Flathead catfish on the Great Pee Dee River

Discussion in 'MEMBER FISHING REPORTS (BECOME A FISHING LEGEND)' started by blackwaterkatz, Sep 29, 2006.

  1. I want to thank a new friend and member, River Cat, for inviting me along on a flathead fishing trip to the Great Pee Dee River yesterday. I usually fish the lower Santee River and the Santee Cooper Lakes System, but primarily target blues, with some channels mixed in, and very rarely, a flathead will be taken, too.
    I love the way the flats fight; purely mean and muscle, so after talking with James some, we agreed to meet up at a landing on the river early on Thursday morning. I was there about a half hour early, eager to get going. Just about the agreed time, I saw a truck come over a small rise on the dirt road leading to the boat landing, and it had a bunch of poles sticking up in the air behind it, so I figured that had to be River Cat coming my way. Grabbed my small cooler with food and drink, camera, and a towel to wipe my hands on, stepped out of my vehicle, and met him upon his arrival.
    After some cursory introductions and small talk, all the while prepping the boat for launching, we were in the water. The sun was barely up as we left the landing for a cool, cloudy morning on the river. A couple of boats were already fishing for pan fish near the landing as we left, and we would see only one additional boat for the rest of our day. I was anticipating a good day.
    We stopped just a very short distance up the river and set up for the first spot. James took a few moments to show me how he baits up and sets out his rigs, three rods with three different baits on each side of the boat angling back behind us in the current, and then we teamed up on ‘em the rest of the day.
    We continued this pattern as we worked our way downriver during the course of the day, probably traveling 10-12 miles or so, hitting a lot of different holes that river cat had in his memory. We would give each spot a few minutes, then move if we didn’t get a bite. This method paid off well. I think we got as many as 3 fish out of one spot, but most would only yield one or two (or none). James boated 35# and 10# flatheads. I landed a 22#’er, which was my biggest in a long, long time, but sadly, I lost two other big flats that most likely were in the 30+# class. When fishing the kind of cover we fished, that is to be expected, along with losing lots of rigging, but it hurts to have a really nice fish on and feel him wrap up tight and break free, as happened in one instance. The other one was a “terminal connection failure”. The knot appeared to have come free from the hook eye. Occasionally, a hook eye won’t be completed closed, and that will happen. I usually check that, especially when using smaller diameter braided lines, but I missed it, I guess.
    As for other fish, we also managed to boat 4 blue cats up to ~8-10#’s, and a channel in the 5# range. It was interesting to see how the different baits performed. We used live bream, shiners, and eels. The flats seemed to prefer bream on this day, although we did catch one on an eel. The blues stayed with the shiner and eels. The lone channel cat took a shiner, as I recall. All of our fish were released to catch another day.
    Again, thanks for the invite, River Cat. I had a ball. We traded a lot of information and I learned quite a bit more about flathead fishing, and using eels in particular, which I’ve been curious about.
    I want to give special thanks to River Cat’s wife. She called him a couple of times on the cell phone, and we immediately got a good hook-up both times. That lady is GOOD LUCK!

    Attached Files:

  2. jdstraka

    jdstraka Well-Known Member

    Thanks Tommy what a a Great story. I felt as if I was there with You and river cat in the boat. Just sorta curious what kind of hooks were you all useing? Reps to You My friend. J.D.

  3. Tom,Good story bro it would take me two days to type that!!!!!
  4. bigboy

    bigboy New Member

    Way to Go!!!! Now I want one of those. :smile2:
  5. Nice fish you guys, congrats on the catches. Always great when BOC brothers can hook up and wet a line.
  6. catcatcher311

    catcatcher311 New Member

    Wow that is a lot of nice fish for such a small time span.
  7. Goood going guys!!!!

    I have wanted to try eels here fora long time. What's you suggestion???
  8. Thanks, guys. River cat put us on them pretty good.
    Tan, this was only about the 3rd time I've fished with eels, so someone else could probably answer your question better, but the eels we used were small, about a foot long. Much larger, and they would probably tend to twist up in the line more, but some people will cut off the last 2-3 inches of the tail to reduce this. We were hooking them through both eye sockets, and that worked well, but I've also seen them hooked toward the tail end, behind the dorsal fin. Once on the hook, a sharp knife and a few slices across the body will induce a little bleeding. I guess I would try different methods to see what worked best. As for handling them, the are slick as eel slime, lol, so James used an old glove and a dry rag to handle them. Some use a bucket of sand to throw them into, and I was told that they calm down real fast when they are put on ice for a few minutes. If you do a search on 'eels' in the bait section, I know there is a lot more there. My experience is very limited.
  9. roundhill

    roundhill New Member

    tommy you sure know how to make me fell bad good job maybe you can share that info about the ells with bubba see you soon.
  10. Congrats guys, those are some great looking fish. You can see the cover in the background of the pics. I've never seen an ugly flathead, they are all beautiful. grizzly
  11. catfisher43

    catfisher43 New Member

    congrats on the catches guys.thx for sharing.
  12. jailcop2

    jailcop2 New Member

    Congrats guy's ,great fish .
  13. congrats yall nice fish!!!
  14. Great story! Excellent photos! Congrats on the catch!:smile2:
  15. John, we were using king kahles, and gamakatsu circles, depending on bait and size.

    Thanks to everyone for the posts, but especially to River Cat for his expertise to put us on the fish. :0a31:
  16. a good read and nice photos of good flatheads thanks for the report
  17. Awesome fish men.I've fished the Pee Dee since I was around 4yrs old-noticed I couldn't reconize that stretch of river,but looks like prime flathead water.
  18. Thanks for the story..congrats on the fish
  19. Dave L

    Dave L New Member

    Wow, what an awesome way to spend the day on the water.
    Congrats on the catch and thanks for the pics.
  20. great story brother and awesome flats