Big blue catfish currently are the main objects of anglers' attention at two lakes near Charlotte.

"We've been targeting Arkansas blues on both Lake Wylie and Lake Norman," said Jerry Neeley of Jerry's Fishing Guide Service. "We've been catching fairly good-size fish recently."

Last week, Neeley (704-678-1043) and his clients caught a 42-pound blue cat, a 35-pounder and a pair of 27s.


Neeley said during a normal day's fishing, his clients are boating 14 to 16 catfish between six and 20 pounds. But recently, bigger blue cats have been hitting their trolled baits.


Neeley slow-trolls cut bait on Santee-style drift rigs, easing along at around one-half mph.


"It doesn't matter which lake; I troll down the middle of the creeks or we go to the flats," he said. "I'm usually trolling right down the center of the creeks and have baits on the bottom at 20 to 30 feet."


If blue catfish in deeper water aren't showing interest, Neeley will move up on flats in less than 10 feet of water where blue cats sometimes go to search for food.


Blue cats are mostly scavengers and prefer to eat cut baits. Flathead catfish prefer live baits, but Wylie and Norman have mostly large blue cats.


"The secret to finding and catching more than one blue cat is to watch your depthfinder and notice where you're at when you get a hookup with a catfish," Neeley said. "Always look at your depthfinder to check where you are on the lake."