Category: article

 May 10th, 2021 by Keith Worrall 

Modified May 10th, 2021 at 11:33 PM


Sprawling reservoir favors mobile anglers who can keep pace with herring schools.

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (May 10, 2021) – One of the most popular fisheries in the Southeast, sprawling Lake Hartwell in Anderson, South Carolina is the next stop on the Hobie B.O.S. Anchored by Power-Pole® series trail. Fed by the Tugaloo and Seneca Rivers, the waters here cover over 56,000 acres, feature 962 miles of shoreline and boast a terrific population of spotted bass, plus largemouths and a few smallmouths as well.

“This lake has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Bass Lakes in America by Bassmaster magazine,” notes tournament director A.J. McWhorter. “It’s known for having plenty of bass and more shoreline than the entire state of California. It’s also loaded with blueback herring, a point likely to influence the standings over the two-day event as the big baitfish will put the bass on patrol just about anywhere from wide-open water to creek mouths and coves.”

Indeed, because the herring are prone to roam, this vast reservoir favors anglers who like to keep moving. “It’s a deep, clear-water lake with a lot of bank points that lend themselves well to drop-shotting and locating fish with your depth finder,” says local sharpie Lowell Brannan, 44, from Hartwell’s host town of Anderson. “There are also plenty of shallow coves where you can run up and cast around docks. There isn’t much in the way of grass or brush here, but those herring schools really hold the bass.”

Photo courtesy of Lowell Brannan

Brannan, who turned in a sixth-place finish at the Hobie B.O.S. Anchored by Power-Pole® Tournament of Champions (T.O.C.) at Lake Ouachita, Arkansas, in 2019, allows that Lake Hartwell can be intimidating because of its size, but suggests there are plenty of bass to be had here for those who put together a flexible game plan. “The spotted bass are really numerous here,” emphasizes Brannan. “They’ll probably account for most limits but adding a nice largemouth or two measuring 20 inches or more will help separate the top few finishers from the rest of the field.”

Because the lake is so big, deep and loaded with herring, Brannan suggest anglers consider throwing topwater lures all day long. If you’re not scoring at the docks, he says, you’ll need to head out to deeper water to stay in the game. “Get on the herring if you can and walk a Zara Spook or similar topwater bait,” he advises, “but keep in mind herring schools move around so don’t count on the bass being in the same spot from day to day – or even hour to hour. If that surface bite isn’t working out, use your electronics to find ledges and the occasional brush pile and get a drop-shot rig with a YUM Roboworm over the side. Once you get your limit, hit the docks again and hope for one big fish to top off your day. It’s often a kicker fish that wins a tournament here.”

Saturday Mel, 37, from Hendersonville, North Carolina, agrees flexibility can be the key to a big score on Lake Hartwell. “Have a couple of different plans in your head before heading out,” he says. “This is a blueback herring lake and those fish are always on the move, especially during the spawn. Wherever the herring head, the bass follow. That makes it hard to pin them down in one place for two days, so it’s okay to give up on a spot when the fish stop biting.”

Photo courtesy of Lowell Brannan

Mel fishes out of a 2021 Hobie 360 kayak. “It gives me a huge advantage on a big lake like this,” he states. “I can cover water quickly, and with hands-free operation, stay on the baitfish schools in deep water even in a stiff wind. My Hobie also lets me keep my finesse offerings right in front of the bass I’m targeting in deep water.”

Both Brannan and Mel encourage anyone who has ever thought of entering a kayak bassin’ tourney to try a Hobie B.O.S. Anchored by Power-Pole® event as soon as possible. “It’s a lot of fun and the competition is impressive,” says Brannan. “You get a chance to test yourself against some of the best kayak anglers in the country, yet everyone is so supportive that you are sure to pick up a few tips and make some new friends. If you’re sitting on the fence, this is a great place to jump in and get your feet wet.”

Photo courtesy of Saturday Mel

In addition to substantial cash prizes, the top three non-qualified anglers at the Hartwell Lake event will qualify for the Hobie Tournament of Champions (T.O.C.) to be held on Lake Eufaula, Alabama, November 12 – 14. All-important points toward Angler of the Year, Presented by FarWide, the Outdoor Access App, will be distributed to the top 100 competitors. The angler catching the largest bass of the two-day tournament will earn a $400 check for the Bassin’ Big Bass Award, and winner of the Dakota Lithium Power Move, which recognizes the person with the greatest leap up the leader board from Day 1 to Day 2, will receive a Dakota Power Box with 10-amp lithium battery.

As for the Lake Hartwell host town, Anderson, South Carolina, it’s both welcoming and fun. “You’ll have all the amenities of a larger city with the pace and convenience of a small town here,” says Neil Paul of Visit Anderson, the town’s official destination-marketing organization. “We’ve got great restaurants, watering holes, plenty to see and a lot to do. We’re a happy, friendly city with a really cool downtown vibe, so be sure to give us a visit if you have a little down time.”

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