Guide Rodger Taylor of Catfish On Guide Service competed the catfish "grand slam" in three hours one night recently, anchoring the catch with a 25-pound flathead.
"Right now, all three species are biting extremely well, but all three are found in different types of habitat and in some cases require different baits to be successful," said Taylor (803-328-9587), whose first target is typically channel catfish, which are caught using traditional drift-fishing techniques around the mouth of creeks in 10 to 22 feet of water.
"For channel cats I'm drifting about 0.7 miles per hour using cut perch or bream as bait," he said. "Baitfish are beginning to feel the effects of the slightly cooler weather we've had and are moving back to the creeks and the channel catfish are moving with them."
"The blue catfish are more oriented to the main-river channel, and I'm catching them by drift fishing humps and ledges along the Catawba River channel and back onto the adjacent flats," he said. "The same type cut bait is working well, and the drift speed is about the same as for channel catfish."
Catching big flatheads requires a little more effort and precise presentation Taylor said.
"The big flathead bite is very good right now, both in the Catawba and South Fork arms of the river in the upper part of the lake," he said. "Flatheads can be caught further downlake, but I think this is the best bet for this time of the year. I look for bends in the river channel with shallow flats near deeper holes of water. The best flathead fishing is after dark so I set up right at dark and get my baits out and let everything quiet down. Usually about an hour of waiting is required for the flatheads to begin to bite."
Taylor is using live bait of various varieties for the flatheads with live white perch in the 6- to 9-inch class being one of his favorites.
Taylor uses Shakespeare's Tiger Rods for big flatheads because of their light tips and heavy backbone. He uses a 6/0 to 8/0 circle hook and sinker up to two ounces to keep the live bait in place – but he does use a float on the leader as he would on his drift fishing rigs. "Catching all three species in one trip makes a great evening of fishing," he said. "Fortunately, Lake Wylie has all three species in good numbers and excellent sizes, and all three are biting very well right now and will continue to do so through September."