Ron Klys on Santee Cooper


Santee Cooper follow-up: What happened with Klys?


The Santee Cooper reservoirs (lakes Marion and Moultrie) are home to the second Southern Open. They're connected by a 6 1/2- mile long canal. Lake Marion covers just over 110,000 acres at normal pool. Lake Moultrie gives up another 60,000. The water is characterized by shallow weeds, lots of cypress trees and a surprising number of deep channels, drops and ledges.Professional angler Ron Klys has fished the Santee Cooper system for years. He knows a thing or two about how it fishes ... and how it doesn't.


"I fished a tournament here a few weeks ago, but that was at the end of the spawn. This one will be different," he says after long, tough day of practice. "I only saw one bass on a bed all day, water temperatures are ranging between 75 and 78 degrees, and the fry are big. This is definitely a postspawn tournament."

Armed with that knowledge, Klys headed for the grass and the cypress trees. "I'm from Florida. When I see grass, I'm like a bird dog on point. All my fish related to shade and were in shallow water — less than four feet deep.


"The bigger cypress trees were holding a few bass and so were the mats. But they were all small except for one. I'm confident I can catch fish but I don't think they'll be big enough. Frankly, as of right now, I'm just hoping to make the cut (to the final 30 anglers who will fish on the final day)."According to Klys, the baits of choice will be soft plastics. He caught his bass flipping a Berkley 3-inch Chigger Craw with an Xpoint hook and twitching a plastic jerkbait — a Berkley Jerk Shad — around the same, heavily shaded areas.I think that'll be the way most of them will be caught, but I don't necessarily think that'll be the way the tournament's won. On this lake catching bass and winning tournaments are two different things.That statement is a thinly veiled reference to the threat from local anglers.

 "This is an awesome lake. There are locals here who know every tree, channel swing, drop and ledge. There might be 100 cypress trees in an area. Four of them will hold big bass. The other 96 will hold small ones.

"These guys will pull up to the four best ones, catch a stringer of 5-pounders and leave. They make the rest of us look clueless. I've seen them do it. It's frightening."


Considering all that, Klys believes it'll only take 23-24 pounds to make the Friday night cut. But, at the same time, he believes it'll take upwards of 60 pounds to win."This will be a tough tournament. Most of the anglers — especially those from out of town — will be catching 2-pound bass. That's why I think the cut weight will be low. At the same time, however, several local anglers will probably catch huge bags of bass. I fully expect to see several bags around 25 pounds and maybe one or two over 30."

 Klys' weight prediction is based on the weather holding stable. During practice it's been sunny with some light cloud cover. If the weather turns nasty — black clouds, rain and wind — he believes the cut weight could go up and so could the winning weight. The weather forecast is calling for the possibility of scattered storms Thursday, Friday and Saturday."I don't think a lack of sun or storms will scatter the bass, but it'll probably make for a more aggressive bite. And bad weather will help us get closer to the trees and mats without spooking the bass. That'll make it easier to flip and will increase the weights."


Santee Cooper follow-up: What happened with Klys?