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Catfish Trio: 3 Southern Hotspots

While channel cats are widespread throughout the South, these three locations get top billing.

Catfish Trio: 3 Southern Hotspots


South Carolina

Contact: Kevin Davis (

Hot Spots: During hot weather, work the long, sandy points near deep water in lakes Moultrie and Marion, as well as mid-lake humps and along shallow ledges that fall into deep water. Hard-bottom areas of sand and gravel are best.

Try This: The seven-mile-long diversion canal connecting the two lakes is ground zero for some amazing channel catfish action during summer. The current in the canal attracts the forage and the catfish come to feast.


Georgia/South Carolina

Contact: Jerry Kotal (

Hot Spots: Lake Russell is a large, deep lake with an abundance of points, humps and ledges. Local guide Jerry Kotal will fish a point or hump for about 15 minutes. If action is slow, he races to the next target.

Try This: Redworms, small chunks of shad and nightcrawlers are productive, but catalpa worms rule on Lake Russell. On one trip with Kotal, we baited eight rods with catalpa worms, cast them out and all eight were loaded up with channel cats within the first minute.



Contact: Richard Simms (

Hot Spots: The Tennessee River immediately below the Chickamauga Dam, and continuing several miles downstream, is the best area for summertime cats. Drift the river current, especially areas with a rough bottom.

According to Capt. Richard Simms, certain areas will produce better from day to day depending on the water level, which varies based on Tennessee Valley Authority power generation releases. He catches most of his channel cats in 6 to 16 feet of water. If you find a hot section of river, drift it multiple times.

Try This: Capt. Simms loves fishing chicken breast for channel cats. Use the least amount of weight possible on light line (8- to 10-pound test) to free-drift in the current. Capt. Simms’ biggest complaint is that sometimes the channel cats bite too fast when he’s trying to target bigger blue cats.

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