Santee Blues and A Surprise!

By Gary Turner

It was a little cold and windy as we pulled out of Goat Island boat ramp in search of some blue and flathead catfish. Today I had my good friends, Danny and Rafi, with me, as well as my longtime fishing buddy, Stacy. We were going out with my good friend, guide and often traveling fishing buddy, Capt. Dewayne Profitt of Takin It Easy Guide Service.

We looked around for a bit while Dewayne zeroed in on a school of catfish. Then we put out assorted baits, some of which are top secret, and it was only a couple of minutes before a rod went down. Danny reeled down on the fish and hooked up on it. We are using 6/0 BKK circle hooks and you reel down on them, so they slide to the edge of the fish’s mouth. Using circle hooks results in less gut hooked fish. We catch a lot of fish somedays, and we like to release all that are not needed for eating, so we try to be careful not to injure them. I have gone down a rabbit hole, back to the story line.

When I took Danny to Santee with us last year, he caught his first fish and naturally his biggest fish, so we were out to beat his best. He reeled hard and, even though the water was cold, and the fish were a little lethargic, it was still giving him quite the fight! When he finally got it boatside, Dewayne netted it. It was a little-over-20-pound blue catfish – a new personal best! Another rod went down, and Rafi was on. Stacy was manning the rods in the back of the boat and one of his went down.

Dewayne said, “Yeah, yesterday we got in the school and six rods went down at the same time!”

They were both reeling in their fish. Rafi got his in first and I swung it over the side of the boat. When you can see that the fish is hooked good and they are less than 10 pounds, it usually works well swinging them in. Dewayne was busy in the back netting Stacy’s fish that was over 25 pounds. I have lost a few fish swinging them in, and its best to always use a net, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!

Stacy and I love to try to beat each other out for the rods when they go down, but when we have friends who haven’t caught as many fish, we usually let them catch a bunch first. Danny and Rafi caught a boatload of fish that day! I mean, what I consider a boatload, over 30 big blue catfish. They decided they needed to go back home that night because they had so much work. So we all went to the Lake House in Santee for dinner and enjoyed a great meal with friends, then they drove home. That left Stacy and me on the poles the next day. Look out, the battle is on!

The next day it was colder and windier (it really is a word). We fished several spots, but the fish were not biting! Finally, around 11 a.m. we got a bite, then another. We only put out the front rods, and I had the left side, Stacy the right. The lines were drawn! The first four fish hit on my side! Then Stacy got one, and then I got a couple more nice blues. We put them in my Xtreme Bait Tank, 80 gallons, for culling and video purposes. My rod went down again, and I was sitting down in the enclosure, so Stacy was closer. He reeled down on it and it looked to be a good fish! I told him to turn on his GoPro and I turned on mine! I was happy he was getting a good fish on my side, lol. Stacy and I rib each other a lot; we’ve been fishing together a long time.

The day progressed and we continued to catch lots of good blues in the 10-to-30-pound range. With over 40 fish caught, some in the cooler, some in the tank, and some released, we had a great day on the water with Capt. Dewayne, but it wasn’t over quite yet. We were tied off to a stump with a down rod on the front left. We were both standing mid deck when that rod slowly bent down hard! I knew that bend! I looked at Stacy and said I’m taking that one! I turned on my GoPro and reeled down on it. It was not happy and started taking line! I got the rod out of the rod holder and tried to pull it off the bottom. We were surrounded by submerged trees 25 feet tall, and if he wrapped one, I would surely loose him! I pulled up and he pulled down. Bubbles came up, which is their last attempt at staying down. I was making ground on him now! Up he came, a beautiful large flathead! A trophy! I love catching flatheads! And that, my friends, was our trip to Santee!

Get with some of your friends and take a fishing trip. Whether with a guide or just on your own, GO FISHING! If you are local to me, give me a holler because I’m gonna do more Lanier, Carters, Oconee, and Sinclair this year than I have in the last few years. By the way nobody has written me wanting to go fishing yet. Will you be the first?

I’m not sure what next month’s article will be on but remember, if you have an empty seat on your boat that needs filling, shoot me an email and maybe it will be about fishing with you! You can reach me at My YouTube is growing slowly: @takemefishinggary if you want to see some of the videos.

Please remember, if you are not going to eat it, don’t kill it.

“Tight Lines and Squeelin’ Reels put a Smile on my Face Every Time.” Gary Turner

You can reach Gary Turner at