Imagine a lake. A massive lake filled with stumps and trees.

Rod Wall boats a crappie near the trees.

Rod Wall boats a crappie
near the trees.

Imagine a lake. A massive lake filled with stumps and trees. Imagine a lake surrounded by forests and swamps. Imagine a trip to Santee Cooper.

Santee Cooper Lake offers over 450-miles of shoreline. Damming the Santee and Cooper Rivers created the two lakes known as Moultrie and Marion. Together, the lakes known as “Santee” or “Santee Cooper” provide a huge biomass. Over 12,000 workers cleared over 170,000 acres. (That is a LOT of stumps!)

The vast swamp around the lake provides the “nursery” to Santee’s fishing success. The millions of bluegill fry provide food to bass and crappie. Larger bluegills are the mainstay of the catfish population. The shad population provides even more protein for the larger predators. Both nesting and migratory birds enjoy the food base.

Ospreys are fun to watch too.

Ospreys are fun to watch too.

Humminbird technology comes in handy on big waters.

Humminbird technology comes in handy on big waters.

Where do you begin? A call to Carolina King Retreat is a good start. The boat-ramp, comfortable cabins, and dockage for your boat are all here.

You can plan your fishing trip and navigation with Navionics. Click this link to see how to use your laptop to pre-plan your route. Just plug the card back into your Humminbird and your route is ready. (Cool!) This angler would be inclined to boat some bluegill and head out for big cats this summer. You could anchor up in a likely spot or cover some water, drift fishing. Hook up your bluegill with a Team Catfish Hook.

Cats grow to 80-pounds or more on Santee

Cats grow to 80-pounds or more on Santee

In the fall, it would be tough to ignore all of the migratory ducks. However, the Bass and crappie will be feeding heavily. Try fishing various depths. Again, your Humminbird has a temperature gauge, so be sure to use that advantage.

The winter will offer fishing similar to early fall and summer fishing. Go deep first and work in. Jigs like the Road Runner and Rockport Rattler in the quarter-ounce sizes may be the way to go. Try the eighth-ounce size first. Tip with a Mid-South glow tube and a minnow. Slow down your presentation as winter progresses.

Braxton bags another crappie.

Braxton bags another crappie.

As spring begins to awaken, try lighter jigs in shallower waters. The crappie spawn should begin as the dogwoods start to bloom.

The growing moon in May signals the bluegill-bedding season. Try small Road Runners or even Stubby Steve’s bait on size four Tru-Turn hooks.

It sounds like we should fish Santee year’ round.

Blessings, tj

About TJ Stallings

45-year tackle industry veteran Marketing and Crazy Ideas at TTI-Blakemore Fishing Group (Home of Road Runner Lures and six hook brands including Tru-Turn, Daiichi, XPoint, Team Catfish, Mr. Crappie and StandOUT Hooks.) Home of Gun Protect. The opinions expressed in this blog are those of TJ Stallings and not necessarily those of TTI-Blakemore.
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