Drifting for Lake Moultrie’s blue catfish
Santee’s Lower Lake is a hotspot for catfish all year long, and this month is no exception. Capt. Charles King with Capt. KingFish Charters (843-296-1083) said drifting with cut bait is one of the most productive ways to catch the lake’s blue catfish.
“Drifting covers lots of water quickly. It puts your bait in front of a lot of catfish that are hunkered down gorging on bait,” he said.
King said it also allows anglers to cover every depth, with their baits dragging along the bottom, going down into the deeper holes, coming back up on humps, then back down again.
No matter how shallow or how deep the water is, your baits will drag along the bottom when your boat is drifting.
“It’s a great tactic for covering different depths. This time of year, these fish could be at any depth, and it changes daily, and even throughout the same day based on conditions,” he said. “Toward the end of this month, most of the fish I catch will be 40 to 60 feet deep.”
King said anglers can drift no matter what the wind is doing.
“The wind can really get to whipping here, and on some days it can be completely still. I like a little bit of wind – enough to help push the boat along. On really windy days, drift socks slow the boat and help keep you on course. You can use one, two, three drift socks. It all depends on how strong the wind is, and how much you need to slow down,” he said. “But unless you’re in truly dangerous wind, you can fish just fine.
No wind, no worries
And when the wind isn’t blowing at all, King will crank his outboard, put his pontoon in reverse, and use his motor to slowly creep across the surface, pulling baits with rods placed in rod holders on the front and sides of his boat.
“That works just as well. And you can still use drift socks while running the outboard to help the boat run in as straight a line as possible,” he said.
King said anglers can expect to catch catfish in a wide range of sizes when fishing like this during November.
“We catch plenty of them that run anywhere from 5 pounds to 25 pounds, and some days we’ll get into some much bigger. A lot of 40, 50, even 60-plus pound blues are caught like this.”
No matter what the weather is doing, King’s anglers stay plenty comfortable thanks to his boat’s full enclosure with a heater inside.
“Some of the best fishing comes during the worst weather. So it’s good to have equipment that allows you to stay on the water during those times,” he said.