Fishfinder Guide Service
Santee Cooper Cats
"Together on Lake Moultrie - Striper Fishing 2004"
The following article covers our July vacation as well as
our Striper fishing trip with Fishfinder's Guide Service on July 08, 2004.
Santee Cooper Cats
We've been on the Santee Cooper's Lake Marion countless times, staying at various places
throughout the years.  We've leased lots in marinas such as Mill Creek Marina and Taw Caw.  
We've visited Santee State Park on numerous occasions for single day outings or quick visits while
passing through on a motorcycle trip. We've even held the
2002 Santee Cooper Cats Day at the
Pavilion in the State Park...BUT, up until this trip, we never stayed at Santee State Park for an
extended period of time. This was going to be a vacation of
FIRSTS for several things!
July 5th, 2004
We did make reservations to camp at the State Park via telephone in advance although it isn't
necessary. Being that it was the 4th of July week and the size of our rig, we didn't want to take a
chance of coming up short a parking spot when we arrived. We requested, at their discretion... one
of the "largest" sites they had when we made the reservations.  We couldn't have ended up with
something better if we had went down and actually picked a spot.  The site was plenty big to handle
our 55-foot rig and required very little adjustment to get level when we set-up. We had plenty of
room to leave the tractor hooked up to the travel trailer and still park our Jeep in the drive.
It offered a great view through the trees of Lake Marion.
(see photos below)
July 6th and 7th, 2004
We didn't do a whole lot other than a little bank fishing for these two days, after all this WAS a
vacation.  Michael, our son, stayed on the bank a good bit waiting for those catfish to bite.  
Catfishing, just as it was for the past 4-6 weeks was slow this week also.  We did see numerous
catfish being caught none the less! The majority of catches were under 10 pounds or so. We did
however see catches that included larger fish, up to about 25-26 pounds but they were few. A
portion of the larger fish that we saw were trotline fish, they really don't count as fishin'. Most all
fish that were caught were biting on small bait. The type of bait really didn't matter as much as the
small portion did. Even the 30-40 pounders were hitting bite size bait.
Michael did manage to drag a few in himself  
(see photos below)
July 8th, 2004
Fishfinder's Guide Service and
Santee Cooper Cats go Striper Fishing.
Today was the day we scheduled a trip with Fishfinder Guide Service.  This was the first time we
have had the opportunity to actually get out and fish with our long-time SCC Sponsor.  Since
catfishing has and still was slow on the lakes, Jim planned a Striper trip for us.  This was a vacation
FIRSTS as we said above. This was the first time my family fished the lower lake... Lake
Moultrie.  It also was the first time we had ever fished for striper. We've always been hard-core cat
chasers!  We met Jim at 6AM at the new Richardson's Landing in Bonneau Beach, SC.  We made a
quick 10-15 minute ride across the lake and picked up fresh live bait at Atkin's Landing.  Just 5
minutes out of Atkin's is where we located a good spot with the help of an Eagle Acura 240. We
began setting up and got our first hit before we had our 2nd or 3rd rod baited up. This first hit was a
keeper, as were the other 9 that we managed to reel in by about 9:30AM. We did break the line on
three others.  We never had to re-group and move the boat, all we had to do is keep fresh bait on the
hook. Air temp was probably about 80-84 degrees this morning with a pretty stiff breeze blowing.
There was some chop on the water but not bad enough to whitecap. Once the sun peaked out from
behind the overcast skies and the water calmed, it wasn't long before we were just drowning bait.  
We did make several adjustments during the morning on the depth we were fishing as the stripers
went up and down in the water column.  Being that this was our first time fishing striper... I'm
convinced that our success was totally accountable to our Captain.  Without his leadership and clear
explanation of what we were doing and why, I know that we couldn't have had the success that we
did this morning.  We're really anxious for the catfish to turn on so that we can schedule another
outing with Jim.  I think that Jim pretty much got all of us "hooked" on stripers also.  I couldn't really
tell what Kim and Michael were more enthusiastic about, catching the fish OR the professional way
that Jim taught a bunch of striper-rookies the ins & outs of striper fishing during the course of just a
few hours.  I can highly recommend Jim of Fishfinder Guide Service when you need a Guide for
your next trip.  The fact that Jim has been a sponsor of Santee Cooper Cats since our humble
beginnings is just icing on the cake. We're proud to have him as a friend
(see photos below)
July 9th, 2004
Today was the last day of our reservation at the State Park. We got up early and had breakfast before
beginning to tear down the camper for the journey back home. Once we packed up, we made a stop
at the entrance to the campground to dump the holding tanks. I was greeted there by the host of the
campground again. He had just returned from a morning fishing trip and took me out behind his
camper to show me his "Catch of the Day". Hanging from the clothesline was a 40 pound cat.  Now
that in itself wasn't hard to take, it was a nice looking fish... Then, he tells me that he caught it on a
white grape!  
I'm sorry to say that I had the camera packed away in the camper, so I didn't get a pic of him!
Like we said at the top of this page... SMALL bait seems to be the key for BIG bites right now on
Lake Marion.   
GOOD LUCK on your next trip... and send your pictures to us here at SCC.