Cruising for Catfish

A few of us decided to head to the Tail Race Canal near Monks Corner, SC to drift fish for some catfish. The Pinopolis Dam impounds the Cooper River and creates Lake Moultrie. When they release water from Lake Moultrie the water flow can be pretty swift but the movement of the water usually will help the fish bite.

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Since we decided that we would be drifting, I decided that I would be slowly cruising for catfish with the Cruise 12. Equipping the Cruise I would put an Orion 25 Cooler in the large tank well of the Cruise to keep my drinks cold and if lucky a catfish or two for dinner. Two rods setup with what my fishing buddy calls the ‘Bump Rig’; the main line is attached to a 3-way swivel, attaching a short length of 20/25 lb leader material with a 3/0 circle hook, to the remaining part of the 3-way swivel tie on a 4 lb monofilament leader which will have a bank sinker attached. Sinker weight will depend on the water flow; on this day I managed to get by with an ounce size sinker. The purpose of the lighter weight line with the sinker is in case you get hung up on the bottom you will be able to break the lighter line and only lose the sinker but save the rest of the rig. For bait; I planned on using shrimp on one of the rods and on the other some cut herring.

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I paddled the Cruise straight out from the boat ramp to the far side of the canal and started my drift. Drifting with the current I drifted through the ‘No Wake’ zone. Once I passed the buoys identifying the end of the ‘No Wake’ zone the water occasionally would be rocking and rolling because of the boats and pontoons would open up their motors. The Cruise 12 handled the unexpected waves created by the boats exiting the ‘No Wake’ zone. I must have drifted about quarter of a mile past the buoys.

Drifting this far, I decided to slowly paddle back to my starting point since I did not have any bites. The paddle rhythm had to be slow enough to ensure that the lines remained as straight down from the Cruise. Just as I past the buoy markers slowly paddling across the line into the ‘No Wake’ zone the rod with the cut herring started to scream with line being pulled off. I grabbed the rod and the battle was on. In a little time I had the Ego net ready and a nice catfish in the net and into the kayak. Examination of the catfish revealed that I had a nice 21 inch channel catfish.

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After admiring the catfish, I decided to let the fish live for another day. As soon he slapped the water there was a huge splash about 5 feet from me. I looked in the direction of the splash and did not see anything. Then I scanned the top of the water and saw an alligator surface about 20 yards from me. I added some more herring and continued in the direct of the launch. I made a few more drifts with no more luck. It was starting to get dark so we decided to call it a day.

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Overall I’m very pleased with the performance of the Cruise 12 in speed, tracking, and stability. The large tank well with the bungee system kept the Orion 25 cooler secured in place. The Cruise for this trip proved that this kayak is an ideal fishing platform for the angler that is looking at keeping tackle to a minimum.

Tight Lines

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