About 3 p.m. Saturday, Lake Wylie dropped a good 1,500 pounds. Two of them, in particular, making all the difference.
Jeff Manning and Michael Paciocco, or Reelin’ the Blues, won the latest Southeastern Catfish Club tournament on Wylie with a whopping three-fish weight of 98.99 pounds. A little more than two pounds better than Tightline, a team of series co-organizer Brian Snipes, Mason Brakefield and Brandi Snipes. Steve Whitley and Shane Owenby, fishing for 2nd String, finished third.
“We had a pretty good day,” said Manning, a catfish veteran who lives on the northern stretch of Wylie. “But it was cold this morning.”
In all, 28 teams made up of 71 anglers brought fish to the scales despite the 12-degree temperature at launch. They combined for more than 1,500 pounds of fish, all placed back into the water near T-Bones on the Lake after weigh-in. A North Carolina law allowing only one blue catfish at 32 inches or longer in the boat at a time, per person, means Manning and Paciocco had to bring in two 40-plus pounders “and a little fish.”
They caught another giant blue but had to let it go before weighing in.
“If we had kep that one we’d have probably had 116 pounds,” Manning said.
The big fish of the day went to 2nd String at 50.5 pounds.
Manning and Paciocco, defending series champions, notched their first win of the 2017-18 season and earned $1,615. The Jan. 6 event was the fifth of the season, the second on Wylie, which hosts the final series tournament May 5.
There were 35 teams fishing the recent event, 55 having fished at least one event this season. Southeastern Catfish Club is in its second season, a mix of anglers from the long-time Carolina and Catawba catfish clubs along with new competitors. The third place and big fish result put 2nd String up in first place for the season standings, more than 20 points clear of Trophy Hunter teammates John Terry and Jason Knight. Tightline sits in third place. Reelin’ the Blues moves up to fifth.
For more on the series or upcoming events, visit southeasterncatfishclub.com.