Drifting is the key to August catfish trips
Blue catfish in South Carolina’s Lake Moultrie bite all year, in all kinds of weather, and that includes the stifling heat of August.
Anglers can make things more comfortable for themselves by fishing only in the early morning hours — or at night — but Jason Wolfe of Wolfe’s Guide Service said fishing during the day can garner just as many bites.
“With catfish, you just never know,” said Wolfe (803-487-3690). “The best time to fish for them is any time, all the time. My clients and I have caught them at noon on some of the hottest days of the year; we’ve caught them at daybreak, and we’ve caught them in the evening. No matter the weather, when they’re hungry enough, they will eat. And all we can do as anglers is offer them bait and be there when it happens.”
One thing that makes Lake Moultrie so good is there’s usually enough wind to allow for drift-fishing, which is Wolfe’s favorite method. He uses big chunks of cut bait, casts baits on multiple rods and uses drift socks to slow his drift when necessary.
A little bit of wind is a good thing
“There’s so much open water on this lake that it’s usually got enough wind for drift fishing,” he said. “I like to drift about .6 mph. As long as I can do that and drift over areas that have differing depths, I’m confident that we can catch blues, including some big ones here.
“You can find plenty of lines to drift by watching your electronics. You just want a line that puts your bait at different depths during a drift. That allows you to cover a lot of ground. And these fish can be at any depth this time of year. To anchor in one spot and cast to them only allows you to cover so much ground at one time. Drifting lets you take the bait to them, no matter what depth they’re holding,” he said.
Wolfe said it’s tough to find a bad area on Lake Moultrie to fish in August, as long as you find areas that feature a depth change.
“Near the dam, near Short Stay, right along the edge of the river channel — this lake has plenty of choices. And any one of them can produce just as good as the other,” said Wolfe, who uses Carolina rigs with Drifting Stix instead of egg sinkers or slinky weights to keep his baits sliding through stump fields and other debris. He said they very rarely get hung to the point that they won’t break free on their own while drifting. He uses 40- to 65-pound monofilament and finishes it off with stout hooks in the 6/0 to 8/0 range.
“We’ll catch a lot of 15- to 25-pound blue catfish drifting like this. But we will catch a 40-plus pounder often enough that you’ve got to be ready for them. We’ve caught them as big as 86 pounds. And it can happen dead in the middle of the day this time of year. The heat does not stop them from biting,” he said.
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