Maynard Edwards and Jason Heitman, both of Lexington, discovered that variety is indeed the spice of life if you leave your options open at High Rock Lake. The two anglers caught a 20-pound flathead catfish and 14 channel cats ranging from four to 10 pounds on a trip earlier this week after starting the day targeting striped bass.

“I knew it was going to be a tough day when there was only one other boat at the ramp at 7 a.m.,” said Edwards, who operates Yadkin Lakes Guide Service.

By 11 a.m., Edwards’ fears seemed justified. He and Heitman had caught only one 9-pound striper, and with the overcast sky giving way to bright sunshine, indications were the bite wasn’t going to get any better.

So the two anglers changed tactics and headed upriver in search of whatever might bite. Before too long, three of their rods bent double – the beginning of some real action. The final count: one flathead and 14 channel cats. The fish came on board in a few hours.

“We were slow-trolling with Santee rigs, which are similar to Carolina rigs,” said Edwards ( “Our rig consisted of a swivel, a 2-foot leader, a 1 ½-ounce glider weight, a hook, and live shad. The weight is designed to be snag-free. The critical accessory is an inline float that’s placed about six inches in front of the hook. The float keeps the bait just above the bottom where the fish can see it.”

Edwards said fishermen won’t have any trouble catching bait; pods of shad are everywhere, especially around Black’s Bottom and upriver.

“The only problem concerns their size,” he said. “Most of the shad are only three inches long, which makes them almost too small to rig on a hook. I prefer shad about six inches in length. But the bigger cats were caught with the smaller shad, so go figure it.” 

Edwards said the bite for bass, crappie and stripers has been poor at all the Yadkin lakes lately.

“Don’t know if it’s the aftermath of Tropical Storm Karen, fall turnover, or what,” said Edwards, “but fishing hasn’t been easy.”

While the tournament fisherman is restricted to what he can catch; the casual weekend angler is not. If the latter wants to know the thrill of battling something at the end of his line, he should remember that there’s more than one kind of fish swimming about in High Rock Lake.