Carolina Sand Pits

Carolina Sand Pits

Jan 31, 2012

Klein, Lane Unlock Secrets of the Carolina Sand Pits!

By Mike Pehanich

Every body of water has its own personality. Each has a history as well!

In May, I met with Mike Iaconelli, Gary Klein, Boyd Duckett, Bobby Lane in South Carolina to fish a series of sand pits managed by Marc Deschenes of VIP Adventures. We gathered after the weigh-in at the Bassmaster Lake Murray event – the Carolina Clash — where Ike and Davey Hite had tied for the lead before Casey Ashley edged them both out for a dramatic win.

VIDEO: Gary Klein & Bobby Lane on Carolina Sand Pits




The pros were looking forward to a couple of days of fun fishing and experimenting with some of the latest lures and tackle from Pure Fishing, including the new line of Berkley Havoc plastic baits.

In the meantime, the sand pits themselves had piqued their curiosity, and mine, too!


Sand pit synopsis

The six lakes Deschenes manages are located in a South Carolina “sand belt” a half-mile wide and 35 miles long between Summerville and Walterboro. The mining that created all but one of the sand pits we fished took place 30 years ago, according to Deschenes.

“They took out the sand and left behind aqua blue pits that filled with the water from underground springs,” explained Deschenes.



The lakes have become more fertile over time and have taken on a darker green tint. Only Lake #5, a seven-year-old lake, still has that “aqua” tint characteristic of newly filled sand pits. This is a characteristic of most young and infertile draw pits, quarries and strip mines.

The springs have a moderating effect on the lakes, keeping them warmer in winter and cooler in summer than most neighboring waters. “Our lakes are good year round,” says Deschenes. “You’ll find 62 to 65 degree water at the bottom even in summer.”

The sand pits are irregularly configured, but most drop quickly from shore and have bowl-shaped bottoms that max out at 10- to 15-foot depths.

Other than the overhanging trees along much of the shoreline, most of the bottom structure and lake’s cover is manmade. Deschenes himself has planted hundreds of bush piles in the lake, each pile marked by protruding rebar. Oyster and clamshells cover the roughly 30 rock piles he also has added to each lake.



Contact Marc Deschenes at VIP Adventures 1-843-708-5473, and tell him you read about his sand pits in Small Waters Fishing.

New Products!

NEW PRODUCT! Berkley Havoc Craw Fatty designed by Bobby Lane. Bobby Lane opted for thicker claws with more realistic and tantalizing action for his crawfish imitation. The ribbed body and thin legs produce additional action and water displacement. The bait can be worked alone as a flippin’ bait or used as a jig trailer. SEE SMALL WATERS EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Berkley Havoc - The Deuce

NEW PRODUCT! Berkley Havoc “The Deuce” designed by Gary Klein. “I made the leading edge of the tails thin and the back sides thick, reversing the traditional way of making the double-tail grub,” explains Gary Klein. “That gives it more tail movement at a slower speed than any other twintail on the market.” Watch the tails work even when the bait is crawled along the bottom as a trailer to a football jig. Klein also lengthened the body.

VIDEO: Bobby Lane on the Berkley Havoc Craw Fatty



Post-spawn quandary

These sand pit bass have a variety of forage options. But we encountered them after the spawn in all three of the lakes we fished.

Post-spawn bass can be hard to pattern and predict as they recover from their rigorous reproductive ritual, and these fish were no different. We found them with scarred tails and bodies and thin bellies, all so characteristic of bass after the spawn.

We would later find more active fish on Lake #1, but the bass on Lake #3, where Gary Klein and Bobby Lane on our first day, proved surprisingly tough. The largely inactive post-spawn bass made fishing tougher than expected, but these pros cracked the code. Watch the accompanying  Sand Pit #3 VIDEO to find out how they pieced together the puzzle.

Fishing to their strengths

Bassmaster Elite Series pros are extremely versatile anglers. Most can catch bass anywhere, even under adverse conditions.

Still, I wasn’t surprised to see how both Klein and Lane turned to their signature techniques – ways of fishing that have served them throughout their careers.

“Have confidence in what you are doing, and fish the way you like to fish,” Lane likes to say.

Frog skipping

Bobby Lane found a similar jig bite and capitalized on it, but he also saw an opportunity to skip hollow-bodied frogs underneath the overhang. This kind of fishing requires superior casting skills and true mastery of your tools. Failure to skip that frog under the bare inches of clearance between overhanging trees and water could produce a monumental backlash. But get that frog deep under the brush and close to the bank, and you have a chance to cash in big time!

Lane skipped a hollow-bodied frog beneath the hanging wax myrtles at the sand pits.

And that is exactly what Lane did. We didn’t see any sign of a strike on several of his bass. But we heard them! Lane shortened the skirt legs of his frog and worked it with a masterful rhythmic rod tip action that got the frog to walk side to side with little forward movement.

The bass found that frog’s dance beneath the limbs just too much to take! (Look for frog fishing tips from Lane in the next edition of Small Waters!)

See how Mike Iaconelli and Boyd Duckett figured out the post-spawn bass of the VIP Adventures sand pits in Iaconelli, Duckett shake up post-spawn sand pit bass

For insights into the management practices of VIP Adventures, read  The VIP Art of Lake and Bass Management

Check out the Frog Fishing special in Small Waters Fishing, featuring “My Three Frogs” and other froggin’ videos with Bobby Lane.  Coming February 2012!



One comment

  1. not trying to pry, but the queotisn seems that you are a beginner fisherman. nothing wrong with that, everone needs to learn to fish. best sport in the world. if that is so then don’t try to get too complex with your lures and techniques too quickly. start simple. beetle spins are an easy lure to use. they are also a very inexpensive lure to use. 3 broke back minnows are a great all around crank bait. if you like spinner baits, get you a smaller sized spinner, or buzz bait, with willow blades. try not to do a whole lot of finese fishing with worms or other plastic baits. start out with buzz baits or crank baits. i hope that helps a little good luck and good fishin


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