September is for bass and bream

One of the most consistently-biting fish at Santee this month is bream, including some big ones. (Photo by Terry Madewell)

Mid-August through September enables Santee Cooper fishermen to enjoy stability in terms of fishing patterns for some species. Two of those are largemouth bass and bream. Both species provide consistent, if not outstanding, fishing right now. Yet they are often overlooked by many anglers.

Stable bass bite

Bass tournament pro Eric Glenn, from Bonneau Beach, SC said bass fishing success is good during the summer. But patterns have changed significantly since the spring bedding season.

“A lot of my fishing during August and September involves deeper water, but it’s not always really deep water,” he said.

Glenn said that knowing the location of open-water brush in shallow water, knowledge gleaned by fishing a lot, is the edge he needs to begin the day with a few good topwater bites.

“I’ll check some brush piles in open, relatively shallow, water,” he said. “Quality bass will move into these areas overnight and remain shallow to take advantage of early-morning foraging opportunities. I’ll fish a big popping topwater lure or a ‘walk-the-dog’ style lure over those targets. The depth of the brush I prefer will be in 4 to 7 feet of water, but the top of the brush may only be 2 feet deep.”

Glenn said that skinny water covering over the target makes it a prime spot for a largemouth to explode on a topwater bait. After he runs the topwater bait, he’ll work some shallow running crankbaits on the brush, particularly brush targets that are 6 foot deep or deeper.

“But in every instance of fishing these relatively shallow brushpiles, I want to have deeper water nearby,” he said. “The bass need a direct travel route from the deeper water. Having that, the shallow water brush, stumps, or logs, are potentially more productive.”

Glenn said an ideal setup is for a ledge or drop to extend from deep to shallow water through the flat he’s fishing.

Topwater lures can be deadly on largemouth bass this month.

Stay on the move

“Bass will ride a ledge into a shallow water flat. So brush, and natural cover such as stumps with big root systems, are ideal,” he said. “A bigger target is likely better than a small target at this time of year for holding big, or multiple, bass. Plus, big woody targets can be more attractive to forage and the small fish bass eat.”

“At this time of year, I move a lot,” Glenn said. “Not all these setups will hold fish. I use electronics to speed the fish-finding process, but I do take time to work an area thoroughly when I know a bass is on it. Just having the confidence that a fish is present helps a lot. But after I give them a fair shot, with no bite, I’ll move and look for biting fish.”

Glenn said patience is paramount to success because he may fish several spots without a bite. Then he’ll fish multiple targets where he’ll catch a couple of bass off each.

“I look for patterns in those cases, and when I spot a pattern, I’ll work that hard,” he said. “But sometimes it seems to just be a localized area where bass are more abundant, or simply in a biting mood.”

Glenn said a variety of lures will work, and he’ll certainly work soft plastics too as the day goes on. He fishes progressively deeper water and deeper brush or woody cover.

“Patience is my friend,” he said. “I keep working and looking and usually I’ll get on some good bass action,” he said.

Bream Action

Bream fishing stays good throughout the summer, and while bream fishing success peaks around the full moon, anglers can enjoy bream bed fishing success throughout the summer, including September.

Stacey Weatherford from Moncks Corner has made bream a priority in recent years.

“Fishing for bream on the beds is a summer-long opportunity,” Weatherford said. “The number of bream on a bed will ebb and flow. But if the bed isn’t completely wiped out by overfishing, some bream will be bedding all summer. I spend a lot of time searching for bream beds and generally I can catch limits of bream off the beds at any phase of the moon. I may have to move more now than in May or June, but the bedding bream are still active and provide excellent fishing through September.”

Whether bream or bass is your pick, don’t let the hot weather keep you from enjoying excellent fishing at Santee Cooper.

Bedding bream:

Bream are known for bedding in the late spring and early summer, but they’ll actually bed throughout September and even later into the early fall. If you’ve never tried bream bed fishing this time of year, give it a shot and you’ll be glad you did.

About Terry Madewell 802 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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