Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gift Returns Done Right

Gift returns are inevitable come the holiday season. No matter how much thought shoppers put into gifts for their loved ones, chances are someone is going to return one of those gifts. Clothing may not fit or a gift might be a duplicate, while other gifts simply don’t tickle a recipient’s fancy.

But returns should not be taken as a personal slight, and men and women can take steps to make the process of returning gifts a lot easier.


There are many ways to facilitate the process of exchanging gifts or making returns, including finding a gift that is less likely to be retuned. In a survey for the popular department store Kohl’s, researchers found that clothing, items for the home and beauty and fragrance items were the gifts most likely to be returned. So shoppers may want to avoid such gifts this holiday season.

Another way to make returning or exchanging gifts easier is to make note of the policies governing such returns and exchanges. Such policies are often posted near checkout areas and are outlined on the back of printed receipts. Before embarking on a shopping trip, shoppers can visit a retailer’s Web site and familiarize themselves with its return policies. If rules are unclear, ask an employee.

Shoppers also can shop at stores that allow consumers ample time to return or exchanges gifts. This allows your loved ones to return or exchange a gift when it’s most convenient for them.

Many retailers have recognized the advantages to having more liberal return policies. A recent survey by identified which retailers have made changes and which have maintained the same return policies. Amazon, Best Buy, Costco, Kohl’s, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx were found to be the retailers with the most generous regular or holiday return deadlines. Choosing retailers with more lenient return and exchange policies can make things easier on your loved ones.

Shoppers also should include a gift receipt with gifts. This shows recipients that you have their needs in mind and want to make the process of exchanging or returning a gift as easy as possible. Without a receipt, recipients may not get the full value of the item at its time of purchase and only get credited with the current price of the item. Prices are often slashed in the days following the holidays.

Many stores have become more stringent with their return policies in an attempt to avoid fraud. As a result, receipts are essential because without a receipt stores cannot verify purchases or issue a refund or exchange. Certain stores will allow a certain number of returns without a receipt, but these are carefully recorded and linked to a shopper’s driver’s license number. This makes it easier for retailers to monitor serial returners. Some retailers even refuse returns without receipts.


Try to make returns during less busy times of the day. Long lines at the customer service counter are commonplace in the days after Christmas. Check the receipt for the return deadline, and try to wait at least a week or two after the holiday rush is over, eventually visiting the store in the early morning or late evening when crowds typically have thinned.

Returns for online purchases may be challenging. Some retailers allow returns at their brick-and-mortar stores, while others require consumers to mail back the item. Some stores will only offer store credit instead of a cash refund or replacement of funds on a credit card. Online returns may require the help of the person who gave you the gift.

- Metro Creative Connection

Visit Santa Without All The Tears

Turn a visit with Santa into a pleasant experience for children of all ages. 

The holiday season means it’s time once again for parents to take their youngsters to visit Santa Claus. Pictures with little boys and girls lining up in their dress clothes with Santa are a holiday tradition, and youngsters are often anxious for their chances to share their Christmas gift wishes with the jolly man in red.

But as integral as such photo sessions are to the holiday season, parents know they are one crying fit or meltdown away from having this tradition turn into trouble. After waiting in long lines to see Santa, it’s understandable when everyone’s patience starts to wear thin. The combination of antsy children and aggravated adults could set off a chain reaction that culminates in tear-stained cheeks and a sullied holiday memory. Pictures with Santa can go much more smoothly when you employ the following tips.

Prep children. While kids may love the idea of Santa, youngsters face to face with a man in a red suit and a big, white beard may be nervous. Begin talking up Santa a few months before Christmas, mentioning how nice and friendly he is. Gauge how kids act around costumed performers at fairs, circuses and birthday parties and help them grow accustomed to people in costumes. If costumes elicit screams of horror, wait another year before seeing Santa.

Visit during off-peak hours. Weekends and evenings are the busiest times to visit Santa. This means long lines and longer wait times. Instead of dealing with the masses, try to get to the mall when the doors first open. Otherwise, let the children skip a day of school and visit during the week when the lines are shorter.

Consider another venue. Many different places of business host events where kids can meet Santa. Families may be able to share a meal with Santa at a restaurant or visit him at a nursery while selecting Christmas trees. A different environment may be less intimidating to children and take the pressure off waiting in line in a busy mall.

Go well-fed. There’s little worse than waiting in line and doing so hungry. Hunger pangs can turn even the most placid child into a menace. Pack snacks to enjoy while waiting. Opt for items that will not stain lips and teeth or drip onto clothing.

Make it a family photo. Sometimes the only way to entice a little one to take a picture with Santa is to provide some added security. Dress your best and be prepared to have to step in and cozy up to Santa to ensure your child is all smiles.

- Metro Creative Connection

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Make the Most of Black Friday Shopping

Black Friday is one the biggest shopping days of the year, and is often the perfect time to begin holiday shopping and save money on incredible deals.

Thousands of eager shoppers will leave their homes in the early morning hours and wait in lines at stores in order to grab the best prices of the season, while retailers will be gearing up to lure the greatest number of shoppers. Surviving the day unscathed and arriving home with discounts galore involves having a game plan for success.

Know the prices of the items you want to buy. Scour advertisements in advance of Black Friday to gauge the regular retail prices for common items, including electronics. Comparison shop for the best prices and make notes to help you when Black Friday arrives.

Understand the fine print of “door busters.” Door buster sales are meant to get shoppers into stores, where retailers hope shoppers will make additional purchases while taking advantage of advertised deals. If door buster items are all you’re looking for, read the advertisements carefully, noting the start and end time of the discounts and if there will be limited quantities. In addition, determine if there is a special return policy for sale items purchased on Black Friday.

Dress for comfort. Wear sensible, comfortable shoes and clothing when shopping. Leave a large purse at home and opt for something compact that can be draped securely over your shoulder and body to navigate the crowds. Keep your coat in the car or make use of a coat check service if available. Dress in layers if you will be waiting outside for stores to open. This way you can shed clothing as the mercury rises or when you get inside.

Arrive together but shop separately. The “divide and conquer” method of shopping allows everyone in your shopping party to score good deals. Split up shopping tasks and then head to different areas of the store. Share and collect your purchases when you meet up after the rush.

Make a list and stick to it. Buyers’ remorse come Saturday morning is common for those who have over-extended their budgets and purchased items they did not need. Know ahead of time what you plan to purchase and do not veer off course.

Scout the stores ahead of time. Visit the stores where you plan to shop a few days before Black Friday. Learn the layout of the store and where everything is located. Try on certain clothes or read over the labels of big-ticket items you plan to buy. Knowing where items are located and having all of your information in advance will cut down on the time it takes to find items on Black Friday.

Don’t overlook nontraditional stores. Many other stores, from pharmacies to supermarkets, stock items apart from food and toiletries. Consider taking advantage of their sales for some Black Friday deals.

Park off campus. Mall parking lots can get just as crowded as the stores themselves. Save yourself time and the stress of finding a spot by parking near the store but away from the crowd.

Clean out your car prior to shopping. Make room in the trunk or cargo area for all of your purchases. For those who will be buying large, heavy items, find out if the store will ship the merchandise or will hold it aside until you can take it home. Understand that some stores will not hold items and enlist a friend or spouse to help you pack purchases into the car.

Promptly store receipts. Designate a folder or envelope for all of your receipts to keep them organized and handy.

Pack a small snack and drink. It’s easy to become dehydrated and hungry waiting in long lines, which can compromise your decision-making abilities. Bring a snack so that you can recharge your body and continue shopping.

Leave the kids at home. Black Friday shopping can be stressful, and children can easily get lost or bumped around in the fray. It is safer to leave them home so you can focus your full attention on shopping.

Know when to call it quits.
Establish a firm cut-off time for ending your shopping excursion. This way you can head home, rest and sort through your purchases.

- Metro Creative Connection

Stress-Free Holiday Hosting Tips

Make hosting a lot less hectic and a lot more fun!
Gatherings with friends and family are a big part of the holiday season. Many people travel during the holidays to spend time with distant relatives, but those same people often want to gather with those loved ones who live nearby as well. Thus an abundance of gatherings comes in December, when office parties, dinners with family and festivities with friends have a way of dominating the last five weeks of the year.

All of those gatherings translate to a lot of holiday hosting, and hosts can easily feel overwhelmed as they try to juggle hosting duties with everything else that comes along during this time of year. The following are a few steps holiday hosts can take to make hosting a lot less hectic and a lot more fun.

 Enlist help. Just because a holiday party is at your home does not mean others can’t pitch in or will be unwilling to help. If you plan to decorate for the party, invite a friend over to assist. When hosting a holiday dinner party, ask guests to bring certain items to save you some work. Ask one guest to bring some dessert, saving you the time it takes to visit the local bakery or bake your own desserts, and ask others to provide side dishes. This drastically reduces the time it will take you to shop for groceries and cook the meal, leaving you more time to spend with friends and family, both during the party and in the days leading up to the festivities.

Plan well in advance. The earlier you begin planning the party, the less stress you’re likely to feel as a host. Certain items for the party, like decorations and certain snacks and beverages, have no expiration dates, so buy such items well in advance of the party. This leads to one less task to tackle in the weeks and days leading up to the party. Planning early also affords you ample time coordinate with guests and decide who will be responsible for certain party tasks. Planning a party at the last minute can be stressful, so if you know you will be handling hosting duties this holiday season, start preparing for the party as soon as possible.

Hire a cleaning service. One of the more difficult parts of holiday hosting is cleaning the house before guests arrive. A thorough house cleaning can take up a substantial amount of time, which tends to be hard to come by during the holiday season. To avoid a late night cleaning session or the need to spend a valuable weekend afternoon hard at work around the house, hire a cleaning service to come and clean your house in the days before the party. Such services can clean your home in a fraction of the time it might take you to do so on your own, and this removes one of the more time-consuming and arduous tasks from your to-do list.

Have a theme for the party. Holiday hosts may worry about how to entertain their guests throughout the party. A theme party makes it easier to entertain guests, who can show up decked out in holiday pajamas or sweaters or bring along a favorite unique compilation of holiday songs for a sing-along. Such themes set a tone for the party right away and often make it easier for guests to unwind immediately. Seek suggestions for a theme from your guests to make the party even more fun.

Pass the buck. Hosting a holiday dinner party? Consider passing the hosting duties on to a local restaurant, especially if your friends and family members are on board with the idea. If your schedule is especially hectic this holiday season, then move the party from your home to a local restaurant, where the staff can worry about accommodating your guests and you can simply relax and have a good time with your loved ones. When choosing a restaurant, look for one with a menu that features something for everyone. Entree selections should include a pasta dish, a beef dish, a seafood dish, a poultry dish, and vegetarian fare.

Holiday hosting is meant to be fun, but hosts often find themselves scrambling to prepare for the party as it draws closer. Planning early, seeking help and input from your guests and delegating certain tasks can help ensure hosts have as festive a time as their friends and family members.

-Metro Creative Connection

Friday, November 8, 2013

How to Avoid Classified Ad Scams

With 37 years of experience, the Iwanna is an expert on all the most common scams used in classified ads.  Unlike some other websites, we have humans who review the ads for red flags and we catch quite a few before they ever make it into the Iwanna.  But scammers are working hard to come up with new ways to steal and cheat everyday.  So, we’ve created this guide to help you avoid getting scammed when buying or selling in the classifieds:

Deal locally and meet in person. Following this one rule will help you avoid nearly all scam attempts.  Never do business with anyone in another state or country, or anyone who makes a lot of excuses about why they can’t meet you in person. Scammers frequently lie about being missionaries, being in the military, or taking care of a sick relative to explain why they can’t meet you. Don’t believe their stories.  

Never invite the buyer to your home unless it’s absolutely necessary.  If you’re selling a large piece of furniture, for example, move the furniture out into your yard and don’t let the buyer inside your house. Make sure you’re not home alone if a buyer is coming over.

If you’re buying, never send someone money in advance of receiving your item.  Don’t send funds via Western Union, Moneygram or mail a check or money order.  If you don’t make a trade of item for money on the spot, it is likely a scam.  

If you’re selling, never ship your item without receiving the money.   One common scam involves a “buyer” who sends you a money order or cashier’s check, which is much higher than the agreed-upon price. The scammer asks you to deposit it and send them the price difference via Western Union. After you’ve wired the money, the bank discovers it’s a counterfeit check and you’re responsible for paying it. By then, your own money is long gone.

Insist on cash.  People sometimes write bad checks and it is also possible to fake a cashiers check or a money order.  Cash is the only sure way to know you’re receiving legitimate funds for your item.  If you’re dealing in large sums of money, suggest meeting at the bank to make the exchange.  You can make the money exchange inside the building, eliminating the worry of carrying around a lot of cash.

Use a counterfeit detection pen.  If you’re dealing in a large sum of cash, you definitely want to make sure the bills are real.  A counterfeit detection pen will allow you to find out if someone is trying to pay you in phony bills. You can find counterfeit detection pens at most office supply stores, or online, for less than $5.

Avoid any deal that involves a shipping or escrow service.  If you’re asked to send money to someone so your item can be shipped from another location.  This is likely a scam.  Many sellers or buyers will ask to use an online escrow service to “guarantee” the transaction.  If you’re dealing in person and exchanging cash for goods on the spot, there is no need for a guarantee.  Many scammers use this as a way to gain access to your personal financial information.

Have a good idea of what the going price is for the item.  If you’re buying a car from the classifieds, do your homework on sites like Kelley Blue Book to find out what the going rate is for the same car.  Check other ads for the same type of car and compare their prices and features.  Ask your friends or family what price they think is reasonable for the item you’re planning to buy.

Do not sell a vehicle without a notary. Be sure to get the title notarized when you’re selling your vehicle.  This is another great reason to make the exchange at a bank.  Most banks will do this for their customers for little or no charge.  It is possible to sign over the title without having it notarized, but if the buyer doesn’t take care of the paperwork later, the vehicle will still technically be in your name.  This means you would be responsible for any accidents that happen involving the vehicle and you will still owe property tax on the vehicle in the future even though you don’t have the vehicle anymore.

Limit the amount of personal information you give out.  When posting ads online, do not include your home address, phone number or full name in the description part of the listing.  When posting in the paper, give as little detail as possible, for example “call John at 828-555-1234”.  If you sell a lot of things in the classifieds, you may want to setup a dedicated email address or use a prepay phone to avoid giving out your personal contact info.  If you receive a reply from an interested buyer, never give out your bank account number, social security number, driver’s license number, date of birth or any other information that seems out of the ordinary. 

Don’t fall for job scams.  If you’re looking for a job online, be careful of anyone who is willing to give you a job without an interview or a face-to-face meeting.  Research the company and make sure they have an actual office before you provide any personal information. Never accept a job for secret shopping, international shipping management, foreign financial transfers, survey-taking, anything that requires you to pay money, or anything that simply involves “working from home” without going into greater detail. These types of “jobs” are almost always a scam.

If you’re applying for a job or to rent a new home, don’t submit information for any credit or background checks until you’ve met in person.  Many jobs and landlords require your personal information to perform legitimate credit or background checks.  However, scammers use this trick to gain access to your private information.  Always make sure you meet the landlord or go to the job office in person to verify it is a legitimate business before providing your personal information.

Don’t click on strange email links.  If you receive an inquiry from a buyer that includes a link to another web page, do not click the link.  This is the most common way computer viruses are spread.

Follow your instincts.  If something doesn’t seem right about the transaction, it probably is not right.  If you have a suspicion something is a scam, you can always use Google or Scambook to search with someone’s name, email address, phone number, or business name (whatever they have provided).  If the person has scammed or tried to scam someone before, it is probably listed online.  

Buying and selling through the classifieds is a great way to make money on things you don't use and save money on things you want to buy.  By following these few tips and trusting your gut, you can stay safe from scammers. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Things to Bring Along on Your Next Fishing Trip

Fishing is a beloved pastime for many people. Fans of fishing are often passionate about the sport, and that passion has inspired many novices to try their hand at becoming anglers.

Though there is no way to guarantee you will catch a fish the first time out, you are likely to have some fun, especially if you head out to the nearest fishing hole with a fully stocked tackle box. While even first-timers know to bring a fishing pole and some bait along on their trips, there are some additional items to add to a tackle box that might not seem so practical until after your trip.

When planning a fishing trip, it never hurts to bring along some extra supplies. Many a maiden fishing trip has been cut short when fishermen realize they did not pack enough line or hooks. Fishing line has a tendency to break, even if you aren’t expecting to reel in many fish. Fishing line can break in the mouth of a fish or on items in the water, so you will almost certainly need some extra line. If your fishing hole is known for difficult conditions, pack some heavier and more durable line that’s less likely to snap. When conditions are more serene, a thin, less visible line should suffice.

You should also expect to lose a few hooks on your trip, so pack extra hooks of various sizes. Hooks come in many sizes because fish come in many varieties. You’ll want to have various hooks in your tackle box to handle whichever fish seem to be biting on the day of your trip. When buying your hooks, speak with a store representative and let them know which area you plan to visit. They’re likely to know which fish you’re likely to encounter, and they can help you choose the appropriate hooks. Just remember to bring extras to account for the ones you’re likely to lose.

Few things are as exciting when fishing as that first bite from a fish. That’s especially the case for first-timers, many of whom are hooked the moment that first fish begins to tug on their lines. Bobbers are the items you attach to your fishing line that let you know when fish are taking a bite on your line. Bobbers come in various shapes, but many people are familiar with the red and white round bobbers, which can be easily attached to your line.

Round bobbers limit how deep you can cast your line. If you’re looking to cast a line deep, slip bobbers allow you to do just that because they can be slid up and down your line. However, slip bobbers are more difficult to attach to your line than round bobbers, something first-timers might want to keep in mind. 

Lures come in many varieties, and these are intended to attract fish on those days when nothing seems to be biting. Lures may help first-timers get their feet wet and catch their first fish. That’s especially true when using lures that look like minnows, a popular snack for many fish. 
 First-timers might be a little skittish using live bait, so some fake plastic worms might be the best fit when embarking on a first fishing trip. Plastic worms come in various sizes and shapes, and after your initial trip you might decide you want to move on to live bait. But fake bait on the first time is nothing to be ashamed of, and many items mimic the look and even the movement patterns of live bait. If you catch a few fish, you might just swear by plastic bait for the rest of your fishing career. 

Unexpected issues often arise when fishing for the first time, and one such issue is what to do when you have caught your first fish. Many first-timers do not expect to catch a fish their first time out, but don’t be so hard on yourself. Expect to catch a fish and bring along a pair of pliers in anticipation of that first catch. Pliers take the hook out of the fish once it’s been caught, so bring along a pair and expect to use them.

When fishing with live night crawlers, here’s a little tip that will save you from dirtying up your boat –  place a handful of crawlers (dirt and all ) in a small dish of water and add a few ice cubes. When you need a fresh crawler, it will be clean, your hands will stay clean and so will the floor of your boat.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Hunting From Above the Ground


As a beginner bow hunter in my upper teens, the late sixties and early seventies offered limited opportunities for deer hunting in the mountain county of Yancey. 

As fate would have it, one of the best little herds around was not far from my home in the shadow of Mount Mitchell.  Having an older, more experienced friend who also owned the first and only compound bow in the area was a great training resource as well.  While I was an old hand at being in the woods and hunting small game and even bear, my friend Frank’s experience and advice pertaining to the why and wherefores of deer hunting was invaluable.

On our first scouting trip prior to the actual hunt, we enter the thick unique forest that lies between the Blue Ridge Parkway and Mt. Mitchell State Park.  The mile high landscape is full of lush and unique vegetation.  Absent are the typical tall hardwood trees of the lower elevations.  Instead there are clusters of thick burley evergreens, slender beech, birch and mountain ash.  In addition, the ground is almost entirely covered with various ferns, grasses and berry bushes.

While admiring the surrounding October paradise, Frank begins pointing out the evidence of being in deer woods.  Some old horning on small bushes indicated bucks had been removing velvet or letting out some steam during past ruts.  A close look at chest high bushes indicated the nipping and browsing of stem tips by the hunters’ favorite herbivores.  A few pillow sized depressions in some of the sun-soaked grasses indicated a recent bedding area.  Locating a couple of narrow but freshly used trails, it was now time to strategically figure out where we were going to build our tree stands.  After all, when it came to deer hunting, especially with a bow, it was a no brainer that we would be hunting from above the ground.  

There is little doubt that man using various means of elevating himself above the ground while in the pursuit of his quarry goes far back in time.  Since primitive man found himself needing to be very close to his meal ticket, he quickly realized the benefit of lying in wait above the ground.  However, it was not always an easy accomplishment, especially in the prime spots.  Since necessity is the mother of invention, the need for a better tree stand has always been on the front burner for deer hunters.  Even before bow hunting reached the level it is today, gun hunters throughout the state have been using everything imaginable to get themselves off the ground.  In looking them up, you will come across everything from suicidal hairbrained contraptions to virtual penthouse apartments.

Lee Hogan, a handicapped sportsman from Charlotte, prepares to have the door closed on his modern off the ground hunting blind.  Towed as a trailer by normal vehicles, the special hydraulic lift can easily lift two adults with gear to nearly twenty feet above the ground.  The six by six foot enclosure with roof has 4 fold out windows and allows mobility impaired sportsmen hunting opportunities they might not normally have.  Five of the lifts were donated to the NCWRC by the North Carolina Handicapped Sportsmen Inc. Hogan passed away earlier this year.  He left his collection of hunting books to the NCHSI.
In reminiscing some of my life’s close calls that truly could have resulted in a life changing or even  life ending outcome, a near fall while trying to erect a homemade lock-on tree stand high above the ground in a big oak tree back in 1969, is certainly at the top of the list.  Back then, the most common portable tree stand for archery hunters was the lock-on stand.  A small standing room only metal platform would use a chain or cable that wraps around the tree, then connecting back to the platforms left and right sides that touch the tree.  The stand then uses a built on or portable brace that sits below the platform against the tree.  While much improved from earlier models and still popular today, they are inherently one of the more unsafe portable stands.

While all above the ground stands have added risks, the most popular portable ones are the two piece climbing stands.  These stands are basically made up of the standing platform piece and the combination seat and upper body enclosure piece.  Both sections are assembled around the tree while standing at its base.  With the standing platform attached to your feet and the upper body section in your hands, the hunter slowly works like an inch worm up the tree. 

Since falling from tree stands is the number one cause for hunting accidents today, it should be a no brainer for hunters to wear and use a safety rope when they go up a stand.  Again, the hunting industry has recognized this need as well and has stepped up to the challenge.  Today’s tree stand hunters have a large assortment of extremely safety minded harnesses and safety ropes that are adjustable, comfortable and even camouflaged colored.  When used properly, these rigs use a slip noose that is eased up the tree at the same time the hunter and his stand is inching upwards.  Another important safety practice is to also use a weapon and gear tow rope.  This allows the hunter to safely bring his weapon and gear after he is safely and comfortably situated in his stand. 

Besides actually building some type of ladder or platform stand in a tree or on freestanding legs, commercially made ladder stands have become very user friendly and affordable.  These stands are made in one and two person models and resemble an inverted letter L.  These stands usually come in about five foot sections with fifteen foot being the standard.  They are made up of a metal ladder that runs up the tree and is connected to a metal platform with attached seat. 

Hunters can use or build whatever tree stand they want on private lands with hunting permission.  However, on the state’s game lands, the law dictates that they only use portable non-permanent type stands that do not use or leave any type of nails or metal that would remain attached to the tree.  While hunting from a tree stand certainly has its advantages, many a trophy deer has been bagged by hunters with both feet on the ground. 

- Tony Robinson can be reached at

Friday, November 1, 2013

Freshwater Fishing Trends for SC

The latest in freshwater fishing trends for South Carolina’s Lakes.


Lake Jocassee

Trout: Fair to good. Captain Steve Pietrykowski reports that Lake Jocassee trout fishing remains pretty strong, but if anything the fish have gotten even deeper. The best bite continues to be occurring between about 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., with the fishing not as good first thing. Fish are still feeding best in the 80-100 foot deep range, and trolling both Apex and Sutton spoons and live shiners is working well. Fish slowly at trolling speeds of less than two miles per hour.

Lake Keowee

Largemouth and Spotted Bass: Slow to fair. Guide Brad Fowler reports that fishing has slowed down on Lake Keowee and catching bass has gotten pretty tough. The best pattern has been fishing topwater lures over shallow, rocky points early in the morning, and after that bite dies off fishing gets difficult. The best pattern once the sun is up has been trying to pick up occasional fish on Carolina rigs, drop shot rigs and shakey head worms in 18-30 feet of water around depth changes and rock.

Lake Hartwell
Crappie: Fair to good. Captain Bill Plumley reports that crappie fishing has improved, with numerous reports of pretty good catches as the water begins to cool. The best action has been coming 12-15 feet down in 20 feet of water around brush and bridges. Both minnows and jigs have been catching fish.


Lake RussellStriped bass: Good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that the lower end of the lake continues to be producing above average for this time of year, and right now as many fish are being caught on the lower end as at the top of the lake. In the lower part of the lake the best pattern is fishing down lined herring 30-40 feet deep in fairly deep water, while on the upper end of the lake below the Hartwell Dam the best pattern is free lining live herring along the river channel.

Black Bass: Good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that bass fishing is above average for this time of year, and spotted bass are biting well around brush piles about 25 feet deep. Drop shot rigs are working very well. Spots are also schooling in the morning on threadfin shad around main lake points in the main lake. They will take small topwater plugs, but the best rig is a popper-type topwater bait with a 1/16th ounce white jig tied off on couple of feet of line behind it. For largemouth bass the best pattern is to head up the creeks and fish a lipless crankbait in the channel where it drops off in the 5-10 foot range.

Lake Thurmond Black bass: Slow. Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that bass fishing remains slow on the lake, but there has been some open water schooling activity with some fish caught on small flukes and jerkbaits up the Savannah River. The other main pattern is fishing lures such as Mop Jigs in the deep hydrilla in 15-25 feet of water. Fish should start to move soon but for now bass are basically still in a summer pattern.

Lake Wylie Catfish: Slow to fair. Captain Rodger Taylor reports that the bite has been inexplicably tough. Try drifting or anchoring cut white perch around flats or humps in 30-40 feet of water.

Lake Greenwood
Largemouth Bass: Tough. Veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter reports that bass fishing remains pretty tough on Lake Greenwood, with some fish up shallower and others scattered out deep. However, it is getting to the time of year when a good bet is running the banks with floating worms or a buzzbait.

Lake Monticello
Captain Chris Simpson reports the big fish bite on Monticello has been pretty consistent lately like the main lake, deep water points and humps. He’s had equal results by both anchoring and Santee drifting. The most productive depth ranges have been from 40 to 65 feet with cut gizzard shad, but as always small pieces of cut herring will catch a bunch of small ones if that’s what you want.

Lake Wateree
Catfish: Very good. Captain Rodger Taylor reports that the drift and anchor bite are both very good on Lake Wateree. The blue catfish bite has been strong on the shallow flats in 8-12 feet of water, and while fish have not always been huge there have been some very good numbers taken. Cut gizzard shad has been a good bait, and cast netting in Wateree Creek in the morning has yielded good numbers of 4-6 inch gizzard shad.

Crappie: Fair. Veteran tournament angler Will Hinson reports that crappie are starting to make a seasonal change on Lake Wateree. While some fish can still be caught around brush in the 16-18 foot range, more fish are now up shallower around brush in 10-12 feet of water. A few fish are also around docks. Crappie are following the threadfin shad, and it’s a good bet that crappie can be caught tight-lining in areas where schools of shad are seen on the surface in the morning. Fish are all over the lake, and the best areas vary from day to day depending on factors such as wind direction.

Lake Murray
Largemouth Bass: Slow. It’s been tough going for bass lately. There are some reports that with cooling temperatures bass have moved into a transition period where they can be caught shallow or deep. Early in the morning, try shallow cover such as rocky points, grass, and laydowns using topwater, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and worms. Once the sun gets up, docks and deeper points/underwater humps may yield a largemouth using plastic worms on Texas rig, shakeyhead, and Carolina rig.


Largemouth bass: Very slow. Captain Jimmie Hair reports that the bass fishing is very slow although a few fish can be caught around cypress trees on soft plastics. A few fish have also been caught on Rattle Traps fished in the creeks, which indicates that cooling water temperatures may be starting to bring a few fish into the creeks. Captain Hair is doing most of his fishing in the swamp above the I-95 bridge around Stump Hole and Low Falls.

  - Courtesy of the SC Dept of Natural Resources