America's 5 Hottest Fishing Spots

Back in the 1940s, the Santee and Cooper Rivers were dammed to create Lakes Marion (110,000 acres) and Moultrie (60,400 acres). By the 1960s, the two lakes were famous for some of America's greatest largemouth and striper fishing. The fishing is still great, but this isn't your father's Santee-Cooper anymore. There's a new hero in these lakes: catfish. We're not talking kittens. These are freshwater's version of tuna: big, bruising, tackle-busting heavyweights that have helped change the image of their species from something you drop into a pan to something you might hang on the wall. Anglers here consistently catch cats going 20 to 50 pounds. Sweet Spots: In Lake Moultrie along the North Dike wall between Harry's Fish Camp and the dam, and around the islands in Lake Marion What's Hot: Cut herring on a Carolina rig Local Advice: Come with stout tackle. "We don't use stringers to bring in our catch here," says Mike Doster of Harry's Fish Camp. "We use wheelbarrows." Prime Time: Night fishing: June through August. Day: November through December Record Fish: World records for Arkansas blue (109.4 pounds) and channel catfish (58 pounds) More Info: Harry's Fish Camp, 843-351-4561. Santee-Cooper Country, 803-854-2131; www.santeecoopercountry.org