According to Union County angler Mike Gault, it doesn't matter where you cast in the Broad River these days, your chances are excellent of bringing back a feisty channel catfish on your retrieve.

While the Upstate river has become famous of late for its burgeoning smallmouth fishery, Gault, who has been fishing the river for as long as he can remember, said the excellent catfishing has gone mostly undetected.

"Shoals block off the river at least every half mile or so," said Gault. "It's a situation where a lot of anglers fish the river, but it never gets overfished because you just can't get very far on it."

Small boats, canoes and kayaks are the rule on the Broad, where water levels average four to five feet, with the occasional deep hole and the frequent high rocky area. It's a haven for eating sized channel catfish in the 1- to 3-pound range. Gault said that starting on the river in the late afternoon and fishing until dark can easily land an angler 20 to 25 channel cats, more than enough for a riverside fish fry.

"That's what I like to do," he said. "Come down here about midday, find a spot and set up camp. Two or three hours on the water is great for building an appetite and collecting dinner. Then clean 'em and fry 'em up right there on the river. It reminds me of days gone by."

Gault suggested that anglers use light spinning gear with 8- to 10-pound test line. His bait of choice is a commercial dip bait, Sonny's Super Sticky Channel Catfish Bait, fished on a piece of Styrofoam or small sponge on a No. 2 treble hook. Any location that sells the bait should have commercially made dip-bait rigs to go with them. He uses a Carolina rig with a 1-ounce egg weight ahead of the bait and casts into eddies along the bank or deeper holes in the middle.

"A piece of fresh cut bait like a bream caught right out of the river will be better for a bigger channel or blue catfish," he said. "But if you're looking for 50 bites an evening and a mess of catfish for dinner, the dip bait is the way to go."