How I will fish Winyah Bay

This is the fourth stop of the year off for the Bassmaster Elite Series. I’m off to a good start in the point and looking to keep it rolling. This week we have a huge playing field with lots of different rivers in play, and of course the X-factor is the Cooper River. This is my second time here and I didn’t do well here the first time, but I had my opportunities. I’m looking to get a little revenge this time. 

This is a tidal fishery and at one time that really confused me. I’m from Tennessee, and we don’t have many tide swings where I’m from. I’ve learned a ton about tidal fisheries though in the last six years on the Elites, and I understand it a whole lot better than I once did. I’m certainly still no expert, but I do love learning and studying bass behavior so fishing a tidal system is always cool to me. 

I’m going to venture to guess this tournament will be won in the Cooper River again. Dock talk I’ve heard says it’s pretty good over there, and I’m sure somebody will land on them and haul back a couple big bags along with a mediocre couple days and steal the show. I don’t mind telling anyone a 100-plus mile run is not my thing, and I’m just not going to make it. In fishing, at least for me, I control every variable I can, and the rest is up to the fish and whether or not me and them see eye-to-eye on tournament day. There are way too many variables that I can’t control on a run like that.

What if I push it too close and run out of gas? What if the wind blows? What if I get stuck on a sandbar? What if I have mechanical issues? What if I misjudge my time and I’m late? What if I get there and the fish have moved? It’s a high-risk, high-reward decision that could make or break someone’s whole year. Hats off to the guys making that run; it will be interesting to watch it go down. 

I’ll be fishing local, and it will be a grind as tidal fisheries always are around the spawn. But I feel like it’s still possible to get enough bites to have a great tournament. And who knows, it could be won right here within 20 miles of the ramp. Crazier things have happened. I’m certainly not going out with the mindset that I’m fishing for second or 10th or whatever. 

Tidal fisheries are always target-rich environments which call for one rod always rigged and ready. A 7-foot, 6-inch NEPS90HF MHX flipping rod rigged with an 8:1 reel and 20-pound Vicious 100% fluorocarbon. I like a pretty small bait in tidal waters so I usually go with an X Zone Muscle Back Finesse Craw rigged with a 1/4 ounce weight and a 3/0 Mustad Grip Pin Max flipping hook.  

Y’all stay tuned here to It should be an interesting event.