Lake Wateree fishing report – catfish and stripers

Lake Wateree catfish and stripers
Capt. Jason Wolfe and his clients have been catching a mix of Lake Wateree catfish and stripers.

Lake Wateree catfish anglers catching stripers, and vice versa

Anglers are catching a good mix of Lake Wateree catfish and stripers. And Capt. Jason Wolfe of Wolfe’s Guide Service said the bite has been steady throughout most days.

“This time of year is always good for anchoring down within casting distance of the main river channel and fishing cut bait on the bottom,” said Wolfe.

When targeting fish this way, Wolfe said you’ve got just as good a chance to catch one species as the other. It’s not his preferred method of catching stripers. But he likes it as a bonus while fishing for cats.

“I would rather catch stripers with artificial plugs, and some anglers are catching stripers that way right now. But it’s hit or miss. And it’s something that you have to stay on the move for. But when you’re anchoring down and catching catfish, it’s a lot of fun hooking into a striper every few fish or so,” he said.

When fishing while anchored, Wolfe likes to make sure his boat is as still as possible. If the wind, current, or wakes from other boats cause an anchored boat to swing or shift around, it makes it impossible to keep baits in place. When necessary, he suggests anglers use two anchors — one on the front of the boat and one on the back.

“This takes a little extra time, but it makes the fishing so much easier. It keeps lines from getting tangled and it keeps your baits on the bottom. And that leads to more fish,” he said.

Be patient, but don’t waste time

Wolfe uses Hurricane Anchors, which hold fast in a variety of bottom surfaces. And even when they become lodged tightly in stumps, logs, rocks, or other debris, they are easy to pull up thanks to their design.

Once anchored down, Wolfe (803-487-3690) casts out several lines using Carolina rigs with 1-ounce sinkers. A cork on his leader keeps the bait slightly off the bottom. This keeps the bait from getting buried in the mud and makes it easier for the fish to find.

“When all your baits are down, it’s time to sit back and wait. But don’t wait too long before you get a bite. I will give it 20 minutes — maybe 30 minutes tops. If nothing’s happening by then, it’s time to move elsewhere. But usually, especially this time of year, it won’t take long to start catching fish,” he said.

The main river channel, which is easy to find because of the change in depth and the shape on your depth finder, is where many of these fish are located right now.

“They are in the main river channel and all along the border where the main river channel meets the flats. Put your baits along that drop-off and into the channel, especially towards the upper part of the lake, and you’ll catch these fish,” said Wolfe.

What about the stay-at-home order?

With many boat ramps currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wolfe said a few are still open, and as a guide, he is allowed to have two other people on his boat. The governor’s orders allow for recreation, including fishing and hunting, during the current shutdown.

“The number of boats on the water is noticeably smaller. But the fish are still here and just as plentiful. They are getting a bit of a break. So anglers that are getting out right now are catching plenty of fish. And with the weather outlook, the bite should stay hot for the foreseeable future,” he said.

About Brian Cope 2800 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at brianc@carolinasportsman.com.

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