10-year-old angler catches 61-pound catfish

Fish was weighed, measured, then released

Paisley Wolfe caught this 61-pound blue catfish while fishing at Santee on June 2, 2019.

Young lady caught the fish on Santee

Ten-year-old Paisley Wolfe of Fort Lawn, S.C. hears a lot of fish stories. Her dad, Capt. Jason Wolfe runs Wolfe’s Guide Service, helping anglers catch fish on a variety of Carolina lakes and rivers. But this past weekend, it was family time on Santee, and the young angler caught a 61-pound blue catfish.

Paisley’s dad had a feeling that most of Santee’s catfish were finishing up the spawn and would be moving onto the flats. It’s a pattern that has worked well for him this time of year at both Santee and Wateree.

She caught several other nice fish during the trip

It didn’t take long for Paisley to prove his theory right. After boating several catfish that ranged from 5 to 15 pounds on Saturday, she boated a 35-pounder. That was a good warmup for Sunday’s battle with her personal best 61-pound fish. And on top of her dad being in the boat when she caught it, so was her mom, younger sister, and her Maw-maw.

The young angler caught several other nice catfish on the trip while her little sister and other family members cheered her on.

Wolfe caught the fish on a Big Cat Fever rod paired with an Abu Garcia 6500C3 Catfish Special reel. She was using cut bait and drifting along shallow flats, using a Drifting Stix weight, which her dad said flexes when it encounters debris, minimizing hangups which are common for anglers drift fishing along the littered bottoms of Santee.

Wolfe (803-487-3690) expects the shallow flats bite to remain strong for some time. And he said Santee isn’t the only lake this pattern is working on. He said this time of year, he catches fish this way on numerous lakes across the Carolinas.

“I don’t catch many in the main river channels this time of year. The fishing is more consistent in the shallower flats, especially in water that ranges from 10 to 25 feet deep. You’ll catch a lot of keeper-sized fish that are good for eating. And you’ll catch enough 25-pounders that way to keep it interesting. You’ve also got the potential to catch a true trophy like a 50+ pounder. We’ve got plenty of them in these lakes across the Carolinas,” he said.

After weighing the big fish, the Wolfe’s released it for another angler to catch some day.

Click here to read about other catfishing hotspots in the Carolinas.

Brian Cope
About Brian Cope 1402 Articles
Brian Cope of Edisto Island, S.C., is a retired Air Force combat communications technician. He has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina and has been writing about the outdoors since 2006. He’s spent half his life hunting and fishing. The rest, he said, has been wasted.