Dark drifting for Lake Moultrie catfish

Some of the best summertime catfishing on Lake Moultrie takes place after dark, when cooler air and water temperatures often result in active fish.

Catfishing during the summer can provide some of the year’s best action, but the sweltering heat can often reduce the window when catfish and other species feed.

During the dog days of summer, the air temperature may change as much as 30 degrees between sunlight and moonlight conditions. The water temperature won’t be affected to the same degree, but catfish will often respond positively to the cooler night-time waters by feeding aggressively.

Nighttime drifting for catfish can be explosive and is often the favorite tactic of many Lake Moultrie fishermen during the summer.

Guide Clayton Crawford has his boat rigged for night-time fishing, using a generator and system of lights on his fully-enclosed, 30-foot tri-toon.

“Nighttime catfishing on Lake Moultrie can be non-stop bites, with many large fish making their way into the boat,” he said.

His drifting technique is the same, and locations are the same or near his preferred daytime spots. The cooler air temperature cools the top layer of the water and will attract baitfish, and although he’ll target the same humps and ledges during the daytime, he’ll drift into slightly shallower areas as night as catfish move up.

For a nighttime trip, Crawford will leave the dock an hour or so before dusk and will fish as the sun sets. Often, the bite will start just as the sun hits the horizon and will continue into the night as late as his clients wish to fish.

While daytime trips are very successful in the summer, nighttime outings for catfish can be a more-comfortable way to get the filets for that fish fry.

Editor’s note: This article is part of The original drifters feature in the August issue of South Carolina Sportsman. Digital editions can be downloaded right to your computer or smartphone.

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About Jeff Burleson 1311 Articles
Jeff Burleson is a native of Lumberton, N.C., who lives in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He graduated from N.C. State University with a degree in fisheries and wildlife sciences and is a certified biologist and professional forester for Southern Palmetto Environmental Consulting.

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