Summertime Striper Fishing

Lake Hartwell Striper Fishing Report  – June 28, 2020

The striper bite is ON!   Fish are beginning to show up in their usual summertime haunts on Lake Hartwell.   The surface water temps are in the upper 70’s in the early morning, and warming up to the low 80’s by noon.  Fortunately we’ve have a few afternoon showers to keep the water from getting into the high 80’s.   That will eventually happen, but for now, the cooler water is keeping the bite going later into the day.   So get on the water NOW! 

In the summer, a lot of our Hartwell stripers and hybrids move south to find deeper water, and food.  And there’s plenty of bait out there right now.   I’m finding bait wads that will literally fill up the screen on my Simrad.  If you have SideScan, you can determine which side of the boat you should be fishing on too.   Sometimes the bait school will be so large it extends 20 or 30 feet on each side of the boat.  If there’s bait around, the linesides won’t be too far away. 

I’ve even been seeing some topwater activity early in the morning, and the fish that are busting the surface will readily take a MirroLure, Zara Spook, or Redfin plug.  I actually caught a hybrid on a buzzbait the other day.  So keep a surface plug tied on and ready to cast.  Make your cast beyond the school and retrieve through it.  If a fish hits, but doesn’t get hooked, don’t change your retrieve pace.  There will be a dozen or more fish just beneath the lure deciding whether to strike it or not.  

As the sun rises above the treeline, the fish are going deeper.   Downlines over a 50 to 60 foot bottom, with baits hovering around the 25 foot mark is the key.   Look for humps on the edge of the main river, or at the mouths of major creeks.  Especially humps that have steep drop-off’s. 

The area south of the confluence of the Tugaloo and Seneca, including Lightwood Log and PowderBag creek are all holding fish right now.  They may be suspended in the trees, or hanging out over a clean bottom.  Again, finding the bait schools is a key factor, so set your SideScan on 140 to 200 feet out.  While you’re searching for fish, go ahead and deploy a couple of Project-X X-Rigs loaded with 3/8 oz or ½ oz WhoopAss Bucktails and 3-inch Project-X Saucertails in pearl or electric rooster colors.  Fan the arms out and drop it about 100 feet behind the boat and set your troll speed around 2 – 3 mph.  This is a good speed for your sonar to paint a good picture, and it’s a perfect speed to get the X-Rig down around 15 feet.  Get all your WhoopAss and Project-X tackle at’s Online Tackle Store

Keeping blueback herring frisky is a challenge with the warmer water temps.  Use the water from the bait stores, and recirculate it, versus drawing in lake water.   Freeze a couple half gallon milk jugs filled ¾ with well water (or water you get from the bait store).   Drop the jugs in your livewell mid-morning to keep the water cool.  The water from the jug will refresh the water in your tank.  I highly recommend the Keep Alive O2 system.  The oxygen keeps the bait frisky, and it also cools the water in your well.  I’ve kept baits for 3 days with the oxygen and an occasional water change.  The O2 really works.

Finally, the jig and spoon bite is beginning to crank up too.   Keep a 2 oz WhoopAss Bucktail tied on for when the school sounds, drop it straight to the bottom, then retrieve it as fast as you can.  The Boss Hawg and Parker spoons will get the job done as well.  

If you’d like to spend a fun day on the water with Capt. Cefus and Buck the Wonder Dog, call or email – 404 402 8329  or

Tight lines and calm seas.

Capt. Cefus McRae – Nuts & Bolts of Fishing

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