Help with Santee Stripers

I need help with Stripers on Lake Marion. Put off a Harry’s fish camp to try my hand at trolling. Put several rods out baits included stretch 25s, double bucktail rigs, and some smaller broke back plugs. Trolled at a couple different speeds from 2 mph to 4mph. Trolled by the Wilsons dam in water from 25 feet to 40 feet. No Strikes. Catfisherman were out in full force by the Dam and did see a couple good fish landed. Trolled down the dam for a couple miles towards Randolph’s Landing. No strikes. Made a pit stop to warm up and tried Wyboo. Trolled into Wyboo birds are everywhere some diving on shad but saw no fish come up. I trolled around the birds, thru the birds, again nothing. I wanted to try live bait fishing but both landings were sold out of bait. Made a last ditch effort after trolling to get a fish bought some night crawlers and managed 1 channel cat so we did get the skunk off the boat but not what i wanted. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Got to look and hit places with birds. Birds are on the bait- fish will be near bait. Make good use of your electronics and try to stay over the fish. They don’t always bite but, you will not catch them if you are not one them. It can he hit and miss. Wateree is the same way. Hammer them one day and get skunked the next in the same spot. One noted thing from a buddy that hits them way more regular than me- this time of the year try points, humps, and edges of flats next to deep drops. Sometimes they just hang about and pick off what bait comes by. No birds in sight. These are also places where bait and fish have been seen schooling before - just not that day. My buddy says every time he goes he has about 8-10 places where he has got on them schooling before. Whether he sees birds or not he try’s all of them. Usually goes to birds first but, try’s them all.

J Ford

Were you marking any fish or bait on your electronics & if so, are you sure your lures where at the depths that the fish were at?

You can troll all over the place, but if not getting your lures at the depth the fish are at, you’re not likely to catch many.

I covered what i thought was a lot of water. I trolled baits that ran 25 feet some that run 8-10 feet and one way back that 1-2 feet under the surface. I’m not an expert with my electronics but I saw what i think were balls of bait along the bottom. When i found the birds in Wyboo small flocks of gulls were working different pods of bait and i saw them come up with bait so i know it was there. I wish I could have got my hands on some live shad or even dead for cut bait.

fish sleep repeat

Large shiners or blue back should work if you can get your hands on them.

Stop where the birds are working and drop the I pilot, move around till you read bait use the anchor mode and use jigging spoons. try starting with a small silver or white one and go up in size graduly till you find the right size. You will catch striper, perch, largemouth, white bass and cats. When the water gets a little muddy try a gold or chartruse one. Good luck!

X2 on jigging spoons! I’ve never fished Santee for stripers, but have to wonder what the surface temps were. If they were in the 40’s like on Murray, 2-4 inch shiners would be my bait of choice. The fish may be gorged on small threadfins and, with a slow metabolism, not willing to chase big baits like herring and Stretch 25’s.

Not versed on Santee, but just my thoughts on how I might attack it.

Xpress HB-22
175 Yammy Jammer

The water was really cold mid 40s and the bait I saw the birds bringing up were small thread fin shad. It sounds like i may have been in the right area but trying to use the wrong tools to do the job. What do these jigging spoons look like. Only spoons i have used are casting spoons for Spanish at the beach. Never used one in freshwater.

fish sleep repeat

Look up Berry’s Spoons. The most versatile one that catches every species in the lake for me is the 1/2oz white with silver tape. Fish it on 12 pound line with a very small swivel about 18 inches up the line. Get around those areas the gulls are working and bump the bottom with it fishing it straight down vertically. Raise your rod a foot to three feet and let it fall on a semi slack line back to the bottom and repeat once it touches bottom. 99% of your hits will come on the fall. So any slight taps or the jig stopping it’s fall sooner than expected needs a hook set. Winter jigging is my favorite fishing of the year.

Thanks. I will look them up and give it a try. I’m not ready to admit defeat just yet.

fish sleep repeat

Another good bait is the Rapala jigging rap. I’ve caught perch, bass and stripers with them. They actually “swim” in a circle when jigged up and down.
The 3/4 and 3/8 ounce Cotton Cordell spoons that can be found at the big discount stores can be good too and are inexpensive.

Sometimes the fish can be very selective about size and color. Other times they will bite almost anything. It pays to have a selection of different sizes and colors to try on any given day. All that being said, if I could only fish one spoon, it would be the above mentioned 1/2 ounce Berry spoon.

Listen to Spoonmaster, his name says it all. I’ve seen him jigging two rods at once, double hooked up, with one rod tucked under an arm, fighting the other fish. Fishing with him definitely has upped my jigging game.

Most fishing tackle stores carry a varity of spoons, like said above the berry works well as does the hopkins. I pour and paint my own and use all colors of prizom tape to sproose them up.

I too like using spoons & jigging with them. They can be good year round, but as the others said, you may need to try different types & sizes. Kastmaster & Krocodile spoons can be real good, as can the various lead or tin spoons. I also make many of my own, and like boatpoor said, will try many colors & reflective tape on them. However, hard to go wrong with white, or chartreuse spoons with gold or silver tape.

I also make some lure we called Trout Bombs. There’s some in this pic with the spinner blades on them. Make some with & without the spinners.

These work well for jigging.

Good looking spoons! I seem to have better luck without hair or feathers in cold water. Might seem to make spoon look bigger! What are your findings?

I like the dressed hook, but agree it can sometimes be too much. These were dressed for warmer water that’s for sure. It’s certainly possible the dressed hook can make the spoon appear bigger, which is sometimes good, sometimes not. I dress the hooks myself, so try different things with hair & feathers, and some are dressed sparse while others are more heavily dressed. IMO it never hurts to have options.

IMO, the best thing is to have various weights & sizes, and even spoon types, and try them to find what’s working. At times I’ve added plastic grubs & worms on single hooks on spoons, and that worked better than the plain spoon, so you never know what’s going to trigger bites unless you try it.

I fished with a buddy one time in the Chesapeake Bay, where we were jigging spoons in about 35’ of water. I was using a 4" Krocodile spoon with a single hook sparsely dressed with hair. He was using a lead spoon like the chartreuse one I posted above with a few feathers on a single hook. He caught most of the fish. I’m sure it was a difference in the fall rates, but can’t be positive. Each spoon had a different action as it falls.

“Sting Silver” style spoons for jigging have become very popular in the Chesapeake but I’ve caught a lot of Stripers on Krocodile spoons too. Heck, even a # 15 Pet spoon can be hot at times casting them, so you never know unless you try it.

Last year I found a small sheet of 10 ga stainless and cut out flutter spoons 2" wide and 8" long simerlar to the parker spoon and cut it out with a nibbler and ground down the edges drill a hole in each end and hammer it on an anvil to cup it. added split rings and a # 6 Trebble has worked well for striper at Clark Hill in 100’ water. since then I have found a spoon body already made and crommed in a salmond catalog from the Great Lakes I ordered 10 for $22’00 and added hook. lot less work seems to work well but no as heavy.

I have some very thin spoons that are sold for trolling for salmon & trout. I have some that are stainless & some made of other metals. I believe they can all work sometimes. Yes, those thin spoons are not good for casting very far, but for trolling behind inline sinkers or jigging they can be good. They fall slowly & have more flutter to them than heavier spoons. If you don’t mind being patient to allow them to fall to the depth the fish are at, that’s been the toughest part about using them.

The two spoons in this pic with the hex pattern stamped in them are thin stainless. The others are heavier. The kroc spoons on the far left & far right, are fine for casting or jigging. The big one on the right is heavy, I think about 3 oz. That gold spoon is better when trolled. I have found that when they’re very thin, a dressed hook can affect them a good bit when jigging them and if too heavily dressed causes a lot of drag so that they don’t have a good flutter.

All of this is something that needs to be experimented with to see what works best on any given day, as nothing is ever set in stone.