A Summertime Bite

By Caroline Reid

The sweetest memories of my childhood were waking up bright and early and rushing to get the boat ready to head out fishing with my brother. We were what was known as river rats. This is specific to the Congaree River which starts in Columbia, South Carolina and ends at the head of our Santee Lakes. I used to think being called a “river rat” was an insult, but nowadays I wish had the time to be more of one.

Person sitting in boat holding striper

Fortunately, a few weeks ago — between my schedule and brothers’ — the stars aligned, and we were able to go again. The summertime bite of a striper running upstream can be exhilarating. First off, the sheer beauty of an early summer morning when fog is just lifting from the water is a sight everyone should experience. The tranquil sounds of the birds and rushing water help you relax as you set the anchor between the rocks. The one thing I did forget was the unsteadiness of our family’s little 16-foot Jon Boat. There may have been a few close calls of tipping over that morning, but nothing dangerous. Something for the memory book.

On this day, I wasn’t expecting much of a bite. But, after the first cast I had a striper strike my top water plug. Then my brother casted and reeled in the first fish of many that morning. My arm began to grow tired of reeling in fish which means it was an awesome day.

Striper, also known as Striped Bass or what some may call Rock Fish, are native to South Carolina. Striper spawn early spring in 60–70-degree water. A female can release as many as 3 million eggs. Striper can also live in freshwater or saltwater. This is called diadromous.

Currently striped bass are marked as a “safe species”. Overall, we have a large population because of South Carolina’s fish hatching rates. It is noted that our state pioneered successful hatchery techniques. This hasn’t always been the case. This species of fish was on the decline in the 70s & 80s from overfishing. Many of our landlocked lakes are stocked with striped bass by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Also, regulations are in place to continue to protect this species.

At the end of summer, Artemis South Carolina will be hosting a Striper Fishing Trip on Lake Murray. As a group, we will learn about fishing techniques, regulations, and their ecosystem. Stay tuned, so you can see what happens with a hot summertime bite. And if you aren’t close to us here in South Carolina, Artemis Oklahoma is hosting a trip in August. Be sure to continue to check the events page to learn about other upcoming events.