Crappie are biting on the Waccamaw River

Crappie are full of eggs, waiting to spawn

Between last year’s hurricanes and the heavy rainfall that pounded the Carolinas this past fall, along with the more recent crazy weather we’ve had, the Waccamaw River has taken a beating. But Capt. Todd Vick of Fishin’ Freshwater Charters said things are finally looking up.

In the past few weeks, the river has been looking better than it has since last spring. And anglers are finally beginning to catch crappie on the river with some regularity. The Waccamaw stretches 140 miles from the base of Lake Waccamaw in North Carolina’s Columbus County to the Winyah Bay where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean in Georgetown County, South Carolina.

Vick (843-333-8200) said most of the crappie he has been catching are full of eggs. They are waiting to spawn, but are constantly moving from deep water to shallow as the crazy weather of recent weeks has the fish just as confused as it has anglers.

“We’ve had subfreezing days followed by 80 degree weather. It’s got these fish confused. They move shallow on the warm days, then deep when it turns cold again. They are waiting to spawn. The only thing stopping them is the weather,” he said.

But Vick said the crappie are definitely biting. And anglers are catching them with a variety of techniques.

Try a tandem rig and catch two at a time

“It can be a grind this time of year on some days. The warmer days have been best. But you can still catch them no matter what the weather’s doing. It takes a little more work on days with clouds mixed with sun mixed with rain mixed with wind. But they’re biting, and we’re catching some quality fish,” he said.

Vick’s number one tip for fishing the Waccamaw this time of year, no matter what stretch of the river you’re on, is to have plenty of gear options with you.

“You need to bring everything to the river with you, including the kitchen sink. I’ve got short rods for fishing under bridges and tree limbs, long rods for slow trolling, live bait, and a variety of artificials. You really need to be prepared. You’ll find fish in a lot of different areas and you’re bound to encounter a little bit of everything this time of year.” he said.

Slow trolling with a tandem rig has been very effective for Vick recently. He ties on two 1/16-ounce jigs about 2 feet apart on 6-pound test line while using a limber rod that’s 9 feet long. And he usually tips the jigs with live minnows. He places the rod in a rod holder, then lets the wind push him if it’s not too windy. Otherwise he uses his trolling motor to creep along. It’s not uncommon to catch two crappie at a time when he gets into a school.

Check out the attached video to see how he does it, and notice how overcast it is at the beginning, then how sunny it is once he starts catching fish.

Click here for tips on catching crappie using planer boards.

Brian Cope
About Brian Cope 1336 Articles
Brian Cope of Edisto Island, S.C., is a retired Air Force combat communications technician. He has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina and has been writing about the outdoors since 2006. He’s spent half his life hunting and fishing. The rest, he said, has been wasted.