February in the Carolinas can mean some brutally cold weather, but that doesn’t mean anglers can’t catch bass. South Carolina’s Cooper River holds plenty of lunkers that will give you a reason to get off the couch.
Marc Deschenes of V.I.P. Adventures in Summerville, S.C., said, cold weather is a great time for catching bass in the river, especially on big spinnerbaits and large Texas-rigged worms. And while some anglers will stick to fishing the banks, Deschenes (843-708-5473) looks for structure in deeper water this month.
“You’ve got to find the structure with your electronics, then get the boat in position to make good casts,” he said. “Once I’ve done that, I’ll throw a 1-ounce spinnerbait past the brush pile, stump, or sunken logs, then slowly reel it in. The key is you want your lure to hit the structure on the retrieve. Too many anglers worry about getting hung up. Most are surprised at how thick into it they can get a spinnerbait without getting hung up. I want to hit the structure every time.”
While many anglers complain about the challenge of fishing a tidal river, Deschenes finds that’s not a big factor when fishing deeper water as opposed to fishing shallow.
“You’ll find plenty of bass on submerged structure, no matter what the tide is doing,” said Deschenes, who does cautions anglers from spending too much time on a single piece of structure if it doesn’t produce bites pretty quickly.
“I make a cast to one side of the structure and reel it in, aiming to bump the structure,” he said. “Then, I make a cast over the center and hit it again on the retrieve. Then I make a third cast to the other side of the structure in the same manner. If I don’t get bit on any of those casts, I cast a big Texas-rigged worm, let it sink, then work it back to me. I’m still trying to hit the structure on every retrieve.”
If he doesn’t get a strike, Deschenes moves on.
“There’s plenty of structure on this river. Bass are going to be around it somewhere,” he said. “Some days, you’ll find bass on every one you fish. Other days, you’ll find them on only a handful. If you’re not getting bit, you need to cover water. Don’t be afraid to go back to structure you’ve already fished after an hour or so.”
The area known as Cypress Gardens is one of the better spots on this river, and Deschenes said that’s no secret.
“You’ll never have trouble finding anglers in there this time of year,” he said. “But many of them are beating the banks. I’m not saying they don’t catch anything, but if you really want to catch them consistently this time of year, you need to fish the deeper structure.