Smashing smallmouth

Smallmouth on the Broad River will hit just about any type of lure this month. (Picture by Brian Cope)

The Broad River is small boat angler’s dream river

The Broad River is a dream river for anglers fishing from small craft like canoes and kayaks. March is a great month for fishing here, as the warming weather pattern gets smallmouth bass eager to feed.

The smallmouth in this river are impressive, even by standards on waters throughout the northeast and midwest, where smallmouth reach trophy size more frequently than they do in the Carolinas. Fisheries biologists with both the NCWRC and SCDNR say that’s because the Broad River’s smallmouth grow bigger in a shorter amount of time than they do in those other bodies of water.

They also, however, live much shorter lives. But for anglers, that’s not a problem, because as one year-class of smallmouth die, another one takes over.

One of the best things about the smallmouth here is that they aren’t especially picky about what they’ll eat. And this gives anglers lots of options.

A typical day of smallmouth fishing here includes casting a big variety of lures. Topwater lures like the Heddon Super Spook, the Rebel Pop-R, and the Smithwick Devil’s Horse are good options throughout the day, especially when skies are overcast or cloudy.

Soft plastics, Texas-rigged, are deadly any time of day, and can be cast at the base of rocks or tree stumps. But they are equally deadly when worked through areas with a mixture of slack water and fast current.

Fishing guide Mike McSwain even uses Texas-rigged soft plastics on the surface at times.

“When a smallmouth strikes at a Texas-rigged soft plastic that’s being worked on the bottom, but lets go before you can set the hook, cast right back to the spot you last felt the fish with the same Texas-rigged plastic. But instead of letting it sink, start working the reel before the lure ever hits the water. Reel as fast as it takes to keep that weighted lure skimming across the surface,’” he said.

Other anglers are usually surprised at how often that draws an aggressive bite.

“It’s not 100 percent foolproof, but it leads to a lot more hookups than you’d imagine,” said McSwain (843-763-3805).

About Brian Cope 2745 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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