Catfish anglers are primed and ready to get in some competitive fishing on Santee Cooper Lakes in South Carolina. They will be competing for $10,000 in cash and prizes. Known for an abundance of big catfish, these lakes will get the season started off right with some big blue, channel cat and flathead catfish coming to the scales.
King Kat spokesman Jeremy Coe says he would not be surprised to see a 70 pounder come to the scales on February 19 or 20. The Illinois team of Tim and Tommy Walsh won the 2015 event with a two-day total weight of 245.42 pounds. Big Fish last year went to West Virginia angler Richard Wimmer and his South Carolina partner James Saxton. They caught a 66-pound blue to claim the prize.
Santee Cooper is a multi-species and multi-technique fishery. “Santee has always been popular among catfish anglers because it offers so much,” stated Coe. “You can catch catfish there with just about any technique and catch monster size fish in all 3 species.”
The Santee Cooper lakes of Marion and Moultrie are very large and offer different environments to fish. “Whether it’s on shallow flats or deep channels it’s got anything and everything a catfish angler dreams of,” advised Coe.
Santee Cooper took a hit on catfish numbers several years ago due to commercial fishing but there are trophy fish laws now in place and the fishing is returning to its former glory. “There’s been a lot of big fish caught this past winter and the beginning of this year,” reported Coe.
“I would say Santee Cooper has a reputation as one of the best catfish waters in the US,” continued Coe. “All in all the popularity and reputation ranks up top with all the major rivers (Mississippi, Tennessee, and Ohio). Even people that have never fished Santee have heard about it. It is probably on their bucket list to fish.”
“We are very excited to kick off the 2016 season at Santee,” concluded Coe. “The anglers love it and it’s just an all around great tournament. From the people to the fishery you can’t ask for a better place. We are proud to call it a home of the King Kat Trail.”
King Kat is a rod and reel only tournament where three species of catfish are sought for the weigh-in. Blue cat, channel cat, or flathead catfish count toward a team limit of 5 fish. All fish must be alive to weigh in and are released following weigh-in.
Preregistration is available online at www.kingkatusa.com. Late registration can be accomplished the day before the competition begins from 5:00 to 7:00 PM at Manning High School, 2155 Paxville Hwy, Manning, SC. A Captains Meeting/Seminar will follow at 7:00PM. The seminar is open to the public.
Fishing begins at 6:30 AM and continues until 3:00 PM each day after launching from a public ramp no earlier than 5:00 AM. All anglers must be in the weigh-in line by 4:00 PM or be disqualified for the day. The scales will be located at John C. Land Landing, 4404 Greenall Road, Summerton, SC. The public is invited and encouraged to attend the weigh-in festivities to see who claims the Santee Cooper title.
For more information on Cabela’s King Kat Tournament Trail visit www.kingkatusa.com.
For more information on the Santee Cooper area visit http://www.santeecoopercountry.org.