Nederhoff and Brown win Cabela’s King Kat on Santee Cooper

Will those catfish be shallow or will they be deep?

Deep or shallow was the question as sixty-two catfish boats from 12 states planned their tournament day strategy to fish the popular big fish lakes of Marion and Moultrie in Santee Cooper Country. The question of shallow or deep arose because of a cold front that arrived in the area just in time to change patterns.

Tournament day started off windy and cold. Morning temperatures that were in the 30’s had risen to the 70’s by weigh-in time. Water temperatures were in the mid 50’s.

The March 10th 2018 event was staged out of Black’s Camp and Restaurant. Anglers competed for a total payout of $15,500 and the opportunity to qualify for the 2018 Cabela’s King Kat Classic to be held September 14 and 15, 2018 on the Ohio River in Jeffersonville, Indiana. This year’s classic will feature a guaranteed payout of $110,000 in cash and prizes.

First Place


Claiming first-place honors, and braggin’ rights till’ next time, was the Alabama team of Trevor Nederhoff and Josh Brown. They weighed 148.3 pounds to claim the top honors and take home the $5,100 prize. They added a $300 bonus for using Driftmaster rod Holders on their boat.

“We didn’t get on the water until Friday afternoon,” reported Nederhoff. “We scouted around quite a bit and noticed that the bait was in the deeper water. We could not find any bait at all in the shallows, the flats.”

On tournament morning the team motored across Lake Moultrie from Black’s Camp to target fish in 30 to 40 feet of water.

“We moved in and posted up on a shallow point,” continued Nederhoff. “We cast out into the deeper water. It produced fish all day, it was a steady bite all day. When the wind picked up in the afternoon it negated our original plan to stay put.”

“Our first fish was in a little cove where we were trying to get out of the wind,” said Brown. “We were anchored up until about 11 o’clock. Then, in our second spot, we were fishing a point that went from 10 feet of water to about 50. That’s where we got our first over, about a 40 pounder.”

When the wind came up and it got too dangerous to double anchor. The Alabama team started dragging baits.

“We threw out a drift sock and went on one long drift,” explained Nederhoff. “We hit a 50 and a 30 pounder in that long drift. The 3.0 Demon Dragons really produced for us. I don’t know what it is about them, but we caught nearly every fish on them. We were using red/white today, mainly because I lost my green one.”

“We were ecstatic at that point,” concluded Brown. “We caught about 12 fish on the day, all on cut blueback herring.”

Nederhoff and Brown are currently leading the points race which will have a total payout of $20,000 for 2018.

Second Place


Richard Chaplin of Summerville, South Carolina and James Girdler of Covington, Georgia weighed 144.10 pounds and earned a check for $2,650.

“We just got lucky,” stated Chaplin. “I kept watching the weather right up to the last minute and picked what I thought was the best spot. We were on fish and it paid off for us.”

The team drifted all day in 8 to 10 feet of water in the Rock Pond area. They used the standard Santee drifting rig with a slinky weight. All their bites came early.

“We did not get a bite after 11:00 am,” reported Chaplin. “Everything happened before that.”

“It was windy and really rough,” added Girdler. “We were trying to stay out of the wind. We were drifting cut bait—big gizzard shad and river herring. It was a pretty quiet day except for the bass fishermen all around us. I never saw another catfish boat all day long.”

Third Place


Carl Morris, Jr of Johnstown, Ohio and Rob Parsons of Mt. Vernon, Ohio took third place. They weighed 138.28 pounds and earned $2,000.00. They caught their fish on river herring and perch, stating that the river herring was best.

“It was pretty windy out there,” said Parsons. “But it was a fun day. We caught at least 20 fish on the day. The bite was early and then died in between. Late in the day we found a spot and started drifting.”

“Four of the 5 fish we weighed came between 2:20 and 3 o’clock, added Morris. “We just happened to stop on the right little point. We saw some fish there and went back to them. We caught a 38 a 35 and a 28, bam, bam, bam. It seemed like the harder the wind blew the better the fish were biting.”

“We caught a lot of fish this trip,” concluded Morris. “We got here Wednesday evening and caught a few; Thursday and Friday we caught more fish; We had a blast. We have been here before, but this is the first time we really put it together. We are ready to come back to Santee Cooper.”

Fourth Place


Michael Passmore and Joshua Skinner, both of Central, South Carolina, claimed the fourth-place spot. They had a total weight of 128.40 pounds and earned $1,300.00. The team fished Lake Moultrie, finding their fish in shallow water early, but moved out to 20 feet of water by the end of the day. They fished close to structure using gizzard shad and river herring to catch 7 fish that included a nice flathead.

Fifth Place


James Saxon of Iva, South Carolina and Richard Wimmer of Princeton, West Virginia took fifth place with 123.24 pounds. They earned $850.00.

The team fished around the Russellville area using both anchoring and drifting techniques. They caught 7 fish for the day in water depths ranging from as shallow as 3 feet to as deep as 23 feet, using perch for bait.

Big Fish and the Duck


Big fish honors and a check for $1,240 went to David Stanley and Travis Tilley of Madison, NC. They weighed one fish, on one bite, but it was good enough for Big Kat. The Santee Cooper blue weighed 56.66 pounds.

“It was a pretty rough day,” said Stanley. “The wind was tough and it is just a hard day to set there and the poles don’t move all day. We only had the one bite. The fish was shallow, about 8 feet. It bit on perch.”

“It was just a slow day except for the duck bite,” joked Tilley. “We had live bait out and here and here on Santee they have these diving ducks. Something pegged a pole and David set the hook and started reeling. The fish came to the top of the water, and it turned out to be a diving duck. The duck let it go, it was just kinda’ interesting.”

The remaining top ten

6th Place $700 Shane Queen and Ric Helms – 122.04 pounds.

7th Place $600 Dennis Dulin and Lee Hamilton – 118.24 pounds.

8th Place $400 Travis Bradshaw and Steven Johnson – 106.16 pounds.

9th Place $350 Clay Henderson and Jason Wolfe – 103.08 pounds.

King Kat officials made a special thank you to Kevin Davis and Blacks Camp for supporting the event in every way possible.

“We are excited to be back at Blacks Camp and Santee Cooper,” said tournament director, Jeremy Coe. “This lake always shows out and proves it is a top spot as one of the all-time great catfish fisheries in the United States. “We always look forward to coming back!”

Information on the championship and other King Kat activities can be found on their website at Anglers can follow the trail on the Cabela’s King Kat Facebook Page.

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