Clarks Hill in January means good catfish

Guide Chris Simpson first looks for Clarks Hill’s blue catfish this month in the main river or creek runs.

Clarks Hill catfish bite mighty good this month

Guide Chris Simpson didn’t want to make an absolute statement, but he wanted to get the message across: in January, the Clarks Hill catfish bite is mighty good.

“I would not say January is the absolute best month for catching big blue catfish on Clarks Hill. But it can be good,” said Simpson, who lives in McCormick, S.C. “Some big fish can be caught this month — with a lot of patience.”

Baitfish are the key, he said, and finding the fish depends on how cold the water gets.

“If it’s cold in January, the baitfish will ball up heavily, often in the mouths of the bigger feeder creeks. But if it is really cold, they might actually ball up in the main-river channels. Like in the Broad River, Savannah River, South Carolina Little River and Georgia Little River.”

Anchor down and fan-cast numerous rods

Simpson (864-992-2352) said that if baitfish don’t form big concentrations on the main-river or creek runs, it might pay to look in the mouths or even the backs of secondary creeks and coves off the bigger channels.

“Sometimes, the main-lake situations may not be working. So you need to look in the creeks,” he said.

The best approach, he said, is to anchor around points and humps that are near the channel or even touch and drop off into it. Once anchored, fan-cast a number of rods around the boat at different depths.

“As far as the schools of baitfish, if they are really huge, it may indicate there is nothing feeding on them,” Simpson said. “Sometimes finding smaller, broken-up schools may indicate the predator fish are feeding on them. And that should provide a better chance of catching fish.”

Top baits include live and cut gizzard shad and white perch, he said. Simpson noted that blueback herring will also catch large fish. But he said smaller fish can easily tear it off the hook.

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