We tried Santee...probably won't do it again anytime soon...

Discussion in 'LOCAL GEORGIA TALK' started by Fivebraids, Jun 14, 2009.

  1. Fivebraids

    Fivebraids New Member

    Messages:
    165
    State:
    Georgia
    I know, Santee isn't in Georgia, but we are...and most of the BOC folks we know are too. So I'm posting this here instead of the SC forum...

    Anyways, with our two local/favorite rivers still high and rough, Denise and I thought we'd try our luck on some new waters. With all the talk about the big fish coming out of Santee (Lakes Marion and Moultrie), we thought we'd give Santee a shot. I reached out to a few of our brothers on here looking for pointers/advice. (Last minute decision and short notice made it impractical for us to create a thread, or try to contact SC folks we've met.)

    With the help of Bumper, I got in touch with Marc and Tricia (StumpJumper). Marc let us know that he's had good luck on Lake Marion. He also let us know about a safe landing up on Wyboo Creek, as well as a nice friendly bait shop owner up that way. So Friday night/Saturday morning at around 3AM it was off to Summerton, SC for us.

    Some time around 7AM we were armed with a small sack of herring and some worms to catch some bait, along with some advice on possible places to fish. We also got advice on avoiding some of the various hazards on the water. There are LOTS of submerged trees on Marion since it wasn't clear-cut like Moultrie was.

    Armed with our bait and advice, we launched and headed down Wyboo towards the main lake. We stopped at the mouth of Wyboo to fish, since we were marking quite a few nice sized fish on the graph. We aren't equipped to drift, so we dropped anchor and set out four poles with some fresh cut herring. Nothing, nada, zilch. While anchored we watched lots of pontoon boats drift fishing past us. None of the pontoons were having any luck either...we didn't see a single fish being caught on any of them.

    It didn't take long before long we realized two things. First, this is big water better suited for pontoon and larger boats, and second and more importantly, there were A LOT OF BOATS on the lake. It seemed like recreational boaters outnumbered folks out to fish by over 100 to 1!

    Since we weren't getting any bites, and we started getting tired of the jetskis, ski boats, etc., we decided to venture on down towards the diversion canal. There are lots of threads in the SC forum where folks are getting into some nice fish on the canal, so we figured why not.

    The 8-9 mile trip along the dam reinforced our theory about pleasure boaters outnumbering the fishers. Several times we were tooling along at about 20-25 mph, when along come BIG party boats FLYING past us on their way south! A couple of times I really had to work to keep control of our boat when we got hit by several sets of huge wakes from flotillas of these big boats!

    Once we made it down to the canal, things only got worse. Talk about boat traffic! I don't know that either of us have ever been in that sort of traffic on the water before! Eventually we worked our way down to a place where there was a large stump sticking up out of the water along the shore. We were marking a few fish, so we decided to clamp on to that stump and try to fish for a while.

    The traffic on that canal was unbelievable! What got me as much as the traffic was the sheer variety of boats. There were plenty of pontoons, many of which were drift fishing sideways down the center of the canal. There were loads of glitter/bass boats and ski/power boats tearing up and down. I couldn't believe at one point a big triple engine Donzi went roaring past us! There were even several power boats filled with 4-5 guys each that were having a blast getting completely airborne on the big wakes being made by other boats. Scary stuff for sure!

    On the other end of the spectrum, there were quite a few tiny little 12' jon boats puttering up and down. There was even a double-decker house boat very slowly making its way up the canal towards Lake Marion. Keep in mind that the canal is little over 100 yards across in most places! I was SHOCKED to see families pulling their kids on tubes and stuff through the middle of all this traffic!

    We didn't enjoy having to hang on as big power boats were passing within 20-30 feet of us at full throttle as they tried to avoid hitting pontoons that were drift fishing sideways down the middle of the canal. At one point I had both bilge pumps on trying to keep up with the wakes that were swamping and overpowering us.

    It didn't take long for us to realize we weren't having fun. We detached from the stump and started the battle to make our way back up Wyboo so we could get off the water and back to the sanity of the weekend traffic on I-95! :0a14:

    In spite of the overall negative tone of this story, and the fact that we didn't boat one fish, Denise and I had a nice day out in the beautiful weather. We also learned a lot:

    1. We learned that weekends on Santee are sheer MADNESS!
    2. We learned that we won't be going back out on Santee unless we're in someone else's (hopefully much larger) boat.
    3. We learned that we don't care for recreational boaters.
    4. We learned that we're 'river' people. Big water and a 1756 don't really go together too well.
    5. We learned to give props to all our SC brothers that have to deal with the madness we witnessed yesterday!
    6. We learned that we're spoiled by the calmness of the rivers we're used to fishing!

    Hopefully our SC brothers don't get too upset at this post. We just aren't used to what we encountered. :0a11:

    We're supposed to be heading to the SC gathering in the not to distant future. Maybe we'll learn some inside secrets from our SC bro's...?

    Until then, this couple is sticking to the relatively uncrowded rivers in Georgia!

    Thanks for letting us rant on...
    - Marty (and Denise) -
     
  2. Fishmaster1203

    Fishmaster1203 New Member

    Messages:
    3,603
    State:
    PA
    I hear ya bro! :eek:oooh:
     

  3. Shimano_cat

    Shimano_cat New Member

    Messages:
    261
    State:
    North Caro
    Christie and I used to take 2 week long vacations at Santee every year, about 8 years ago was our last time down there for reasons mentioned above. We used to stay at Randolph's Landing when Nate and Lynn Bristow owned it and looked so forward to going every year. We got tired of all the traffic as well and now take our vacations at the Chickahominy River in Va. Not hacking on Santee, very beautiful place, but I'll stick with the rivers as well.
     
  4. macdaddy

    macdaddy New Member

    Messages:
    687
    State:
    GEORGIA
    Should have just hooked up with Old Roundhill for a day of fishing ....
     
  5. macdaddy

    macdaddy New Member

    Messages:
    687
    State:
    GEORGIA
    I went over there in my 16 ft. carolina skiff and had to be very careful . I stay close to the canal and fished the mouth of the canal on each end. There was a less boaters at night, but a few fools comeing right by 5 to 6 boat anchored fishing and they never broke plane in the dark. All we could do is hang on and reset our anchor cause the boat wouldn't hold so have to reposition everytime....:embarassed:
     
  6. drpepper

    drpepper New Member

    Messages:
    6,133
    State:
    Indiana
    I knew it had that potential. I was lucky while I was there. I went out with a guy that knew the Santee, guide James Matherly made it look easy. It was a peaceful, good time and the pleasure boaters were no where around.
     
  7. jim

    jim New Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    Sorry you guys had a bad experience.If you want to fish Santee the best time is in the fall when the hunting seasons start up.Its much cooler and far less hectic.If you thought that was bad try a holiday weekend like Mem day or the 4th.I was fishing for bait in the upper canal one Mem Day and I told my son it wouldnt surprise me in the least to see a USN Destroyer come up the canal.Summer time is night fishing time to escape the heat and boaters.Not that the canal doesnt resemble a circus at night.:smile2:Come back and fish with a guide and you will learn enough to give you confidence.Be careful in a small boat because the lakes average 12 ft in depth and any wind will get it going in a hurry.I havent stayed at Randolphs since Nate and Lynn left.That was such a happy camp then.Every weekend was like a big family re-union.In any case come back for the gathering and have some fun.:big_smile::smile2:
     
  8. Creteus

    Creteus New Member

    Messages:
    1,030
    State:
    Loganville, GA
    Hate to hear that Marty. I hope its not like that in September
     
  9. Fivebraids

    Fivebraids New Member

    Messages:
    165
    State:
    Georgia
    If we could afford it, that would have probably been a good idea. Not to mention, Roundhill runs a pontoon so the ride would have been better/safer.




    Jim, I think you're probably right about fall being a better time to try Santee. There'd probably be way less pleasure boaters out then! I shudder to think what that place must be like on a holiday if the weather is nice! :crazy:

    Saving up to be able to afford a guide (Roundhill!) is probably another good idea.




    Yeah Matt...that's what Denise and I are wondering...:confused2:


    I hope folks don't take this thread the wrong way. I can see where Santee has tremendous potential. I guess we just happened to try it on a lovely sunny Saturday when the pleasure boaters were out in full force.

    Time to save up our pennies and wait for a cooler time of year...:cross:

    - Marty -
     
  10. Foxhound

    Foxhound New Member

    Messages:
    403
    State:
    Georgia
    My advice would be to hire a good guide to learn how to fish Santee first and learn when and where to go. Once you learn how and where to go, youll keep coming back. Ive fished in Georgia all my life and im convinced there is nowhere that compares to Santee Cooper when it comes to big blues and flatheads. But I also learned the hard way that you got to spend a lot of time on those two bodies of water to consistently catch big fish.............Im not talking about 10 to 20 lb fish, we caught them all the time in the Savannah River, Im talking about 35 to 50 lb plus fish. I quit fishing the Altamaha all together due to the all the stealing every time I went to Ludowici or Jesup. I still like to fish the Clarks Hill area but its not in the same class as Santee when it comes to the quanity of big fish caught IMO.
     
  11. Fivebraids

    Fivebraids New Member

    Messages:
    165
    State:
    Georgia
    The idea of a guide seems to be the concensus when it comes to Santee. That's not something we've ever done on any new water before. I guess Santee's big enough and different enough to justify the guide...

    Stealing at Jessup? That's a new one on us! That's pretty much our home water, and we haven't heard of any problems there...especially since the new owners of the bait shop took over.

    Funny you should mention Clarks Hill, since that's the next place on our list of 'go-to' waters. We're in the process of researching it now. Care to share any safe landings, etc.?

    Thanks...
    - Marty -
     
  12. Foxhound

    Foxhound New Member

    Messages:
    403
    State:
    Georgia
    Mistletoe State Park is a great place to stay. Its geared more toward the fishing part of the resv. than the recreational boater areas. Their cabins are top notch and the campsites look good and shaded. Nice coves and creeks all around that area.
     
  13. stumpjumper

    stumpjumper New Member

    Messages:
    1,492
    State:
    Dallas, GA
    Is that in the Little River section? That's where I would go, at least on the GA side.

    Well Marty, as we talked about on the phone, sorry your trip wasn't a success. Those rec. boats can sure do a number on the blood pressure! I can't stand 'em. Tricia and I haven't been to Santee since 2007, but we have a trip planned in July on Marion... deep in the trees... in the middle of the night. I've never got a guide there, but it is a huge body of water.

    September will be fun for sure though!
     
  14. macdaddy

    macdaddy New Member

    Messages:
    687
    State:
    GEORGIA
    I hope to go in July one more time before I go in sept for the gathering
     
  15. Fivebraids

    Fivebraids New Member

    Messages:
    165
    State:
    Georgia

    Thanks for the responses. That's right around the area we've been looking at. Winfield campground is right next to the state park. And from what I've been reading, the fishing's good from there west...not towards the main lake.

    We're talking about heading towards Mistletoe this weekend. We'll be sure to report back if we do!


    Hey man, again...thanks for your advice! I'm pretty sure the gathering will be a whole different expreience. It'll probably (hopefully) be cool enough that a large number of those pleasure boaters won't be around. Not to mention, staying at the campgrounds will let us fish at night. And I SERIOUSLY doubt we'll have any jetskiers giving us grief at night! :eek:oooh:



    P.S. Don't forget to stop by and say howdy to your buddy up at the bait shop. He was seriously wondering what happened to you two! :wink:
     
  16. Team Hold EM Hook

    Team Hold EM Hook New Member

    Messages:
    272
    State:
    al
    Like was mentioned, Canal=Summer=Nights. Then it still looks like the big apple, just calmer. I fish up there often from a 19' Carolina Skiff(Flat Bottom) Take it slow and easy and get out in that dead forest and I'll gurantee yu won't have ski boats around ya:smile2: As long as the wind ain't blowing. The lower lake is where I tend to stay at most of the time and you can find areas with fish away from boat traffic there. Again if the wind ain't bad, I have gotten caight in 8 foot swales down there after a storm and have been caught in 6 foot waves in my 19 footer