Friday night - a Miracle fish!

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by JAinSC, May 7, 2007.

  1. JAinSC

    JAinSC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,514
    State:
    South Carolina
    I went Friday to the North Santee River, down in the tidal area. I hit the river around 1:30 or 2:00 PM and started fishing for sunfish. I did OK with the baits, and got about 25 to 30 nice baits. As seems typical, most of the baits came from in the creeks and most came on a worm on a 1/16th oz jig head fished a bit more than a foot below a slip float. I did get a few on the spinner, too.

    It was cool and breezy and overcast all day, so I once I had enough baits, I figured I would set up for cats a bit early. I ran up river and ended up anchoring just below the mouth of Chicken Creek around 7:00 PM. Although I was in a pretty spot where a sandbar dropped into a good hole, I only got one small blue cat around 3 pounds there, so I moved on down river at dusk.

    Anyway, to get to the point, I got a small flathead, around 7 pounds, in 25 feet of water, followed by another blue, about 8 pounds, and decided maybe I should try a bit shallower. I had picked out a couple of spots near the shallows where I caught a lot of the baits, so I went to try there. I hadn’t been set up for long when the heavy rod (cast toward the bank) bent over. I grabbed the rod and was pleased to feel a good fish taking line. Unfortunately, I soon felt a sickening rubbing as the fish found its way into a snag. I could still feel the fish pulling now and then, so I decided to go after it. I reeled in the other lines and retrieved the anchor and ran the boat right over to the snag. I drove the boat all around the hang-up and pulled and pulled for at least 10 minutes. When I hadn’t felt the fish for a bit, I decided all was lost. I pointed the rod at the snag and pulled and felt something break, and then felt the fish again! After I applied some more pressure, he came completely free of the snag, and I quickly pulled him to the surface. Fortunately he was pretty well exhausted – he must have been fighting against the tree the whole time, because he came right up to the top and lay there. After putting on a glove, I grabbed him by the jaw and lifted him into the boat. It was a nice fat healthy fish that weighed 45 pounds on my scale before I posed for the attached picture (I set the camera on the front seat and used the timer) and then released him. I am calling this a “miracle fish,” because it’s a miracle that I was able to land it. By the way, my “heavy” outfit is a muskie rod and Abu 6500 reel spooled with 20 pound test Trilene Big Game. Pulling a 45 pound flathead out of a snag on 20 pound line is a miracle in my book.

    I re-anchored in that area for a while with no luck, and then tried a couple more spots. I hooked another fish the immediately dove into another snag. The second time was not so lucky: that one broke off. After a while I headed to the landing and headed home.

    I am still convinced that the North Santee holds some tremendous flatheads, but it is a real pain in the neck to fish. There are just so many submerged trees, that is virtually impossible to find a decent clear spot to fish, except up on a sand flat. I’m sure I’ll go back, but I think I’ll stick to the Edisto River for a bit. It’s a lot more fishable.
     

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  2. metalman

    metalman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,457
    State:
    IN
    Name:
    Winston
    John,
    Good story and good job on getting the fish. It pays to never give up until you either have the fish free of the snag or break off.
    The lesson is clear though, snags = Flatheads.
    20lb test is a bit on the light side for flats especially around snags. Step it up a bit and go get 'em. ...W
     

  3. scott1

    scott1 New Member

    Messages:
    90
    State:
    North Carolina
    Beautiful fish. I used to fish the santee quite a bit so I know what you are talking about.
     
  4. The J-Man!

    The J-Man! New Member

    Messages:
    321
    State:
    St.Paul, MN
    Nice Flathead John! I am impressed with your photo skills almost as much as your fishing skills. Thanks for such a great detailed story.
     
  5. JAinSC

    JAinSC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,514
    State:
    South Carolina
    J-Man - thanks a lot. I have to admit, though, that I cropped the picture a bit afterward, and then had to get a friend to reduce the size, so I could import it (she cleared up my bright red eyes, too). Hope I haven't totally destroyed your good opinion of me!:lol:
     
  6. ka_c4_boom

    ka_c4_boom New Member

    Messages:
    2,252
    State:
    Bedford,Ky
    nice fish john , immagine what you could do with 30# biggame line instead of 20# line i run 30 on all my abu's
     
  7. BigCatDreaming

    BigCatDreaming New Member

    Messages:
    263
    State:
    Illinois
    Hey 20 pound test just adds some more suspense to it. I applaud you for your braveness. Maybe its just me but sometimes I dont mind telling the stories about the one that got away. It makes me come back for more and more.
     
  8. JAinSC

    JAinSC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,514
    State:
    South Carolina
    I fish 15 pound Big Game on my other rods, and it is almost never a problem on the lower Edisto. The snags there are mostly right on the bank (where they belong!), so I have only ever lost a couple of fish on snags there. The Santee is a whole other story, though.

    My buddy and i were just talking about it at lunch, and we think handlines might be the way to go.:big_smile: Think how much fun that might be! A nice green strong 50 pound fish on the end of a length of sash cord!

    Seriousy, though, I might just start going to the Santee just for the brim and treat the catfishing there as a sort of bonus. Try it for a couple of hours and then go home. Plenty of fish there, but getting to them is a challenge.
     
  9. bubbasmouse

    bubbasmouse New Member

    Messages:
    302
    State:
    Chesterfield South Carolina
    Congrats on the great fish.
     
  10. blackwaterkatz

    blackwaterkatz Active Member

    Messages:
    3,659
    State:
    Andrews, SC
    Great fish, John, and a good story to go along with the catch. I was down that way last Wednesday, working, but wishing I had a rod with me. :smile2:
     
  11. Chad32

    Chad32 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    State:
    Nebraska
    Nice work JAinSC :big_smile:
     
  12. CJ21

    CJ21 New Member

    Messages:
    4,303
    State:
    Montgomery, Alabama
    Nice fish, John. I see u caught em with the famous Abu 6500 :lol: that made them even more famous :lol: I am going to get me one.
     
  13. STUMPKNOCKER

    STUMPKNOCKER New Member

    Messages:
    200
    State:
    Georgia
    the altamaha has many snags too, but that is where the flatties are at, ive lost as many as i have caught.:sad2:
     
  14. rivercatsc

    rivercatsc New Member

    Messages:
    1,990
    State:
    South Caro
    John you sure do smoke some huge flatties. I am going to try fishing for them at night in the river this year I never have done much night fishing except at santee lakes. Evertime I read another one of your fishing stories it makes me want to go at night. Thanks for the detailed reports.
     
  15. whiteriverbigcats

    whiteriverbigcats New Member

    Messages:
    3,452
    State:
    Indiana
    thanks for the story and great fish.... keep it up
     
  16. kat in the hat

    kat in the hat New Member

    Messages:
    4,875
    State:
    Missouri
    Great job pulling him out. Awesome fish!
     
  17. Pennsylvaniacatchaser

    Pennsylvaniacatchaser Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,359
    State:
    Sarver, Pa
    Nice Flathead and picture!:smile2:
     
  18. paleocaver

    paleocaver New Member

    Messages:
    391
    State:
    USA
    Great story. Nice fish. Just once I'd like to tie into (and land) one that size.
     
  19. catfisher43

    catfisher43 New Member

    Messages:
    910
    State:
    missouri
    Awsome flattie John.Thanks for sharing story and picture.
     
  20. Blacky

    Blacky New Member

    Messages:
    10,351
    State:
    Philadelphia, P
    Nice flatasaurus John! They are sarting to heat up here too!