Bream busting on the Waccamaw River

Crickets, red worms or flies can all entice springtime bream into biting on the Waccamaw and other blackwater rivers. Picture by Jeff Burleson

The bream are biting on the Waccamaw River

For most freshwater anglers, bream fishing rarely gets much attention until June when the bedding season is in full bloom. But the blackwater rivers along the coast warm quickly in springtime, energizing the bream into feeding heavily along the fertile banks where food rains down every time the wind blows.

In Horry County, S.C., River Guide, Matt Varnadore of Waccamaw Outfitters takes customers to the river every day on private excursions in the gorgeous Waccamaw River out of Conway.

“The springtime is an awesome time to fish for the almighty bream,” Varnadore said. (843-504-1012) “Everything in nature is starting to bloom and the bugs are falling from the tree limbs along the riverbanks. The fish move to feed along the banks next to cypress trees.”

The Waccamaw River originates in N.C. on the lower end of Lake Waccamaw and travels south into S.C. through Conway and dumps into the ocean just southeast of Georgetown. Some of the best fishing for bream is in the Conway region of the river due to the massive fertile grounds that feed it.

The swamps are wide in this section, providing bream with an endless supply of food resources. And since the river is affected by the daily lunar tide cycle, the mile-wide swamps will dry out on low tide and drain into the main river, channels, and small oxbow lakes.

Bream are ambush predators

“Low tide is my favorite time to fish for bream in the Waccamaw. Bream are ambush predators and they corral along the banks and feast on everything the river has to offer,” he said.

Varnadore targets the base of cypress trees, under overhanging limbs, and next to any debris in the water. He uses both natural bait and lures this time of year.

“My favorite method is a toss up between small, white Beetle Spins and a bream buster with a red worm under it. Crickets are probably the top bait for people to use in the river. But I just like red worms better because the bait stays on the hook better and you can catch several fish on the same worm,” he said.

He also likes to fly fish in the river in the springtime. Bream are constantly looking up along the bank for bugs falling off tree branches into the water. Varnadore uses Glo bugs on his bream buster or on his flyrod.

“They love a bug,” he said

The blackwater rivers that trickle through the coastal plain can offer super action on light tackle in the spring. The Waccamaw is one of the best, but the Little Pee Dee, Black River, Edisto River, and many others can offer similar action for pan-sized bream.

About Jeff Burleson 1312 Articles
Jeff Burleson is a native of Lumberton, N.C., who lives in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He graduated from N.C. State University with a degree in fisheries and wildlife sciences and is a certified biologist and professional forester for Southern Palmetto Environmental Consulting.

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