Hit the banks for Lake Monticello’s April bass

Bass pro Andy Wicker loves to fish Lake Monticello in April because so many bass are shallow.

Fishing is as simple as it gets, with plenty of big, hungry fish moving to the banks

For anyone who likes to catch bass, April is a fun time on South Carolina’s Lake Monticello, according to bass pro Andy Wicker, who grew up learning on Monticello and Lake Murray.

“The bass will be on the bed. You can just go down the bank and catch them on a floating worm, a Texas rig, topwater — just whatever you want to throw,” he said. “Any kind of worm will do it for you.”

Wicker said his April pattern is simple. Go to the very backs of the pockets and big bays that are protected from the wind and move down the banks, covering water and fishing stumps, blowdowns, docks — whatever you can find in the water.

“That is the one time of year that the fish are going to move shallow. And there is not a lot of shoreline cover, so any kind of structure will hold fish,” he said. “The rest of the year, they are out 20, 30, 40 feet deep. But in April, you will find them up on the bank.”

Lots of smaller males are biting, with a few big females mixed in

The size of the fish depends on the weather, he said. If a big wave of fish moves shallow early in the month, there will be a lot of big fish on the banks.

“Water temperature is critical,” Wicker said. “They like the 59- to 61-degree water temperature this time of year. So in April, I am going to try to find the warmest water possible. The water temperature is normally higher on the south end of the lake.”

“If you go when a wave of fish has moved up, you can catch a bunch of big ones on the bank, and there are some big ones in there. A big Monticello bass is about 8 or 9 pounds. But last year, one angler caught one in the 10- to 11-pound range.”

Wicker said one thing that makes April bass fishing on Monticello so much fun is that smaller males are really aggressive and pretty easy to catch. So anglers find plenty of action.

“If you are not catching big females, at least you should be catching the males. And they are paired up, too, so if you catch a small male, a big female is close by. So you can go back and catch the female,” he said.

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