Guide Chris Hammill of Hammill Outdoor Adventure routinely boats fat blue catfish on Badin Lake, but April 20 was a special day, when a client won an epic tug of war with a 62-pound blue. Chris Kinyoun of Greensboro subdued the beast on one of his own bass outfits.
“It must have taken a good 25 to 30 minutes to get that fish in the boat,” said Hammill (704-239-7921). “It made two laps around the boat and about ten strong runs.
“I pretty much know all the guys that fish the Yadkin Lakes hard, and you really only hear of maybe eight to 10 blues a year that top 60 pounds,” said Hammill, “but we catch fish from 20 to 40 pounds regularly.”
The fish bit a piece of cut white perch pinned to a Carolina rig.
“They’ve been biting the perch so good that I haven’t bothered to catch shad lately,” said Hammill, who fills up on perch using a Sabiki rig to catch multiple baits at one time.
"We’re catching some fish in the main body, but most of the fish are in the upper third of the lake, the headwaters,” said Hammill. “I actually wanted to fish the main body before we caught the 62 pounder, but it was too rough.”
Hammill concentrates on sloping points around creek mouths and bends in the main river channel. He notes that the presence of baitfish and an adjacent flat are key elements.
“I’m targeting anywhere from eight to 30 feet of water,” he said. “I’ll set up on the drop and cast some rods shallow and some deeper. A lot of times these fish will stay on the slope during the day and move on the flats to feed in the evenings.
“Boat traffic will keep the fish off the flats, but when the sun gets low and the lake quiets down, those fish will move up. If the blues go shallow, they’re eating.”