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Thread: Santee help please

  1. #1
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    Default Santee help please

    I have fished Santee a few times but always been on main lake. I want to go try shellcrackers and crappie up in the swamp on upper end. Any help about where to put in, best bait, general areas, what to look out for, etc. is appreciated. Thanks in advance for any help.
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  2. #2
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    You have three good options as far as boat ramps go, Stumphole, Lowfalls, and Packs. All three ramps are in the uppermost end of Marion and all offer good crappie, bream, and shellcracker fishing within a short boat ride from ramp. Crappie can be caught in and around any grass, lily, and blowdowns you can find with decent water in them. Minnows and jigs are best baits. Targets will be plentiful so patients and trial and error are essential. Better option will be to pursue bream and shellcracker using crickets and worms around cut grass, cypress thickets, lily and grass mats.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks for the help.
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  4. #4
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    I'm a newcomer myself in that area but have absolutely fallen in love with it, though being in western NC I don't get down there more than several times a year. Inkdabber has been a great source of info. Frankly, crappie have been a mystery to me. I'd like nothing more than figure out how to find some but they've whipped me so far. We went for shellcrackers on the full moon at the end of April this year, supposed to be prime time. Caught only a handful of keepers but they weren't just picking on us.
    We went down this weekend last year with kayaks and paddled back in the swamp and tore up the bedding bream, with a few shellcrackers and catfish thrown in. I've been back several times and caught catfish up to 26 pounds, and couldn't find a bream other than a few dinks.
    So, I'm not the best resource for fishing info, again follow Inkdabbers advice above.

    But from a newcomer's perspective and don't know if this is helpful or not and again, I'm not the one to look for advice:

    *Inkdabber ain't kidding with the "numerous targets". It's easy to get overwhelmed and not know where to even start. ALL the water looks good and fishy. But by prospecting different areas with worms and crickets on a rod and slip cork you can cover some water till you find them. Pay attention to your nose, sometimes you can smell a bed.

    *Use your rod of choice but when hunting 'em I like to use an 11 ft. BnM jigging pole, with a slip bobber, split shot and #4 hook. A lot of people use bream buster poles. Long rods are handy when prospecting. And in lily pads, you can reach out drop it down in holes. If you get in thick cypress typical casting can be frustrating with all the overhanging limbs.

    *The area isn't known as the "Stumphole" for no reason. There's 10,000,000 stumps just under the water and it's easy to damage your boat or motor, be careful.

    *Watch for gators and snakes. We've seen some big gators. They don't much worry me, it's what you don't see that worries me. I've been warned about the snakes and wasps. Knock on wood, I've run across neither one...yet.

    *Last year at this time we started the first day in Poplar Creek and caught a few around lily pads but it was pretty slow. Then we went to Stumphole and kept looking for bream and poking around. I kept telling my buddy, the water was too deep. A lot of the swamp seems to be 6-9 ft. deep (Or it was last year but we were told the water was pretty high) I don't know much but I do know panfish don't spawn in 8' deep water. We kept looking until we found shallower water & stumbled into a huge bream bed. IIRC it was about 2-3 ft. deep.

    *Keep looking. I've found bedding bream to be pretty aggressive. If you drop a cricket or worm and don't get bit pretty soon, move to another area.

    *Lastly, it's a beautiful place and a unique ecosystem. There is an incredible amount of wildlife back in there. But there's a lot of swamp and it all looks the same. Pay attention to which way is home!


    edit to add. If you start filling the cooler expect to have some company close by quickly. I think some people "fish" with binoculars first when deciding WHERE to fish. LOL!
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  5. #5
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    When fishing Stumphole, one must go in the swamp until near the River bank. That’s always been the best areas for bedding bream and shellcracker. It looks intimidating, but trust me it won’t take long until you’ll be navigating one end of the woods to the other. In lieu of entering the woods from the front (Stumphole landing side) take the River channel up and enter the woods before the first big bend. You really can’t get lost. No matter what location of the woods you are in, if you travel the River bank you will either come out near Halfway swamp (another good fishing location) or the River channel you entered in. If you leave the bank and head to the deeper water you end up in the flats of Stumphole.
    Professional Crappie Removal
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  6. #6
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    Good point ^^ The shallower water will be right at the river. There's a very narrow strip of actual land (!) between the swamp and the river channel. If you feel turned around, do as Inkdabber advises or just head SW and you'll come out on the main lake body across from the landings mentioned. And in a few trips you can find your way around pretty good.
    I'm hoping the bream are bedding down there. May be good this weekend on the new moon, I'm hoping to come down there and get a few fillets. They should be, I found plenty on beds this past Monday on one of our small mountain lakes. I had great fun with a flyrod.
    Last edited by Bigtrout; 06-09-2021 at 08:43 AM.

  7. #7
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    FWIW when we were down there in April, they were catching some shellcrackers in "the logjam" which is just inside the swamp. Plenty of boats all in there though not a LOT of action, pretty slow.

    I was told of another spot the "Community Hole" where a lot of boats apparently crowd in. I'm not exactly sure but I believe it's straight back to the river and to the left maybe a half mile or so. I've been up in that area and it gets pretty shallow and snaggy up there. But I'm not sure that's the Community Hole.

    I'm trying to learn so on my rare visits I don't spend or have to waste too much time looking for fish.

    I've seen some videos in recent weeks of some fish being caught up in the Low Falls area, and have seen the railroad trestle in the background but I've never been up there.
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  8. #8
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    Thanks for all the info guys. Postponed trip till next week. Motor started messing up. Got parts ordered
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  9. #9
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    Great info guys. I was down there late March fishing out of Angels. We caught shellcrackers and cats fishing back off the grass in 3ft of water. Was a blast catching some nice size cats on ultra lites. Just an unreal fishery

  10. #10
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    It is indeed a fairly healthy fishery.
    Unfortunately after some pretty good luck last year, so far this year I seem to keep landing down there on the wrong weekend.
    I went down and spent two nights at Stumphole landing June 12th-14th. Never did find any large beds of Bream. I found some very nice males off the flats along the river back in Stumphole swamp, around the cypress trees, but can't say they were spawning. Don't know what the deal was. I fished all along the shoreline bordering the river. Probed out a little deeper hitting pockets of lily pads on the shallow flats and never found any beds nor hardly any Bream at all. Finally found a few along the trees just off those shallower flats, in about 3'-4' of water. Fishing any water over 4' deep produced nothing. I only kept about a dozen. Got run off the lake by thunderstorms rolling around 2:30-ish.

    Sunday I drove down to Black River and caught a few Shellcrackers and plenty of Warmouth. Also tangled with a few Bowfin (Mudfish) on UL tackle which was fun. Again the Bream were elusive. I was surprised one of the Shellcrackers had eggs. (?)

    Out back in Stumphole swamp early Monday and try as I might, I could only pick up a couple of decent size Bream. I had some luck picking up a decent one now and then on Saturday but no luck today. Like fishing in a desert. Ran into several other boats which were having similar luck. I told another boat when they asked me how I was doing, "A man that can't catch Bream at Santee deserves to go hungry!" They informed me they were having the same luck. Packed in around 2:00 when the temperature hit 90 and headed back to the NC mountains.

    I did see the biggest gator I've ever seen in the wild. Heard what I think was one bellowing right at sunup too.

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