the river works,, but areas with willows and other brush have excellent bottom substrate and support big bream.

Dennis said taking stripers and largemouth is exceptionally exciting; some keeper stripers are surfacing, and a number of largemouth bass in the 5- to 7-pound class are often caught.

“A great way to enjoy both bream and bass is to use a fly rod with a big, bream-sized popper,” Dennis said. “That will usually get bites from big bream and all sizes of largemouth.

“What I also love about this time of year on the river is we can be catching big bream and redbreast drifting crickets when largemouth or stripers surface school near us,” he said. “We pick up a rod that’s rigged and ready and work it over those schooling fish, and they’ll usually explode on the bait, and it’s game on. It creates an active fish-catching environment, but one that’s exciting, and at the end of the day my clients have enjoyed an awesome day of fishing for several different species of fish.”

About Terry Madewell 812 Articles
Award-winning writer and photographer Terry Madewell of Ridgeway, S.C., has been an outdoors writer for more than 30 years. He has a degree in wildlife and fisheries management and has a long career as a professional wildlife biologist/natural resources manager.

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