Broad River smallmouth report for mid-July

Willie Dial catches Broad River smallmouth on a variety of soft plastic lures.

Summer smallmouth action is hot on the Broad

A day of smallmouth fishing with guides Mike McSwain and Willlie Dial of Broad River Smallmouth offered a glimpse into one of the best smallmouth fisheries in the Carolinas.

The fishing is outstanding on the Broad River for smallmouth bass right now in the heat of summer. And that goes for any section of the river. And that also goes for big bronzebacks.

“Other anglers always want to know what section of the Broad is best during summer. And it’s really good all up and down this river. And the great thing about it is the fish are all over. There’s not a bad spot to cast here,” saidMcSwain.

Throughout the Broad River, anglers have numerous shoals, eddies, and slack water pools to choose from. McSwain said smallmouth frequent each area throughout the day, chasing baitfish. Any number of lures can trigger them into biting. The hot lure can change from day to day. But on most days, these fish will bite a big variety of offerings.

This week’s trip showed how quickly the bite can turn on, even in the middle of the day. Dial got into a five-fish flurry on six casts, with two of those fish measuring 20+ inches.

“That’s probably the best big fish bite I’ve ever had on this river,” said Dial. He’s been catching many of his fish on Zoom Flukes and Ned rigs with short Yum Dinger bodies.

The river’s water levels are perfect for fishing

Texas-rigged Senkos have also been producing well. McSwain said the trick to fishing soft plastics is to let the river do the bulk of the work.

“Cast those weighted soft plastics at about a 45-degree angle upriver. Then just dead stick it. Let the current carry the lure down. Don’t even touch the reel — just let the current move the lure downstream. Put a slight bit of pressure on it from time to time and you’ll know when a fish picks it up,” he said.

Mike McSwain does a lot of wade fishing for chunky smallmouth while canoeing the Broad River.

Topwater lures like poppers and walk-the-dog type lures are always good options early in the morning and during cloudy periods. Spinners like the Mepps Aglia in size 3 are excellent choices in riffles and heavy current, and they are also productive in slack water pools.

In the past couple of years, tropical storms and other weather-related incidents took a toll on the Broad River. McSwain (843-763-3805) had to cancel more than 80 trips last year due to extremely high water levels. He said the river levels are perfect right now. With hurricane season in full swing, that could change quickly.

“For anglers that have been wanting to fish this river, right now is the time to go. The water levels are great and the fish are cooperating,” he said.

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About Brian Cope 1996 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of 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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