December’s bass great on Santee River, Rediversion Canal


Topwater lures, soft plastics are good options for bass

The Rediversion Canal and the Santee River offer some outstanding South Carolina bass fishing in December. Guide Joe Dennis of Captain J. Hook Charters said water levels are typically stable throughout the month. And that leads to a great bite.

“The topwater bite is really good, even this late in the year, on both the Rediversion Canal and the Santee River. And soft-plastic worms — either fished wacky style or Texas-rigged — are also good choices,” said Dennis (843-245-3762).

Limestone rocks line some of the banks of the Rediversion Canal and the Santee River. Dennis said fish love hanging out along those banks. That’s especially true where bigger rocks or downed timber and other debris have gathered.

The December water is usually very clear, so he suggests downsizing your lures and line and using fluorocarbon leaders when fishing with plastic worms. When Texas-rigging, anglers should use the lightest weight they can get away with. For topwater lures, Dennis ties braid directly to the lure.

“You want to make long casts this month, because the water is so clear,” he said. “Long casts and using light line and smaller lures is the key. It’s a numbers game this month. You’ll catch a lot of bass, and they’ll range anywhere from a pound up to 6 pounds. You’ll catch a lot of 2- and 3-pounders this time of year. And hooking a bigger one is always a possibility.”

These lures are pretty simple to work

For topwater lures, Dennis uses a small, clear Tiny Torpedo and casts it close to the banks and around any type of structure.

Guide Joe Dennis catches plenty of nice bass this month in the Rediversion Canal and Santee River. (Picture by Joe Dennis)

“I give it three twitches and pause, three twitches and pause,” he said. “For wacky worms, I hook the worm in the middle, make a cast, then slowly work it back to the boat, pausing frequently to let the worm dangle and sink.”

Another thing that makes fishing here so much fun is that anglers frequently catch stripers along with the largemouth.

“There’s a lot of stripers in this part of the canal and the river, especially from the (US) 52 bridge all the way to Jamestown. So you never know which one you’re going to catch,” he said.

Dennis said the most important thing about fishing this time of year is to watch the water levels on Santee Cooper’s website.

“If they’re pulling a lot of water because of heavy rains, that’s when you do not want to go. You want the levels to read normal or average for at least a couple of days leading up to your trip. The more stable the water, the better the fishing will be,” he said.

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About Brian Cope 2286 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

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