Hot weather means hot catfish action at Santee

When the weather turns steaming hot, many anglers park their boats and wait on autumn. But that’s a big mistake according to Capt. Jason Wolfe of Wolfe’s Guide Service. His daughter Paisley June agrees. They spend many of the hottest days of the year drifting for catfish on the lower lake of Santee Cooper. And they catch plenty of fish — including some trophies.

With Paisley June fresh out of school for the summer, she wanted to get on the water last week during the hottest weather of 2022 so far. Her dad caught plenty of cut bait and they launched his G3. Before long they were drifting the lake and catching cats.

Wolfe likes a little bit of wind to help push his boat along. This helps him cover lots of ground quickly, putting his bait in front of a lot of fish without the need for him to constantly set and pull his anchor. He uses large circle hooks and keeps them near the bottom with Drifting Stix, a type of weight that is long and flexible, keeping him from getting hung up on debris that covers the bottom of the lake.

He puts his Big Cat Fever rods in rod holders and lets the wind do the work, keeping a close eye on his rod tips. While they drift, the Drifting Stix do their jobs, keeping the chunks of cut bait in the strike zone as the contours of the bottom change from humps to valleys.

When a fish bites, Wolfe suggests leaving the rod in the rod holder until it’s obvious that the fish is hooked. It’s better to let the circle hook do its task than to try setting the hook on your own. Then he said you need to reel, reel, reel and keep the rod tip up.

During their recent trip, Paisley June did most of the reeling. She caught numerous 20+ pound cats, with some considerably larger than that.

Don’t let the sweltering heat of summer keep you off the water. It’s a great time to drift for catfish on the Santee Cooper lakes. To book a trip with Wolfe’s Guide Service, call 803-487-3690.

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