Use planer boards and cut bait
Kerr Lake’s blue catfish are keying on cut bait as they prepare for their spawning ritual, and angler Timothy London catches them by drifting with planer boards.
London likes to start in the evening and drift throughout the night when the weather allows.
“If I have my preference in May, I’ll start off drifting with Zakk Royce planer boards in the evening and continue all through the night. It’s not uncommon to catch 30 to 40 pretty nice fish a night this time of year,” he said.
He inserts glow sticks into the slots on his planer boards, allowing him to keep a close watch on all his lines.
Keep it off the bottom
London fishes all his baits on medium heavy Catch The Fever Hellcat fishing rods. His preferred hook is a Mad Catter XHD. He spools up with Slime Line monofilament in 40-pound test.
The weights he uses are Dirty South Dragging Weights, which are long, slender weights that slide through brush more easily than egg sinkers. He keeps his bait off the bottom with peg floats or Demon Dragons.
“Those medium heavy Hellcats have a real soft tip and a solid backbone, which works out well for drifting,” he said.
And when it comes to the cut bait, he’ll use perch as long as it’s readily available. He’ll employ other types of cut bait when the perch are hard to come by, but when he can get it, he said perch is hands-down the way to go.
If he purposely avoids fishing on any certain days this month at Kerr Lake, it will be during the full moon.
“Any time is a good time to go fishing in my eyes. But if I have my choice, I really like to stay away from the full moon. I’ll admit I have had some good nights during the full moon, but percentage wise, it’s not the time I prefer to fish,” he said.
Watch the weather
London also pays close attention to the weather and the barometric pressure. Consistency is the key, he said.
“Changes in weather, and a rising or falling barometer aren’t great ingredients for catching blues in May. If the weather is consistent for a string of days, that’s always good. But this time of year, with the catfish getting ready to spawn, they are more sensitive to changes in those areas in my opinion. This month, we can still have some fluctuations as spring continues. And that will have a negative impact on these fish,” he said. “They react more harshly to those kinds of changes than they do any other time of year.”
London said if he could have his ideal conditions for catching blues on Kerr Lake this month, it would be just before the barometric pressure begins dropping, and with a quarter moon in the sky. Night-time temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees are right up his alley. If that day was overcast, he thinks that aids the nighttime bite.
“And even if it’s a clear day leading up to that night, but they’re calling for the next day to be overcast, that usually means a good night of fishing too,” he said.