February’s Best Bets

Stewart Venable’s best fishing day on a river came during the winter of 2016, after he pulled into the mouth of a tributary creek on the Catawba River to eat lunch and saw bait flipping.

North Carolina

What:  Largemouth bass, striped bass

Where: Catawba River, upper end of Lake Norman.

Techniques: Fan-cast Alabama rigs with Keitech 4.3-inch baits in Tennessee Shad. Look for fish along seams or in calm areas downstream from large, rock outcroppings in heavy current.

Launch: Lookout Shoals Ramp, 4750 Lookout Dam Rd., Catawba, N.C., provides access to the Lookout Shoals Dam tailrace and the river below it.

Insider Tip: Pay attention to water releases when fishing below Lookout Shoals Dam, currents can become treacherous with little warning. Always wear your PFD.

South Carolina

What: Largemouth bass, Smallmouth bass, striped bass,

Where: Congaree River near Columbia, at confluence with any medium to large tributary

Techniques: Fish spinnerbaits with big, Colorado blades or large, paddletail swimbaits slow and deep. Look for stained areas.

Launch: The Congaree has three public launch sites around Columbia: Barney Jordan, Bates Bridge and Thomas H. Newman.

Insider Tip: Shad do not die off as much the further south you go; paddlers can take advantage of shad kills longer. Pay attention to the water and your surroundings. Fish will continue to school on bait.

About Phillip Gentry 821 Articles
Phillip Gentry of Waterloo, S.C., is an avid outdoorsman and said if it swims, flies, hops or crawls, he's usually not too far behind.

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