When the dams were completed in the early 1940s, creating Lakes Marion and Moultrie – Santee Cooper Lakes – no major fishing was expected. The construction of dams on rivers was expected to create jobs and generate cheap electricity. Fishing, boating and hunting were by-products.
But the striped bass, an anadromous fish found along the east coast that migrated along the Santee and Cooper rivers to spawn, has been trapped behind the dams. Anglers caught the striper on occasion, but as time passed they began to notice schools of striped bass. To spawn successfully, the striped bass needs a proper river system that provides enough distance and time for the eggs to develop and hatch, and the tributaries of the river that feed the Santee Cooper Lakes have proven to be a ideal spawning habitat and a peach was born.
People came from afar to fish for Santee Cooper’s strippers, and it didn’t hurt that Tiny Lund, a NASCAR pilot who owned a fishing camp on the Santee Cooper Lakes, landed a striper. of 55 pounds from the lakes in 1963, a record that lasted more than 30 years.
Biologists from what is now the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources were also fascinated by the striped bass and developed a technique that allowed them to produce thousands upon thousands of striped bass fry, which have been stored in state lakes. Eventually, other states took note and the freshwater striped bass spread across the country.
The current record for freshwater striped bass is 63 pounds and was caught in Russell Lake in 2009. The South Carolina registration program also recognizes the saltwater striped bass with the record for the Report of a 46 pound, 13 ounce catch made in the Combahee River in 1993. The all-time record tackle for a landlocked striped bass is 69 pounds, 9 ounces and was caught in the Black Warrior River in Alabama in 2013.
Anglers can start targeting striped bass in the Santee Cooper Lakes system from October 1 through June 15. During this time, anglers can harvest three stripers measuring between 32 and 25 inches, although one fish may be over 26 inches. From June 16 to Sept. 30 the season is closed.
“In October, the strippers will be hitting all the lakes,” said Captain Joe Dennis of J Hook Charters, who guides strippers, catfish and crappie on the lakes as well as rockfish and rockfish. saltwater trout. Dennis also co-hosts Father and Son Outdoors TV with Whitey Outlaw (Sundays at 11:30 am on WCBD and Wednesdays at 6:30 pm on streaming Pursuit Channel).
Dennis said he caught a lot of stripers in 32 to 38 feet of water in October, but said they can also be found at a depth of eight feet.
“You will see benches in October under the boats. Just look for the big bundles of birds and you can throw them. In October, the fish form schools, but they feed on the bait just below the surface. When you see birds, don’t look for fish that burst on the surface. Just go to the birds and start fishing, ”he said.
Dennis likes to use ounce red or chartreuse Rockport Rattler jig heads rigged with Charlie Brewer white, gray, silver or chartreuse swim bait to cast school fish.
“Sometimes when you throw and it hits the water and there’s already a fish on it and sometimes you have to let it sink four or five seconds around and go back to deeper water and start all over again.
“In October my favorite way to catch them is by fishing on hanging fish with live bait. I use the same rigs as for the catfish – medium to light Catch the Fever Striper rods with a Slime Line of 20 books and a Carolina montage with a No. 3 line hook and live herring. “
Dennis said he laid out the rods at different depths, pulling the reel line to the first rod guide to measure in 2-foot increments. He lays a few rods at 20 feet, a few more at four or five feet, and a few at 30 feet. If a rod begins to catch all the fish, this is where it lays all the bait. Dennis will also pull out a free-line rod that drifts 75 to 100 yards behind the boat.
“Step them,” he said, “until you find where the fish are.”
The 23rd Annual Carolina Lady Anglers Fishing for the Cure Tournament takes place on October 2 with a 6 p.m. Captains Meeting on September 29 at the Charleston Rifle Club, 2221 Heriot Street. The weigh-in will take place at 4:30 p.m. on October 2 at the Charleston Rifle Club. Registration fees are $ 40 for adults and $ 10 for youth (12 and under). Eligible species include king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, blue fish, sheep’s head, trout, ladybug, dogfish (prime only) and mystery fish (whiting).
Take the troops fishing
Charleston Chapter of Military Appreciation Day to Hold Seventh Annual Take the Troops
Fishing October 9. The Captain’s Meeting will be held on October 8 at the Rivers Edge Marina and the Troops and Captain’s Dinner will be held on October 9 at the Rivers Edge Marina. All active duty military members from all branches of service and the National Guard are welcome to participate in this free fishing event (not a tournament). Troops can register online and will be paired with a boat, dock or surf captain. Visit Militaryappreciationday.org.
CCA Banquet of Cooper Islands East of the Sea
CCA’s East Cooper and Sea Islands Chapters in South Carolina will hold their annual Conservation Celebration Banquet and Auction at 6 p.m. on October 15 at the Omar Shrine Auditorium, 176 Patriots Point Road, Mount Pleasant. Call Jay Brown at 843-224-0028; JR McCroskey at 843-906-2431; or the CCA State Office at 803-865-4164 or visit ccasouthcarolina.com.
American Nautical Club
America’s Boating Club Charleston will be hosting boating safety courses October 2 and November 6 at 1376 Orange Grove Road, Charleston. Classes start at 9 a.m. and end around 4 p.m. Successful participants obtain the SC Department of Natural Resources Boater Education Card. The cost is $ 25 for adults and youth ages 12-18 are free. Call 843-312-2876 or email [email protected]