Fished the Santee last Sunday night

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by JAinSC, Aug 16, 2007.

  1. JAinSC

    JAinSC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,514
    State:
    South Carolina
    I managed to get out last Sunday to try for a flathead on the lower Santee River. The weather is tstill a bit too hot for my liking, but it did cool down some: the forecast was for a high of 92 with a clear night around 75. Besides, it was the night of the new moon, with a meteor shower forecast on top of that!

    I got to the river around 2PM and scouted out a couple of spots to fish for cats, before I started collecting baits. The sunfishing was a bit slow, but with a bit of red worm on a 1/32nd oz jig head below a slip float I managed to put about 25 or so sunfish in the livewell - mostly bluegills and redbreast with a couple of stumpknockers thrown in. I also got four small (1/2 to 1 pound) blue cats on the same ultralight rig while fishing for the sunfish - always a challenging bonus.

    I like to start fishing for flatheads around dusk near the cover where I believe they have spent the day - to try to intercept them on their way out to feed. The problem with that line of thought on the Santee is that there is lots of deep water and virtually all of it is jammed up with woody cover. So... I just headed for a section of river where I had caught fish before. A shallow sandflat reaches about half way across the river gradually deepening to around 10 feet, then it drops more quickly to almost 15 feet and levels off there for a bit before dropping into a more than 20 foot deep channel that is full of wood. I anchored on the 15 foot step between the deep and shallow stuff at 8:00 PM, and threw one bait straight back, one to the deep side, and one shallower. Nothing happened until just about the time it was getting to be full dark (8:45), and then the rod with the deeper bait bent over double. When I picked up the rod, I thought at first that I might be wrapped up, then the fish moved a bit. At one point in the fight, I could feel the line rubbing on a snag, but with my heavy gear (20 pound test Trilene Big Game - the other outfits are spooled with 15) I was able to pull the fish free. After that it was just a mstter of passing the rod under the other lines that were still out, swatting a few mosquitos, putting on a glove, swatting mosquitos, grabbing the fish by the lower jaw, and hauling him aboard. It was a lovely, healthy 47 inch long fish with a 31 inch girth. It pulled my scale down to 22 and 1/2 kilos, which converts to 49.5 pounds.

    When nothing else happened there for about an hour, I moved to another spot I had scouted out earlier. The new spot was close to the area where I caught all of my baits, which I thought might be a plus. It featured an even shallower sandflat, that ran most of the way across the river at 3 to 5 feet deep before giving way to a 11 foot channel that hugged one bank. These sort of areas are my favorites - they are natural funnels that moving fish will follow while also containing the cover for fish to hold in. I had barely gotten the baits out and settled into my bean bag chair to watch for shooting stars when the inside bait was taken. While I was fighting this fish the rear rod also bent down. I got the fish in the boat (20 pound flathead), but when I picked up the other rod I found that that fish had gotten into cover and I ended up breaking it off. A little while later I got my third and final fish for the night, a 10 pounder.

    I messed around a bit more here and there, with no more success, and headed for the landing around 12:30. Over the course of the evening I saw maybe 15 shooting stars, including 3 or 4 nice ones, and got to listen to the sounds of the nighttime swamp like the crickets, frogs, and barred owls. A very pleasant evening, I must say.

    By the way, water temp was 90.3 degrees F at dusk.
     

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  2. chris45601

    chris45601 New Member

    Messages:
    357
    State:
    ohio
    John Great fish brother, Rep for those hogs
     

  3. The J-Man!

    The J-Man! New Member

    Messages:
    321
    State:
    St.Paul, MN
    Way to go John! Good solo photo skills on display once again. That is a beast of a fish! Thanks for the detailed report, I love reading them.
     
  4. CJ21

    CJ21 New Member

    Messages:
    4,303
    State:
    Montgomery, Alabama
    Very nice Flatheads.
     
  5. JAinSC

    JAinSC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,514
    State:
    South Carolina
    I made a little bracket for the camera so that I could hang it on the back of the bow seat (actually took an aluminum book-end and just bent it around a bit so it would hang on the seat back and then drilled and put a thumb screw that will attach the camera), BUT...

    I forgot to bring that thingy along, so I turned a bucket upside down and set the camera on that.:eek:oooh::confused2::smile2:

    The hardest part (outside of catching the fish) is getting back to pick up the fish and manage to 'pose" before the timer on the camera runs out and the flash goes off. That's why I end up with such goofy facial expressions most of the time.

    OH, and thanks everyone that has the patience to read through my long posts. I just figure that you all would like details on depth and set up and baits and ...
     
  6. rushing

    rushing New Member

    Messages:
    561
    State:
    Minnesota
    Nice fish! I was out all night Sunday. My plans to get out to a remote spot on the river for the meteor shower fell through so I headed to a spot closer to town. Cooked up some brats and sweet corn kicked back with a friend and watched the shooting stars. I saw maybe 50 of them. The light pollution from town made them a little less brilliant but still awesome. No fish were caught, matter of fact not even a run but still was great being out for the meteor shower.
     
  7. Zing

    Zing Member

    Messages:
    327
    State:
    Tennessee
    Thanks for the info and congrads on the fish. they are nice.
     
  8. Pennsylvaniacatchaser

    Pennsylvaniacatchaser Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,341
    State:
    Sarver, Pa
    John - Great report and pics! :cool2: I know all about that self photography, I can't even tell you how many times I got a pic of my butt or the tail of a fish cause I didn't get it picked up in time for the photo! Sometimes them Cats just won't cooperate in the 8 or 10 second window you have to take the pic! :roll_eyes: I use a tripod on my boat but there are more deleted pics than good ones! :smile2:
     
  9. fcrnnngbck25

    fcrnnngbck25 New Member

    Messages:
    205
    State:
    Lafayette, Indi
    Rotf yuor eyes crack me up in the first pic
     
  10. river scum

    river scum New Member

    Messages:
    3,474
    State:
    hooterville indiana
    awsome post man! n yes the details are apriciated.
     
  11. kingdawes

    kingdawes New Member

    Messages:
    215
    State:
    kentucky
    nice job. Like that detail. Nice pics too.
     
  12. Blacky

    Blacky New Member

    Messages:
    10,351
    State:
    Philadelphia, P
    I love read your stories, John. They are so detailed.

    Good job on the self-photo session too!
     
  13. Blacky

    Blacky New Member

    Messages:
    10,351
    State:
    Philadelphia, P
    You also make it look so easy too.
     
  14. JAinSC

    JAinSC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,514
    State:
    South Carolina
    Hey!

    I just realized that you can see my "bean bag chair" behind my right knee in the pictures. It's a NASCAR model from Big Lots.:smile2:


    My son was with me when I bought it about 2 years ago. He refused to walk with me while I carried it around the store!:embarassed:
     
  15. gerbjello

    gerbjello New Member

    Messages:
    48
    State:
    york, pa
    nice fish and thanks for the story. one day i would like to make it down there to try to catch a real big one.
     
  16. blackwaterkatz

    blackwaterkatz Active Member

    Messages:
    3,659
    State:
    Andrews, SC
    Great post, John. Gotta ?, though. I assume you launch from the bridge, but do you have any problems leaving a vehicle there at night? Never done it, just curious. How about the tides you fish; do you have a preference? Always wantin' more info. :wink:
     
  17. JAinSC

    JAinSC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,514
    State:
    South Carolina
    Actually, I have been using the next landing up river. Even more remote, but so far so good. Maybe the gods ahve been kind so far, but I haven't had any trouble at those remote country landings. Knock on wood.

    I sent an answer to your PM, but the short answer on tides is that the flatheads tend to fish on any tide - although moving water is deffienately better than slack. I fish different spots at different tides, but it's usually just a matter of logistics (with maybe a bit of "Zen" mixed in). Some snags you can fish around on the ebb, but on the flood you can't get to them, etc. Mostly, it's trial and error. If I catch a fish somewhere on a particualr tide stage, I'll be back (and look for similar situations at similar tides). If not ...

    The days I fish are based on 3 things: 1. Can I get a "kitchen pass" to go from the Boss. 2. Moon phase (love that New moon!) 3. It's easiest to catch bait with a low tide in the afternoon or evening (high tide the sunfish are up in the woods, and that make them awful tough to catch!)
     
  18. blackwaterkatz

    blackwaterkatz Active Member

    Messages:
    3,659
    State:
    Andrews, SC
    Thanks for the quick reply, John. I haven't used the other Harris landing in years, but I may try it some time. I've seen some break-ins happen at the other place a few times.
     
  19. CatfishCC

    CatfishCC New Member

    Messages:
    40
    State:
    Ohio
    Sounds like you had a good night fishing.

    CC