Well we drove down Wednesday the 9th and got in around 2am on Thursday. Travelling was smooth through the mountains with no snow. We were greeted with bright sun, high winds(up to 40mph gusts) and cold night time temperatures. During the day the temps were between 50-70. 3 different cold fronts blew in and the lake had a wind advisory with 3-5 foot waves. We managed to catch 3 bass one day and the other 2 days we got skunked! The biggest was around 17 1/4". I was pumped because that was my first fish bite. I got it in some shallow water near some reeds and cypress trees. To sum the trip up, we were too early! Next time I'll wait till the end of March because the weather and the fish were very unstable. I think next time I'll also spend more then 3 days down there fishing. We met a couple VERY nice people. One guy showed us around the lake which is VERY important if your fishing shallow like the fish are this time of year. Another person we ran into was a local staying for a club tourney. The weird thing was that I talked to this man about 5 years ago when I called him about a guide trip on the Combahee River in South Carolina. We spend several hours talking and having dinner with Wayne and his partner. Wayne is one of the more well known fisherman on some of those lakes down there and my buddy and I had a great time bs'ing with them. We stayed at Black's Fish camp. www.blackscamp.com. This is not your glamorous hotel or lodging. It's a FISH CAMP and I must say my buddy and I REALLY enjoyed it. No phone, microwave or alarm clock in the room. If you wanted a wake up call they'd come knock on your door! The Restraunt, rooms and ramp were about 200 yds apart and everything was there that you needed. If you ever get a chance to stay there make sure you have the Catfish Stew! Also if your in the area on Friday and Saturday nights there is the Sweatman's BBQ near Holly Hill,SC. The pork BBQ buffet was awesome, especially for 7.95! We also had the pleasure of hanging out with a few other local people from Alliance. This was a great trip except for the tough fishing. If anyone has a chance to go down there it's going to be HOT in a couple weeks during the full moon. April will also be good. During these times shallow fishing will be the pattern. Be VERY careful of this lake in the shallows. I definately recommend hiring a guide to show you around or find a local that is willing to help. You WILL likely tear something up if you run faster than idle in less than 5 foot. We were lucky enough to have someone offer to show us around and put us on a pattern to atleast catch 3 fish the 2nd day. Santee Cooper is 2 lakes connected with a diversion canal. Black's is right on the canal between the 2 lakes. Before WWII this was all farm land and forest, the entire 170,000 acres. They began work to build the lakes and cut off all the trees in Lake Moultrie. They ran out of time because they needed the equipment elsewhere so they did not cut the timber out of Lake Marion(the upper lake). Well, they flooded the lakes anyhow and therefore one lake is stumpy and one lake has standing timber. The upper lake is even more treacherous than the lower lake (I can't even imagine). There are channels marked to keep you out of trouble but if you go beyond those you better have done your homework and know where your going. Atlantic Mapping makes a very nice map of the 2 lakes with over 500 GPS points of stumps, old bridges, culverts, humps, ponds, etc. Combined that with the Navionics GPS chip and you'll be able to make your way around the lake. There was a tourney there on Saturday. Winning weight was around 18+lbs for 5 fish. That's not very good for that lake. There were 3 fish over 8lbs and several 5-7lb'ers as well. These were local "Fishers of Men" tourney folks. The lake was so rough that they let the people trailer to other ramps and then check back in at the end of the day. I heard 2 stories of sunk boats in the 3 days of fishing.