- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 2, 2003

THE WASHINGTON TIMES
If you're planning to take a break from shoveling snow and want to hook a fantastic blue catfish or whatever else might be biting, you can visit a super fishing area the Santee Cooper lakes, Marion and Moultrie.
I stayed at the convenient, full-service motel, restaurant, launch ramp and tackle shop known as Hill's Landing along the Diversion Canal in Cross, S.C., and never regretted that decision for even one second. The landing's small motel and its rental trailers weren't new, but they were clean and well-maintained. Hearty breakfasts in the little marina restaurant were served starting at 5:30 a.m.; lunches at midday.
Jamie Courtney, the owner of Hill's Landing, is a fisherman. He will understand your questions and concerns. Call him at 843/753-2731.
Coast Guard-licensed fishing guides
Professional fishing guides who operate comfortable, well-equipped boats (some with tops to stay dry in case it rains) are available for around $250 a day. The fee covers the fishing party, bait, good rods and reels.
Rayford "Pete" Hilliard, 843/753-2042;
[email protected]
Jackie Jones, 843/753-2731; [email protected]
John "J.P." Clark, 843/753-2371 (call between 6 and 10 p.m.)
Josh Coggins, 803/789-6321
Tom Bradley, 843/708-4095 (or 843/708-0015)
Lots of other things Santee Cooper Country in South Carolina is part of the Santee Cooper Counties Promotion Commission. It is easily reached via I-95 from Washington. Once in South Carolina, the Santee Cooper lakes are not far away after passing the Florence exits. Stay on I-95 and don't leave the interstate until you cross lake Marion and see the Route 6 exit in Santee. Take it east to Cross and the eventual blending road, Route 45, that leads to the Diversion Canal at the lakes.
If you're not into fishing, there are many golf courses, hiking trails and historic sites. Don't forget that this area was home to the fabled Swamp Fox, Francis Marion, who was a mighty thorn in the side of the English during the Revolutionary War. A glimpse of what the Swamp Fox's life might have been like was depicted with Hollywood license, of course in the Mel Gibson film "The Patriot."
To learn more about the Santee Cooper Country possibilities, call toll-free 800/227-8510, or 803/854-2131.
Gene Mueller

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