Black’s Camp Big Cat Shootout 2018 on Santee Cooper

Big Fish and Big Payout will rule the day

The December 7 and 8, 2018 Black’s Camp Big Cat Shootout features a two catfish per boat weigh-in. South Carolina rules allow one blue cat over 36 inches per day, per person so both catfish can be over 36 inches. ­

Davis describes the Shootout as a high stake, 100% payout, catfish tournament. He is fond of making the statement, “Big entry fees equal big payouts.” And, that is exactly what he wants this tournament to be. Last year’s winners, Spencer Hodges, and Robert Carter took home $7,750 based on the 31 boats entered in 2017. The more boats, the bigger the payout. Davis said he expected around 35 boats for the 2018 event.

Anglers will be allowed to fish Santee Cooper waters from the Pinopolis Lock up to the Rimini Railroad Trestle. The lakes of Santee Cooper have a reputation as a big catfish destination. Those waters are a perfect location for a major tournament and Black’s Camp Big Cat Shootout 2018 promises to be just that.

catfish, blue catfish, flathead catfish, tournament, Blacks Camp, South Carolina

Spencer Hodges and Robert Carter weighed in 145 pounds in two days of fishing to claim the top prize last year.

Kevin Davis, owner/operator of Black’s Camp, was inspired by the first Santee Cooper Monster Cat Quest put on by Chris and Mandy Gains, and Jimmy and Layla Dylyska Holbrook.

The Monster Cat Quest was an example of great organization and planning on the part of the tournament directors and unbounded enthusiasm displayed by the anglers. As Davis observed the operation of that tournament his own competition began to form in his mind.

catfish, blue catfish, flathead catfish, tournament, Blacks Camp, South Carolina

David Stanley and Travis Tilley weighed 140.5 pounds to earn the runner-up spot last year.

“The Santee Cooper Monster Cat Quest held at Blacks Camp in 2017 really inspired me,” wrote Davis in a Facebook post. “(It was) …the efforts of the people who put the tournament on, the sponsors that came aboard, and especially the fishermen. Never before have I seen a group of catfish tournament anglers so professional and organized. All fish were released unharmed and everyone carried themselves as professional fishermen should.”

With that statement and the recognition that the sport of catfishing was growing rapidly, Davis announced the Black’s Camp Big Cat Shootout 2017. And now, it is time for the 2018 version. Black’s Camp Big Cat Shootout 2018 will be the exact same format as the first event.

catfish, blue catfish, flathead catfish, tournament, Blacks Camp, South Carolina

Kelly Godbolt and Dustin Smith claimed the third-place spot with 139.3 pounds last year.

Just like last year, the fishing dates are in a new moon phase and Davis is expecting some giant catfish to be weighed in on both Friday and Saturday. Hodges and Carter weighed in 145 pounds in two days of fishing to claim the top prize last year. David Stanley and Travis Tilley weighed 140.5 pounds to earn the runner-up spot. Their bag included Big Fish of the tournament at 72.9 pounds. Kelly Godbolt and Dustin Smith claimed the third-place spot with 139.3 pounds. Calculating weights from the top three teams results in an average weigh-in fish of more than 35 pounds. Santee Cooper is a big fish destination.

The mandatory captain’s meeting is Thursday night at 6:00 pm. Only the boat captain is required to attend this meeting. Registration will begin at 4:00 pm on Thursday afternoon.

Fishing begins each day at 7:00 am. Anglers can be on their spot and ready to fish. Tournament rules indicate that boats do not have to launch from the weigh-in site at Black’s Camp. But boats DO have to be present at the weigh-ins. All teams must be in the weigh-in lines at 4:00 both days. The public is invited and welcome to attend.

Lots of media is likely and photos and video will be taken for stories and social media presentations. Davis asks that anglers be professional and presentable at the weigh-in. A professional “look” is important to the reputation and growth of the sport.

LODGING – Lodging is available at Blacks Camp, Hills Landing, Canal Lakes, and Harry’s. More lodging opportunities can be found by visiting www.santeecoopercountry.org.

ENTRY Fee -The entry fee is $500.00 per team with a maximum of four persons on a team. There is an optional $50.00 Big Fish Pot.

SUMMARY OF THE RULES (If you have any questions about the rules contact Kevin Davis)

  • Two fish per day weighed in.
  • Only live fish weighed in and released.
  • Only two fish in the boat at weigh in.
  • All cull fish have to be released when culled.
  • Tournament waters are from the Pinopolis lock up to the Rimini Railroad Trestle.
  • Eight rods in the water at one time only.
  • Anglers may have as many rods in the boat as they like.
  • Two hooks per rod max.
  • Hold a minimum 50 yards from any other tournament boat.
  • All SCDNR fishing and boating regulations apply.
  • Teams may have boats in the water ready to fish at 7:00 am.
  • Boats and teams do not have to launch or start at weigh-in site.
  • Boats do have to be present at both weigh-ins.
  • No fishing information or advice can be given by cell phone during tournament hours.
  • In case of a tie, winner goes to the biggest fish from the two teams that are tied.
  • Random polygraph tests may be given.
  • Cheating will not be tolerated.
  • Cheaters will be disqualified.
  • Cheaters will be given over to the Berkeley County Sheriff.
  • The boat captain is responsible for the boat, equipment, and passengers. The captain is legally responsible for accidents, death, damage to equipment. Blacks Camp and tournament officials are not liable or responsible for any negligence. By signing tournament registration form captain places all liability on himself.
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