April is prime time for blackwater river bass
For Capt. Todd Vick of Fishin’ Freshwater Charters out of Murrells Inlet, SC, the Waccamaw River is the hidden jewel of South Carolina’s coastal region. And in April, he said the bass fishing on this blackwater river really heats up.
“It’s no secret that the saltwater fishing gets a boost this month. But many anglers overlook the Waccamaw River’s excellent fishing this time of year. It’s a beautiful blackwater river that’s just a few miles from the beach. So it’s a different type of scenery, and different type of fishing,” he said.
Vick (843-333-8200) likes to target bass in areas off the main river. He guides his aluminum boat into the trees that line the open river, and finds smaller pockets of water out of the current. And this month, he finds bass in varying stages of the spawn.
“Bass are either on the beds, or getting ready to get on the beds. Later in the month, some will be moving off the beds,” he said. “We are mainly looking for those areas where bass will stage up before bedding.”
“I’m mainly using three types of lures this month. I always have a square-billed crankbait, a jerkbait, and a spinnerbait tied onto rods that are on the deck of my boat,” he said.
One lure he really likes this time of year is the Rapala Husky Jerk. He said it works in a variety of places, and is fairly easy to use.
“I use a variety of retrieve speeds until the bass let me know which one they prefer. It can change from one day to the next. Sometimes a steady retrieve works. Other days, a hard stop-and-go rhythm does best. With a little bit of trial and error, you’ll find what’s working. And that’s when the fun truly begins,” he said.
Fish the tides
The most challenging part of chasing bass on this section of the river, which runs through Horry County, is that it is a tidal river, with a range of several feet. So what time you fish is extremely important, but not because of the sunrise or sunset.
“I prefer to fish the outgoing tide, and it’s the most productive for bass,” he said.
Vick will begin his trip at high tide, just before it begins to drop. He fishes throughout the falling tide, all the way to dead low tide. Then he continues on for about an hour as the tide starts coming back in.
This keeps him from getting stranded high and dry, and also keeps him on the water during the hottest bite.
“Once the tide starts to really run in, the bass typically get lockjawed,” he said.
Vick said lure color seems to play a big role this time of year too. He likes to use lures in some shade of red, at least on one section of the lure.
“For some reason right now, bass really key in on anything that’s red or some variation of it. Jerkbaits in the color red can really crush it during spring,” he said.
No matter what lure you’re using, Vick said pay especially close attention on the pause of your retrieve, when bass can hit it with a vengeance.
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