It’s big fish time on Lake Wateree, and for Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) that means anchoring up to catch a monster Lake Wateree blue catfish. Rodger reports that when conditions will allow it he is starting his trips in the morning by anchoring along the river channel, but this time of year he is concentrating on the area from about Taylor Creek down to Beaverdam Creek – instead of going up to the top of the lake as at some other times of year. He will usually anchor along the edges of the river channel in about 10-15 feet of water and fan cast to cover a variety of depths. If there is sufficient current one anchor will keep the boat stationary, but without current to position the boat he will put out a second anchor to maintain his orientation.
Windy conditions call for a change of plans as Rodger says he is not going to fight the weather, and in those cases (or later in the day) he will concentrate on Santee-style drifting mid-depths from about the lower part of the State Park down to Colonel Creek. He does not head into the very deep water on the extreme lower end this time of year and says the area he fishes has plenty of underwater structure. On the first drift or two Rodger can usually tell how the fish are positioned, and he says the first drift is usually the most important for determining where to fish. Rodger says that on any given day it is rare for fish to be equally distributed between the channel, drops and flats – more common is for the fish to be concentrated in one area. On subsequent drifts he will concentrate on the most productive stretches and possibly even avoid altogether areas that did not generate bites.
Right now gizzard shad is Rodger’s bait of choice for all applications, with white perch a second option. He reminds anglers that the bite for big blues will get better and better as temperatures drop.
Lake Wateree is at 96.2% of full pool and water temperatures remain in the upper 50s.