Billy Lewis of Liberty, S.C. knew the trout fishing on Lake Jocassee would be good during the latter part of April. On previous trips the weeks before, he started dialing in on a good pattern trolling flutter spoons from downrigger balls behind his pontoon boat and had already caught a couple of limits.
On Saturday, April 21, he took that pattern to a whole new level when he and co-worker Roger Kendrick of Townville, S.C. doubled up on citation-sized brown trout, the larger trout tipping the scale at over 9 pounds.
“We started off that morning at the dam with no luck,” said Lewis. “The fish are moving back out of the rivers into the big water, but I guess the cooler weather this spring is slowing that transition down some.”
Lewis had found success on previous trips fishing around Jumping Off Rock during the mid- morning hours, so he and Kendrick picked up about 9 a.m. and headed up the lake.
About 10:30 a.m., the pair were trolling Sutton spoons in the 37 – 45 foot range in front of Jumping Off Rock when one of the downrigger rods popped. Lewis fought the fish for a few minutes and then, believing it was a large catfish, handed the rod to Kendrick while he began reeling in the other lines to keep them from tangling in the fish.
“As I was trying to get the other rods in, another rod hooked up so we both had one on opposite sides of the boat,” said Lewis. “Before long I had a 22 ½-inch brown trout to the boat and in the net. That’s when we realized Roger wasn’t fighting a catfish.”
Kendrick had a much larger brown on the line and his time was running out. On the third of four runs the fish made, Lewis saw the hook working out of the fish’s mouth and instructed Kendrick that he was going to try to net it on the next pass.
As Kendrick brought the huge brown to the surface, Lewis got the net under the fish right before the silver spoon popped loose and shot straight up in the air.
To qualify for the SC Angler Recognition Program, a brown trout has to weigh at least 5 pounds or measure 20 inches. Lewis and Kendrick had two citation fish in the boat and would round out the day with two more nice 18-inch browns coming over the side of the boat.
On the way home, the pair stopped at Jocassee Outdoor Center to weigh the fish. Lewis’ 22 ½-inch trout weighed 4.8 pounds and Kendrick’s 28 ½-inch trout tipped the scales at 9.36.