How to catch more Santee bream in the sweltering summer

The bream bite is good on Santee, even in the middle of the day, as long as you follow these tips.

Unique formula help local angler fill his cooler with hot-weather bream

Most anglers who love catching bream are looking forward to the fall, when the days are still plenty hot, but are bookended by cooler mornings and evenings. This makes for a great bream bit throughout the day, but in the heat of summer, many anglers fish for a couple of hours in the morning or evening, and that’s it. The bream just don’t bite well in the middle of the day. At least that’s what many panfish anglers believe.

That’s not the case for anglers like Orangeburg’s Davis Porcher, at least not at Santee. He’s got a strategy that he said works on the upper and lower lakes equally well, and since he’s not a morning person, he’s figured out a way to catch bream even in the sweltering sun.

The trick, said Davis, is fishing with crickets in the middle of standing cypress trees with slip corks while drifting. Fishing with slip corks is no secret for bream anglers, but the drifting part surprises some people. Davis said he doesn’t fish for bream any other way this time of year.

“You want to find the flooded cypress trees that have a lot of room between them. The ones directly in front of Santee State Park are prime spots. You’ve got plenty of room to drift through them, and even though fishing tight to the base of the trees is good, you’ll catch plenty of bream in open areas in between those trees,” said Porcher.

Porcher uses a trolling motor only enough to keep him from running into the cypress trees. Otherwise, he lets the natural current or wind push his boat.

“There’s almost always some natural movement to the water here, whether it’s the current from the main creek channel, or from water being drawn through the dam, or just the wind. It is very rare for there not to be something to help you drift through without using your trolling motor,” he said.

Depending on what part of the lake you’re in, these areas can range from 4 feet deep to 20 feet deep. Porcher uses four to six fishing rods with slip bobbers, and he varies the depth of each bobber until he finds what depth the fish are biting best.

“When you’re drifting with all those different depths, you’re gonna find the fish, and when you do, you just adjust the slip bobbers on the other rods. I use Driftmaster rod holders and Tru-Turn hooks, and no matter how many fish I hook while drifting, I lose very few. I just leave them in the rod holder until I get the other rods reeled in, then move on to the next one. You can catch a lot of fish pretty quickly using this method,” Porcher said.

While most of these fish are bluegill, Porcher said he almost always catches a few shellcrackers this way too.

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Brian Cope
About Brian Cope 1597 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of 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. He can be reached at