A strange thing happens this month in the Pee Dee River below Blewett Falls Lake and at the lake itself, according to guide Robbie Burr of Pee Dee Fishing Adventures.
“September is by far the worst month for catfishing in the river, yet the fishing for flatheads is pretty good at the lake,” said Burr. “I can’t explain why.”
Burr (www.pdfishingadventures.com) said flatheads from 10 to 40 pounds — with occasional brutes weighing 50 to 60 pounds — are caught in the lower end of the lake along channel drops in 15 to 20 feet of water and close to the dam.
“When the lake is pulled, the fishing gets even better,” Burr said. “The water this month is pulled more during the day than at night, so I schedule my clients mostly for day trips.”
A few blue cats may be mixed in with the flatheads, but the majority of blues are caught on the bottom with cut bait in 5 to 10 feet of water, while the flatheads favor live bait fished around rocks in deep holes and off channel ledges. Burr said the flathead bite is stronger this month, so he targets flatheads.
Burr anchors to fish for flatheads, setting out several heavy rods around his boat and employing Carolina rigs. He said to leave your finesse fishing gear at home; the burly cats will destroy it.
Burr uses 7-foot, Shakespeare Tyger Ugly Stik rods paired with Abu Garcia 7000 reels filled with 100-pound Power Pro braid. To the braid, he ties a swivel, then attaches an 18-inch leader of 80-pound monofilament with a No 8/0 Gamakatsu circle hook at the business end. He pushes the hook into the back of 6- to 10-inch shad to make the bait last longer and dart frantically.
Burr adds one important wrinkle to his Carolina rig; he places a small cork 3 to 4 inches above the hook.
“The cork keeps the bait off the bottom, limiting snags, and makes the bait stay in motion where the fish can see it,” Burr said.
Should Burr snag, then the fun begins.
“The 80-pound monofilament will break before the 100-pound braid, but it requires some effort, and at times, boat movement to pop the monofilament,” he said.