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Freshwater fishing tips for April

BrimSometimes, the old wives’ tales are just what is needed to prompt a return to a favorite hobby like freshwater fishing. When the dogwoods are in bloom, the panfish head to the shallows to bed. If Catawba worms are on the trees again, then the catfish are biting, and a full moon makes all freshwater fish swoon. Whatever the reason, perhaps April is the time to head inland and revisit the fascination with our freshwater creeks, ponds, and lakes.

The allure of freshwater fishing begins for most in their early youth, with catches of bream or panfish, which fight well and eat well. Joel Townley is a Columbia resident who loves the outdoors, but also is in the tackle business with the Pure Fishing Company. “If the water levels are average in April, we can catch big shellcracker and bream in Lake Murray during bright sunny days,” said Townley. He added that any large amount of rain in a small period of time, like the area received the last weekend of March, is not conducive for fishing success.

“It’s all about the sun warming the water in a cove during the midday,” said Townley. “We will target these coves and find the bream in one to two-feet of water. A stealthy approach into any cove is paramount. I like a Shakespeare ultralight rod and reel combo with four to eight-pound test line. Rig up live worms under a split-shot and a bobber drift fish until you locate a spot that produces fish.”

Blue catfish begin their spawn in April, and Townley recommends fishing out of Cross with Clayton Crawford. “The catfishing can be great, but the best bite is usually early morning, late afternoon and all night long,” said Townley. “Identify creek channels that catfish use as highways next to shallower sloughs, and then anchor up in the shallow water. Setting out multiple rods increases the chance of success, and I like a seven-foot Ugly Stik with Abu Garcia reel, and we always use cut gizzard shad for bait.” The typical blue catfish range from 10 to 40 pounds!

Another freshwater option is to try for smallmouth bass in the Broad River, but keep in mind that access points are more limited for this fishery. “When other areas are crowded, I head for the river,” said Townley. “Cast small crank baits by Sebile or soft plastics by Berkley into the eddies on each side of the river and retrieve them slowly. Braided line helps when encountering structure and the average smallmouth weighs one to two pounds, with a four-pounder not uncommon every once in a while.”

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com

Jeff Dennis, Contributor (389 Posts)

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com