Blog Entries from the WeHuntSC.com blogging crew
When I was growing up I went fishing and hunting a lot with many different people. Jason Love was one of my good friends who I spent a lot of time with out on the water and in the woods and this past weekend we made a ?throwback? fishing trip out on the Wateree. We looked forward to catching up and hanging out and thought that maybe we?d catch some fish as well.
This trip with Jason was different from the ones of the past because we weren?t borrowing Mr. JE?s boat, the paddles had been traded in for motors (one of the front and one on the back), the rods, reels, and tackle seemed more abundant than it was back in the day! It soon became obvious that Jason?s knowledge and fishing intuition had gotten better as well. Oh and we both were just a few pounds heavier, but nevertheless just as good looking even though our hair is now racing toward our necks! We were going to have a good day whether a fish bit or not. I wasn?t prepared for what would happen shortly after we got anchored.
We headed out to Lake Wateree and got there before daylight. Of course we started the morning off right with a Bojangles biscuit and we were set to go. We got the boat in the water and then went and caught some ?Gizzard shad? with a throw net. Mixed in with the shad was the occasional crappie, one of which was pretty nice size. We got a good number of these small fish in the boat, put them in a zip lock bag, and used them as bait for the rest of the day.
After we caught the bait we headed out to deeper water. Jason really had a good feel for the lake and the depth finder helped us navigate the lake and see the topography of the bottom of the lake. It also showed us where some fish were too! There was a storm front moving into the area and the wind was blowing really badly. We put an anchor off the front side of the boat and one off the back end and got stabilized. Jason cut some bait up and one by one he cast 6 rods out and placed them in rod holders along the edges of the boat. I was sitting in the back and Jason was in the front. We had anchored in about 18 feet of water along a slope leading into the river channel. Off the front side of the boat was deeper water?about 25 feet deep? and off the back it was about 13 feet deep. We had hoped to fish in both shallow and deep water and find some fish moving in one of the two areas.
We finally got situated and were sitting in the chairs just waiting. I started asking Jason questions about random things and I imagined we would be sitting there for a while so I was ready to talk about life and solve all the world?s problems. I imagine you may have solved a few while out on the water as well. I didn?t even get to start on a conversation good when the rod to my right almost doubled over under the boat. The ?Ugly Stick? took a very quick dive down as something on the other end had smashed it and was pulling very hard. Jason immediately jumped up and said ?Big fish Clint, big fish.? I grabbed the rod out of the holder and started reeling. No I didn?t set the hook because that?s not how we do it catfishing. I got him on?then I set the hook and I started pulling. The fish made several ?power surges? towards the bottom. Jason was over my shoulder coaching me through it the whole way ?Keep the line tight? keep tension on him? you got him?! I sat down so that I could dig the pole into my hip and use it for leverage. The fish made another surge downward and my wrist felt the pressure. I had to ?choke up? on the rod just like you ?choke up? on a bat in little league. I had to get better leverage on whatever was pulling so hard on the line. We had a battle for what seemed like forever, but it was probably only a couple of minutes. I was hoping to land that rascal because I?ve caught fish before, but nothing this big.
Eventually the fish got tired and I brought him to the top?he was huge! Jason had the net and was trying to net him and missed on the first pass. Initially I wasn?t sure if the net was big enough, but it was and Jason scooped the fish up on the second pass and got him in the boat! I just smiled and let a big sigh of relief. I had just boated the biggest fish of my life and we hadn?t even been out there anchored more than 15 minutes. So we broke out the cameras and video and took some pics and then weighed the fish. He wouldn?t hold still at first to get an accurate weight, but after he settled down he was 30.6 lbs and was hard to hold. After we weighed him we threw him back! Yes, we threw it back? (Don?t tell Big Richard or he?ll be mad at me). We weren?t keeping any fish and wanted to ?let him go so he can grow? even bigger. Maybe one of you will catch him later on. It was a really neat experience and one I won?t forget.
We fished on throughout the rest of the day moving to different locations and we caught several more fish, but none compared to the size of that first one. It was a good day out on the water and one I won?t be forgetting!
Below is a video I put together of the trip
One of my Christmas gifts was a gift certificate for a catfishin? trip on the Pee Dee River with fishing guide Robbie Burr of Pee Dee Fishing Adventures. I was excited to get this gift, but had never really heard much about catfish on the Pee Dee River. I mean I knew the river had some catfish, but we always go down to Santee to fish for catfish in the summer. I guess catfishin? the Santee is kind of an embedded mindset when I think of going catfishin?. I was eager to see how a catfishin? trip on the Pee Dee would pan out.
If you?ve read these blogs, then you know my schedule has been kind of hectic lately as the wedding draws near and as a lot of time is going in to our ?Food Plot Journey?. For these reasons, it was difficult for me to actually schedule this trip. Robbie is in high demand and finding a time when I could break free and go proved to be difficult. This year?s reoccurring snow and cold weather also made scheduling this trip easier said than done. However, we finally got a date that we both had open and I booked the trip and prayed for a day with decent weather.
The crew that I rounded up for the trip was Richard ?Big B? Blakeney, Coach Mangum, Jason Fararooei and me. Both Big B and Coach Mangum are well educated on catfishin?, but Jason (The WeHuntSC.com videographer) had never been before. We all wanted to see how Jason handled his first catfish and the overall trip in general. For a non-southerner, he did pretty well. Though, Jason did manage to fall asleep one time when we were moving the boat. Since he fell asleep, I got some good video of exactly how strong the gel in his hair is! Lol! Also, you?ll see Big B imitating Pageland?s very own ?Smiley? in the video as he was wearing a toboggan and a hat. You have to be from Pageland or have ridden through Pageland at some point to understand that one. So this was the crew that you?ll see in the video later in this entry.
Ultimately, the weather turned out perfect. We met Robbie at a boat landing at 8 in the morning and got everything together and headed out. We would end up fishing in two different locations?one shallow water spot that didn?t have much current and then another location that was deeper that did have a stronger current.
I was surprised at how clean, quiet, and scenic the river was. We put in at a small landing and slipped quietly through an access creek that met the river and within 5 minutes we were out in the open water. We almost had to stop in the creek a few times because Big B kept saying he swore there were some bream in the creek, but somehow we convinced him to continue on to bigger waters! It?s just hard for Big B to pass up stopping and trying to find a bream bed. Being out on the water, we almost felt like we were in unchartered territories because hardly any other boats were on the water and it was quiet and calm for the most part. If you?re use to going to Santee and having to wait at the ramp to put in, use to seeing a lot of boats out on the water, and generally having the feeling that you?re competing with a lot of other fishermen, you should consider the Pee Dee sometime. There was no feeling of the area being crowded with other fishermen and/or boats ?at least the area we were gave me this feeling. It was almost as If we had the whole river to ourselves. This was a unique feeling that added to the overall quality of the trip.
Robbie was a great guide and from talking to him and watching him operate his rig, it didn?t take long to figure out that this wasn?t his first rodeo. Robbie handled all the setup of the rods, reels, anchoring, etc. He took care of the whole nine yards. Of course we helped him with anything that we could?we weren?t going let him do all the work. He knows exactly what needs to be done and was on top of things all day long. Robbie has his boat customized for catfishin?. That is, he cut out some sections and made it easier to move freely across the boat + he?s got a jet engine on the boat which allows the boat to get into extra shallow water (if need be).
Throughout the day we caught a couple of fish at each location we that we fished. The catfish seemed to be more active in the morning than they were in the afternoon. We were bottom fishing with shad as our bait. We would move around to different locations and drop 3 anchors so that we wouldn?t spin around when the wind blew. We had about 8 rods out of each side of the boat at any given time and we were just watching the tips of them waiting on one to take a quick surge downward.
One neat trick that I learned on this trip was something Robbie called a ?cheater hook?. Robbie ties a treble hook onto the larger circle hook and lets it hang about 3 inches below. When he puts bait on the hook, he?ll put the larger circle hook into the ?meatiest? part of the bait and then hook the ?cheater hook? a few inches into the opposite end of the bait. This way if a catfish pecks at the big hook, but misses, you still have a chance at landing him on the smaller treble/cheater hook. You?ll see in the video where Jason (whom I?m calling terror-squad in the video) caught a fish on this ?cheater hook? and you?ll hear us talking about it when I say ?it paid off this time?. Throughout the day we caught about 14 fish and I think about 4 of them were on the ?cheater hook??so I?m glad that Robbie had our rig set up this way. While this may be a common practice for many, I?ve never used a set up like this. I guess we live and learn right! Though, if you aren?t using this rig, I suggest you give it a try sometime and see if it doesn?t pay off.
Over the course of the day we caught a lot of fish and I?ve got some of those catches meshed below in the video to give you a feel for what was going on. At the end of the day was when Big B reeled in the biggest catch of the day... a 19lb cat while we were anchored up in the middle of the larger body of water. While a 19lb cat was pretty big to me, Robbie says that they frequently get them way bigger on the river.
Overall the trip was great and Robbie really took good care of us. I think he even laughed at some of my corny jokes so you know he can handle just about anybody on a boat. We fished, talked, solved some of the world?s problems, learned some things about catfishin?, ate a high class ham sandwich & lance cracker lunch, and had a great time!
If you want to know more about Robbie Burr?s guide service and Pee Dee Fishing Adventures check him out at www.pdfishingadventures.com. Not only will he put you on some fish?he?ll even clean them for you too! Now that?s my kind of guide.
At the end of this video, I?ve got a short clip of the catfish being cleaned so if you are squeamish then you may want to click stop!