MLF pro Marty Robinson enjoys fishing on his home lakes in South Carolina, especially when it starts to get chilly. The clear waters of some of the South Carolina lakes he fishes allow for some deeper fishing offshore and away from the shallows.
“Here in South Carolina, fish get suspended over really deep water in the winter,” Robinson explained. “They’ll be 40 feet deep in about 60 feet of water. When they’re suspended like that, they’re usually around bait fish and above these ditches or hollows. I like to go with more of a finesse approach to catch those fish.”
The main technique that Robinson turns to is using a 4-inch Zoom Boot Tail Fluke swimbait with a 1/4-ounce swimbait head to drop right above those schooling fish waiting for something to pass them by. The South Carolina pro says he idles down deep hollows with his trolling motor and uses his Lowrance side imaging to know exactly where those fish are. Once he finds them, it’s all about getting his bait to the right depth.
“This bait just seems to hold at a certain depth zone when you give it time to fall and you wind it just right,” Robinson detailed. “When the fish are hanging out in about 40 feet of water, I like to shoot for about 30 to 35 feet of depth on that swimbait. The water is so clear in these lakes that the fish will move up 5 to 10 feet just to come get it.”
When it comes to the right tackle for the job, Robinson knows exactly what he likes to use for this particular technique.
“The perfect setup I found for this is a 6-foot-10 Castaway Skeleton rod with a Lew’s Custom Pro 6.8:1 reel,” Robinson detailed. “Because I fish super clear water in the winter, I put 8-pound P-Line Tactical Fluorocarbon. I feel like I get a lot more bites because I can get away with the lighter line. That slower gear ratio also helps me slow down my retrieve and keep the bait at the depth I need.”
Robinson admits that he mostly catches spotted bass with this technique, but he’s caught his fair share of largemouth as well. Once he gets one on the swimbait, he’s quick to say that he always has a backup spinning rod on his deck with a drop-shot or shaky head in case the schooling fish start to follow toward the boat. Still, he says that if you can master the correct depth and speed on your swimbait, that’s where most of the bites will come from.
“Your retrieve speed is critical to keep that bait at a constant depth,” Robinson expressed. “Be sure to have a count for how long it takes that bait to reach the desired depth, then wind that thing back in really slow. That’s going to increase your hook-ups and give you a great day of fishing.”