Hartwell: Level: 3.9 feet below full pool. Temp: 51 degrees. Clarity: Clear.
Bass: Good. Guides Wayne White and Buster Green won a mid-January tournament on the lake with a string that weighed more than 20 pounds and included a 5.13-lb. spot. “The bass are deep,” said Wayne. “We caught them on spoons and jig ’n pigs in water 40 to 50 feet deep.” He said the trick was finding bait and brush in the same spot. For details on catching deep bass at Hartwell, see page 144.
Stripers/Hybrids: “It has been good the past few days,” said guide Wayne White. “We have been catching them on live bait and on jigging spoons. Yesterday we caught 17. About six were caught on jigging spoons, and the rest were caught on freelines in the morning or downlines later in the day.” The fish have been mostly in the 4- to 6-lb. range, with an occasional striper in the eight- to 12-lb. range. Wayne’s usual haunt is the area around Portman Shoals Marine. “We have been catching fish in the mouths of the creeks near the marina, or around Anderson Island,” he said. “We have been catching a few on herring on freelines in the mouths of the creeks early in the morning. When the sun gets up, move out near the river channel and drop live bait down just over the timber. If you have good electronics, you will be able to see the bait and the fish in the timber. You have to fish right over the timber. Just tighten down your drag and hold on. You will lose some fish that get down into the timber.” Wayne has been catching fish spooning with a 1-oz. Mann-O-Lure in either white or a green, yellow, white multi-colored spoon. Find clear spots in the timber and fish the spoon just off the bottom, that’s where the fish are. That’s also where there is a lot of wood to hang. If you get a spoon hung, Wayne says to get straight over the lure, leave a little slack in the line and shake the daylights out of the line. The spoon will often fall out. Plan B is to pull the line tight, then pop it, sometimes making the lure jump backward, freeing itself. Finally, you can pull as tightly as you dare, then suddenly let the line go slack. The pressure will sometimes enlarge the hole in the wood, and the sudden slack can sometimes cause the lure to drop out.