Lowcountry anglers are reminded that the seasonal closure for striped bass in the Santee Cooper system begins June 1 and continues through Sept. 30. During that time period, striped bass cannot be harvested or possessed.
The closure was part of a 2008 law aimed to help the striped bass fishery. At the same time the seasonal closure regulation was enacted, the legislature also implemented bag limit of three fish and minimum harvest size of 26 inches for the open season.
The waters in which this seasonal closure is in effect include the Santee Cooper lakes (Marion and Moultrie), all their tributaries and outfall rivers in between the ocean and first dams above the lakes. The upstream boundaries are the Lake Murray Dam on the Saluda; the Columbia Diverson Dam on the Broad River; and the Lake Wateree Dam on the Wateree Riveer. The downstream borders are the freshwater-saltwater dividing lines on the Santee and Cooper rivers.
The 26-inch minimum size limit was aimed at allowing female stripers to reach reproductive age. The summer closure is aimed at reducing the mortality rate of catch and release fishing when water temperatures are high.
DNR suggests that anglers can help improve the fishery by doing the following: Catch just what you are allowed to keep and quit fishing for stripers the rest of that day. In the warm water sections of the Santee Cooper System, don't deliberately fish for striped bass during the closed season. If you repeatedly hook stripers while fishing for other species, change your baits or your location. If you accidentally catch a striper, minimize the time the fish is fought and handled. Try to keep the fish in the water while removing the hook.
--The crew of the Endeavor, captained by Tuck Altman out of Toler's Cove Marina, released a monster blue marlin last Friday. The Endeavor crew said the fish, which was released, measured approximately 130 inches (the 881-pound, 12-ounce state record measured 1355/16 inches). John Suit was the angler.
--Also on board were Oliver Dungo, Michael Suit, David Suit, Travis Bobo, Wyatt Westmoreland, Tyler Westmoreland, Bob Howell and Greg Howell.