Catfish are biting in all the lakes, rivers, and ponds across both Carolinas this time of year, and depending on which species of catfish you’re after, you might opt for any number of baits.
For channel catfish anglers, stink bait is a good option. Tony Alexander fishes Lake Murray in South Carolina’s midlands, and he enjoys fan-casting for the lake’s channel cats throughout the summer months. And his bait of choice is stink bait.
Alexander uses two different stink baits, and he said he catches his share of blues mixed in with channel cats. Sonny’s is one of the dip baits he uses, and Team Catfish’s Secret 7 is the other. He said the smell really brings the catfish in, and he said that’s why he doesn’t like to move around much once he anchors down and fan casts with anywhere from six to 10 rods.
His number one tip of fishing this way is to stay put once you’re anchored down and have lines in the water.
“Once I’m anchored down, I want the dip bait to really pollute the water with its stink. I don’t like to move around much. It usually doesn’t take long for the bites to start happening, and on many trips, I’m forced to stow away about half the rods I started out with because the bites come so rapidly,” he said.
And even though too many rods can get in the way once the bite starts, Alexander said it still makes sense to start off with more rods than you’ll eventually need.
“It’s possible to have too many rods when the fish start biting. It will cause you to get lines tangled up while you’re fighting a fish, and you have a better chance to lose other fish that bite your other lines while you’re fighting one. But, it’s always good to start out with plenty of rods in the water, because that puts more stink bait in the lake, and that helps chum things up and bring the fish in,” he said.
Alexander loads his stink baits into a 2 1/2-inch long Cool Cat Dip Worm rigged with a 1/0 Tru-Turn hook and as little weight on a Carolina-rig as he can get away with, depending on the current and wind. He likes sticking with a 1/2-ounce sinker, but will increase that size when he needs to.
As the days get warmer, Alexander, who works at Lighthouse Marina on the lake, becomes a nocturnal angler, fishing in the relative coolness of night. Aside from staying cooler, Alexander, who is a student of fishing, said he sees another benefit that he happened upon years ago.
“I watch the barometric pressure religiously, and when it’s too low, it will keep me off the water in the daytime throughout the year. That’s not the case at night. The barometric pressure is far less of a factor at night than during daylight hours, so that’s another good reason to fish at night this time of year,” he said.