Santee catfish are awarding anglers willing to tough it out
Plenty of anglers are spending these dog days of summer in the AC, waiting out the heat, but the Santee catfish are biting just fine. And these aren’t small catfish. Anglers like Capt. Jason Wolfe are catching some quality blues and flatheads.
Wolfe, who runs Wolfe’s Guide Service, and his clients are catching these fish on cut bait in a variety of depths. And he’s using several different techniques, depending on the wind. He said anglers should expect some lulls this time of year. But those lulls are interrupted with enough action to make bearing the heat worthwhile, he said.
“With the heat this time of year, you want to get on the water as early as possible. That first hour of daylight can really make a trip. You can catch some quality catfish really quickly right as the sun is peeking over the horizon,” he said.
He likes to anchor down in fairly shallow water that’s not too far from deeper water in that first hour. He puts out a spread of six to eight rods, all with cut bait on their 5/0 to 8/0 hooks. Wolfe uses Carolina rigs with no-roll sinkers when anchored down. Then it’s time to watch the sun come up while keeping an eye on those rod tips.
This shallow water, early morning bite can make for some exciting fishing.
But once the sun is up and the heat gets cranking, Wolfe said too many anglers give in to the urge to pack up and leave.
Drift or troll during the hottest part of the day
As the day heats up, Wolfe pulls up the anchor. If it’s windy enough, he’ll drift sideways. This allows his rods, which are now spaced out from the front of his boat to the back, to cover much more ground. He utilizes one or more drift socks if the wind blows his boat faster than the .5 to .8 mph speed he prefers.
When drifting, he replaces his no-roll sinkers with Drifting Stix weights, which slip through debris piles without hanging up.
If the wind isn’t blowing enough to push his boat, he drops his trolling motor in and trolls the same areas and with the same baits and hooks.
“Now you’re covering a lot of water. And you’re covering a lot of different depths. So no matter what depths the fish are in, you’re going to offer them a bait during your drift. You can go for a stretch with no bites for 20 minutes or so, then all of a sudden, fish are hitting multiple rods at the same time.
“Don’t let those lulls discourage you. You’re always just one bite away from what could be a good eating-sized cat or a 25+ pounder. And it’s not uncommon to catch catfish much bigger than that here,” said Wolfe (803-487-3690).
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