Carolina catfish are biting good in unlikely places

Capt. Joe Dennis with Father and Son Outdoors has been catching catfish suspended off the bottom at Santee.

Anglers mistaking suspended catfish for stripers

Anglers across the Carolinas are catching nice-sized catfish in some surprising places. Capt. Joe Dennis with Father and Son Outdoors TV said these fish have been suspended about 20 feet off the bottom in deep water. He’s done most of his fishing lately at Santee, but he said cats are behaving the same way on other Carolina lakes.

“We have been trying to catch some stripers, and when we’ve found what have looked like a school of suspended stripers, we anchored down and put live herring at the proper depth. But we’ve been catching catfish in those spots,” he said.

But Dennis isn’t complaining. The catfish have all been nice fish, ranging from 10 to 35 pounds.

“Last Thursday, we fished from 8 a.m. to 11:30 and we filled up two fish boxes with big catfish. The bite was nonstop,” he said.

Cats have been suspended 20 feet off bottom

Dennis said anglers can locate these fish on their electronics by finding water that’s 45 to 55 feet deep.

“But instead of looking for them on the bottom, look for the suspended fish about 20 feet off the bottom. You might find some stripers there — you really should find some stripers there. But the catfish have been there too,” he said.

Live herring, which Dennis said the stripers eat like candy, is what he’s been using for bait. And he suggests anglers put the rods in rod holders, then wait for the fish to hook itself before grabbing the rod.

“Sometimes they’ll hit and pick at it for a bit before they finally take the bait in. If you’re picking up the rod every time you get a hit, you’ll miss a lot of fish. When the rod bends over and stays bent over, you know the fish is hooked,” he said.

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Brian Cope
About Brian Cope 1599 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of 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. He can be reached at

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