If fishermen want to feel something really big at the other end of their lines, they should plan a trip to Badin Lake, which has been spitting out big blue cats with regularity lately.

“The catfishing has been awesome the last couple of weeks,” said guide Chris Hammill of  Hammill Outdoor Adventures, who has been averaging 10 to 15 blue cats ranging from 15 to 50 pounds on each trip.

Hammill, a Kannapolis resident, said lake temperatures are slowly warming making the shad move shallower with the big blues following closely behind.

“Big catfish are scattered all over the lake, and you can catch them anywhere,” said Hammill. “The key to locating fish is to find shallow to mid-depth water close to deep water with scattered bait around contour changes.”

Hammill said the bigger blues are hovering at the edges of underwater points and humps in 10 to 25 feet of water with the best action taking place before the sun gets up.

“Start fishing deeper early in the morning and gradually move shallower as the day progresses,” said Hammill. “On cloudy days, the cats linger in 20 to 30 feet of water; once the sun comes up, they move shallower to the tops of points.”

Standard gear for big blues includes cut shad fished in conjunction with Carolina rigs and heavy rods and stout line capable of handling fish weighing more than 50 pounds. 

The NCCATS tournament at Badin Lake this past Saturday confirmed Hammill’s assessment of the fishing and the need for hefty tackle.

Kevin Custer and Michael Hinson, both of Statesville, and Omar Edwards of Claremont won the event with two blue cats totaling 71.43 pounds. Their biggest fish weighed a stunning 56.99 pounds.