||Jason on his first catfishin' trip
We are secretly converting him to redneck
One of my Christmas gifts was a gift certificate for a catfishin’ trip on the Pee Dee River with fishing guide Robbie Burr of Pee Dee Fishing Adventures. I was excited to get this gift, but had never really heard much about catfish on the Pee Dee River. I mean I knew the river had some catfish, but we always go down to Santee to fish for catfish in the summer. I guess catfishin’ the Santee is kind of an embedded mindset when I think of going catfishin’. I was eager to see how a catfishin’ trip on the Pee Dee would pan out.
If you’ve read these blogs, then you know my schedule has been kind of hectic lately as the wedding draws near and as a lot of time is going in to our “Food Plot Journey”. For these reasons, it was difficult for me to actually schedule this trip. Robbie is in high demand and finding a time when I could break free and go proved to be difficult. This year’s reoccurring snow and cold weather also made scheduling this trip easier said than done. However, we finally got a date that we both had open and I booked the trip and prayed for a day with decent weather.
The crew that I rounded up for the trip was Richard “Big B” Blakeney, Coach Mangum, Jason Fararooei and me. Both Big B and Coach Mangum are well educated on catfishin’, but Jason (The WeHuntSC.com videographer) had never been before. We all wanted to see how Jason handled his first catfish and the overall trip in general. For a non-southerner, he did pretty well. Though, Jason did manage to fall asleep one time when we were moving the boat. Since he fell asleep, I got some good video of exactly how strong the gel in his hair is! Lol! Also, you’ll see Big B imitating Pageland’s very own “Smiley” in the video as he was wearing a toboggan and a hat. You have to be from Pageland or have ridden through Pageland at some point to understand that one. So this was the crew that you’ll see in the video later in this entry.
Ultimately, the weather turned out perfect. We met Robbie at a boat landing at 8 in the morning and got everything together and headed out. We would end up fishing in two different locations…one shallow water spot that didn’t have much current and then another location that was deeper that did have a stronger current.
I was surprised at how clean, quiet, and scenic the river was. We put in at a small landing and slipped quietly through an access creek that met the river and within 5 minutes we were out in the open water. We almost had to stop in the creek a few times because Big B kept saying he swore there were some bream in the creek, but somehow we convinced him to continue on to bigger waters! It’s just hard for Big B to pass up stopping and trying to find a bream bed. Being out on the water, we almost felt like we were in unchartered territories because hardly any other boats were on the water and it was quiet and calm for the most part. If you’re use to going to Santee and having to wait at the ramp to put in, use to seeing a lot of boats out on the water, and generally having the feeling that you’re competing with a lot of other fishermen, you should consider the Pee Dee sometime. There was no feeling of the area being crowded with other fishermen and/or boats …at least the area we were gave me this feeling. It was almost as If we had the whole river to ourselves. This was a unique feeling that added to the overall quality of the trip.
Robbie was a great guide and from talking to him and watching him operate his rig, it didn’t take long to figure out that this wasn’t his first rodeo. Robbie handled all the setup of the rods, reels, anchoring, etc. He took care of the whole nine yards. Of course we helped him with anything that we could…we weren’t going let him do all the work. He knows exactly what needs to be done and was on top of things all day long. Robbie has his boat customized for catfishin’. That is, he cut out some sections and made it easier to move freely across the boat + he’s got a jet engine on the boat which allows the boat to get into extra shallow water (if need be).
Throughout the day we caught a couple of fish at each location we that we fished. The catfish seemed to be more active in the morning than they were in the afternoon. We were bottom fishing with shad as our bait. We would move around to different locations and drop 3 anchors so that we wouldn’t spin around when the wind blew. We had about 8 rods out of each side of the boat at any given time and we were just watching the tips of them waiting on one to take a quick surge downward.
||The "Cheater Hook"
One neat trick that I learned on this trip was something Robbie called a “cheater hook”. Robbie ties a treble hook onto the larger circle hook and lets it hang about 3 inches below. When he puts bait on the hook, he’ll put the larger circle hook into the “meatiest” part of the bait and then hook the “cheater hook” a few inches into the opposite end of the bait. This way if a catfish pecks at the big hook, but misses, you still have a chance at landing him on the smaller treble/cheater hook. You’ll see in the video where Jason (whom I’m calling terror-squad in the video) caught a fish on this “cheater hook” and you’ll hear us talking about it when I say “it paid off this time”. Throughout the day we caught about 14 fish and I think about 4 of them were on the “cheater hook”…so I’m glad that Robbie had our rig set up this way. While this may be a common practice for many, I’ve never used a set up like this. I guess we live and learn right! Though, if you aren’t using this rig, I suggest you give it a try sometime and see if it doesn’t pay off.
Over the course of the day we caught a lot of fish and I’ve got some of those catches meshed below in the video to give you a feel for what was going on. At the end of the day was when Big B reeled in the biggest catch of the day... a 19lb cat while we were anchored up in the middle of the larger body of water. While a 19lb cat was pretty big to me, Robbie says that they frequently get them way bigger on the river.
Overall the trip was great and Robbie really took good care of us. I think he even laughed at some of my corny jokes so you know he can handle just about anybody on a boat. We fished, talked, solved some of the world’s problems, learned some things about catfishin’, ate a high class ham sandwich & lance cracker lunch, and had a great time!
If you want to know more about Robbie Burr’s guide service and Pee Dee Fishing Adventures check him out at www.pdfishingadventures.com. Not only will he put you on some fish…he’ll even clean them for you too! Now that’s my kind of guide.
At the end of this video, I’ve got a short clip of the catfish being cleaned so if you are squeamish then you may want to click stop!