King Kat anglers were greeted on Saturday, Feb 20,, 2016 with partly cloudy skies and more clouds expected in the afternoon. The final day of fishing would determine the 2016 Cabela’s King Kat champs on Santee Cooper. High winds were forecast which could change the strategies of drift fishing anglers.
The father/son team of Mark and Neal Stanley from Chesterfield, SC led the tournament after day one. They drifted all day on day one to catch their tournament leading weight of 161.60 pounds on 5 fish. That same strategy was successful on day two also.
“We drifted all day again using mullet and shad in 15 to 29 feet of water,” reported Mark. “We worked hard all day but could only come up with 3 fish today.” Nevertheless, their lead for day one was too great for any competitor to overcome. Team Stanley took the title on Santee Cooper with a total weight of 217.20 pounds. All their fish came from Lake Moultrie.
The team of Jimmy Holbrook and Layla Ledbetter came close. They finished only about 3 pounds short of the leaders. “It went pretty good today,” said Holbrook. “We had a lot of boats come in on top of us and kind of messed up our fishing. We wanted to make a certain drift, but other boats coming in disrupted that. We had to work a little harder today but were able to get 90 something pounds. The wind actually helped us today. With that wind going, the choppy water seemed to turn them fish on. Seems like they want to feed more.”
We had a real good time,” added Layla. “I was just glad to be out there. We caught about 20 fish today.” They finished the tournament with 214.25 pounds to claim the second place finish.
Third place went to Phillip and Wesley Rollins from Lancaster, SC. “We did about the same thing we did yesterday,” said Wesley. “We drifted and wasted about a half a day. We went to the anchor and had a pretty good day after that. We fished a Carolina Rig with about 3 foot of leader and a cork about 3 inches above the hook. We used shad most of the time.” The Rollins team finished the tournament with a two-day total of 207.75. They also had the second Big Fish at 51.55 pounds.
Big Fish of the tournament went to the team of Monty Hill and Andy Cagle. Cagle was on the rod when he caught a 52.15-pound blue catfish to lead the Big Fish honors on day one. That weight held up on day two to give them the Big Fish honors for the tournament.
“We were anchored down in 5 feet of water,” explained Hill. “We caught it in a stump field on a piece of mullet. When we are fishing in the stumps we take a leader about 2 or 3 feet long and add a 6/0 circle hook. We put a 3-inch float about a foot above the hook. We add that leader to a swivel on the mainline and a weight to the swivel to pin that rig to the bottom.” Hill and Cagle added a 30-pound fish on day two fishing the same way.
More results can be found on the Cabela’s King Kat Facebook page.
Cabela’s King Kat spokesman Darrel Van Vactor was pleased with the tournament. “Some of us predicted it would take 250 pounds in two days to win,” speculated Van Vactor. “It took 217.20, a great weight of fish anywhere you go. We saw some fantastic fish, but I think the thing that impressed me the most is the quality of these fish. These Santee Cooper fish are fat, healthy, their color is good, and everything is good about them. We are not that fortunate all across the country to have the pristine fishing that we have right here on Santee Cooper Lakes.”
Cabela’s King Kat travels next to Decatur, AL. Anglers will fish Wheeler Lake on the Tennessee River. Registration can be accomplished on the King Kat website for the March 19, 2016 event.