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Monster catfish caught in Lake Moultrie

April 12, 2017   By Willard Strong in

At Hill’s Landing on the Diversion Canal in Cross, Paula Haney of Anderson shows her record 113 pound, 8 ounce Arkansas blue catfish caught in Lake Moultrie on April 1, 2017.

It’s spring in Santee Cooper Country, the five counties that touch the shores of lakes Marion and Moultrie.

If not already boats and motors and personal watercraft are being cleaned up and tuned up for the boating season that for many, extends now through October.

Fishing is in full swing, with bream, crappie, largemouth bass, striped bass and the Arkansas blue catfish now being ardently pursued by anglers far and wide. Speaking of the “big blues” found in the lakes, another monster fish was caught this month.

On April 1, Paula Haney of Anderson and her husband, Steve, were fishing in Lake Moultrie. She caught a 113 pound, 8 ounce Arkansas blue that has been certified as a new state record by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. It bested the 109 pound, 4 ounce cat caught in 1991 on the Tailrace Canal below Santee Cooper’s Jefferies Hydroelectric Station.

It’s no secret that catfish angling has supplanted the famous striped bass on the lakes, which can forever claim that the two reservoirs are the home of the world’s first striped bass fishery.

The drought of nearly a decade ago greatly affected striped bass, and steps have been taken in recent years to bring it back to prominence. For example, it’s unlawful to take or attempt to take striped bass from June 1 through Sept. 30. Catfishing, for example, is allowed year round.

But, we still honor the prized game fish some call “rockfish.” The Clarendon County Striped Bass Festival in Manning is April 21 and 22. There’s a parade, a carnival, vendors, music and much more. For more information go to

There are so many more events this spring and summer to enjoy. The Santee Cooper Counties Promotion Commission’s 2017 visitor’s guide lists them. The guide has info on so much more to do around the lakes, including fishing opportunities that could land you and your catch in the record books. Their website is  If you’re in the area, visit them at 9302 Old No. 6 Highway, Santee, SC 29102.