Wateree River is place to be for November crappie

South Carolina’s Wateree River gets very little fishing pressure, especially for crappie, and in the fall, that opens up a lot of opportunities for anglers.

The November crappie bite is usually hot, and you’ll find no shortage of diehard anglers spider-rigging their way across lakes and reservoirs, but you’ll have little competition from anyone on South Carolina’s Wateree River.

Primarily known for its catfish, the Wateree has plenty of slabs, and they get very little notice  — because of Lake Wateree upstream and the Santee Cooper lakes downstream.

Mike Spinks of Dalzell, S.C., loves to fish the Wateree, and not because it’s close to home.

“It’s rare for me to see more than one or two other boats on the river right now, and I’m often the only boat at the landing when I arrive and when I leave,” he said. “There’s plenty of crappie here, and they are pretty predictable as the water gets colder.”

Spinks looks for crappie in two kinds of areas. Some days, he finds them in both areas, and on others, he finds them in only one.

“This river is very curvy, and the bends in the curves are the key. This time of year, I know I can find crappie in the outside bends or the inside bends, and on some days, they’ll be in both,” he said.

“If the current is running really strong, it’s easier to fish the inside curves, but I find more crappie in the eddies of the outside curves,” he said. “It’s harder to fish because of the current, but it’s usually worth it. When the water is running pretty slow, they’ll usually be in both curves, except on really cold days, when you’ll find more on whichever curves have the most sunlight.”

A white 1/16-ounce jig called the Grass Shrimp from Crappie Psychic is Spinks’ lure of choice; he fishes it on a 10-foot crappie pole, without a cork. He sometimes anchors down but said he’s usually able to hold himself steady on downed trees that gather in the river’s curves. Then, he tight-lines the jig throughout that bend until he’s either caught a few or fails to get a bite.

Spinks loves to limit out on crappie, but he rarely stays in one spot very long, even if he catches a few fish quickly.

“I like to explore this river and try to figure out all the places these fish hang out. So I’m happy with catching just a few in each spot, then trying other spots. There’s no shortage of crappie here, and there’s plenty of areas to fish for them,” he said.

For anglers new to this river, Spinks has a three suggestions.

“Don’t waste a lot of time fishing in the center of the river. It’s just not productive. Count on your prop and boat scraping the bottom multiple times, because this river has some seriously shallow spots, and don’t shy away from a fishing hole because it’s full of debris. These are usually the best spots to fish,” he said.

About Brian Cope 2783 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at brianc@carolinasportsman.com.

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