South Carolina’s Lake Monticello bass love shad funerals

Andy Wicker said bass will school when the water temperature drops in November, keying on bunches of dying shad.

Dying shad provide buffet for bass on South Carolina lake this month

Deer and dying shad factor heavily into the bass fishing on South Carolina’s Lake Monticello this month, according to pro angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria, S.C.

“My favorite part of fishing Monticello in November is that you will have the lake to yourself, as most people are sitting in a deer stand,” he said. “Of course, it helps that the fish are normally biting good this time of year.”

Wicker said August, September and October are the absolute toughest months to fish Monticello, so when the water temperature finally start dropping in November, bass are schooling again.

“November is normally all about finding and targeting the bait,” he said. “I’ll search with my electronics on points, humps and channels until I find the balls of bait. Most of the time — but not always — you will see the bass on the sonar as well as the bait.”

It’s the best time of year to work a jigging spoon vertically for those fish, he said.

“Don’t be afraid to go early in the morning after a really cold night,” he said. “I think the spoon bite is always best right after severe cold snaps because it mimics stunned and dying shad.”

The bonus for fishing this way, he added, is that all species come to the dying shad buffet, so it’s not uncommon to catch perch, bass and big catfish in the same spot. Wicker tries to concentrate his search to depths of 25 to 45 feet, using a Berry’s Flex-It Spoon as well as a War Eagle Spoon in various sizes.

“You can also catch these fish on an Alabama rig with 3- to 4-inch swimbaits,” he said. “Once I find a school of fish and catch most of the really active ones vertically jigging a spoon, I’ll back off and cast an A-rig past the school, let it sink down to them and wind it back right over the top of them or through them. A lot of times, this will catch a really big one. It’s also not uncommon to catch a double or a triple doing this, which makes it tons of fun!”

If the deep pattern isn’t what you are looking for in November, you can also catch them shallow, Wicker said

“You will not be as likely to catch as many on the bank nor as fast as on the deep pattern,” he said. “but you can certainly catch some decent bass on the bank this time of the year.”

Wicker targets shallow fish with a shallow- or medium-running crankbait and a spinnerbait on windy, main-lake banks.

“If the weather is overcast, you can catch fish on topwater throughout the day. I normally throw a buzzbait and a walking-style topwater bait. My crankbait choice is Strike King, either 3XD or 5XD.”

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