#29- South Carolina Stripers (and Catfish!)
We stopped by the Clemson campus on our way into South Carolina to visit the school we would both be attending in the Fall. From there drove towards Lake Moultrie, where we had heard there was a channel we could fish in that might hold Striped Bass - the official state fish of South Carolina, also known as Rockfish. They typically migrate between the ocean and rivers annually to spawn, but South Caroline has landlocked Stiped Bass (Stripers) that can grow huge. They are really school fish, so you need to fish where schools are moving through, and they can start and stop biting within minutes.
That first day, using cut herring as bait, I caught an eighteen pound flathead catfish, a nice change from the zero action I saw in North Carolina, but it wasn’t what we were looking for.
We fished different spots around the lake that day and the next, but Stripers from shore in winter is not typically a productive method of fishing, so we drove to the coast to see if we could get on some in the intercoastal waterway or the coastal rivers. We went down the coast trying different spots and asking at different bait and tackle shops for advice, but there was little advice to be found. We were mostly told that we would be unlikely to catch any. We then decided to check on Fishbrain, and found a dam below Lake Greenwood where someone had recently caught a striper. We fished there that night and all the next day, and saw one person catch a Striper, but it seemed to be mostly white bass there.
We went out again the next day, and saw a fisherman with a stringer and three fat Stripers. He told us a school had moved in early that morning, and there were a bunch of good fish caught, but since then the bite had completely turned off. We fished the rest of that day with no luck, and then got out before sunrise the next morning, determined to get there before the bunches of locals got there and took up the best spots. We were nearly alone, and fished for about an hour and a half before we got our break. Daniel, throwing a jerkbait, got bit and reeled in a nice sized striped bass. I ran over and threw my umbrella rig out in the same place, and sure enough almost immediately caught one as well. The group of fisherman there with us managed to reel in a few, but as fast as it came on it went away, and we didn’t get any more bites. That was alright with us, we had our fish, and could finally get out of the heavy rains we had been fishing in for about a week straight.
That night, we drove down to Buford, Georgia.