Focus on eating-sized catfish on humps and points
June is a good time of year to stock up on eating-sized catfish for fish fries, said guide Chris Simpson of McCormick, S.C. Simpson guides on Clarks Hill Lake with Fightin Da Blues Fishing Guide Service.
“June can be a really good time to fill coolers with 1- to 10-pound blue and channel catfish. Clarks Hill has some good sized channel catfish and the blues are starting to thrive and spread throughout the lake pretty good,” said Simpson (864-992-2352), who guided on Lake Monticello, Lake Murray and Lake Greenwood before moving to McCormick and Clarks Hill a couple of years ago.
“The best way to consistently fill coolers with eating-sized catfish is to anchor on points and humps,” he said. “Sometimes, humps and points with vertical ledges produce better, And sometimes gentle, sloping ledges are better. You will have to diagnose that each time you’re out there.”
Simpson said cut herring is a good, all-around bait to catch numbers of catfish. And it will also fool some big blues or flatheads, and, occasionally, some bonus hybrids and stripers.
“If specifically targeting 1- to 10-pound catfish is your goal, then stinkbait is a very good choice,” he said. “Triple S Channel Cat Bait, formerly known as Sonny’s Channel Catfish Bait, is a very reliable choice. Team Catfish Secret 7 dip bait is also good.”
Anchor down where you can cover wide range of depths
When fishing in the daytime, Simpson recommends giving each spot 35 to 45 minutes to produce; if nothing is biting, move on to another spot. Fish can be caught from 3 feet out to 30 feet deep, he said, and you should fish spots where you can cover that range of depths.
“Night-fishing can yield some big blues and flatheads,” he said. “Bigger chunks of cut bait like gizzard shad, white perch and bream are good choices for bigger blues. Live bream and white perch are best for flatheads. And stinkbait will still work fine for the eating-sized fish.”
Simpson said the nighttime bite for big fish requires more patience. He recommends anchoring on a point, hump or shallow flat close to deep water and waiting as the fish travel constantly through these areas throughout the night.