• May 2006 - Volume 13, Number 5


    Many coastal saltwater species are holding their own or increasing in numbers, but problems still plague some species, including flounder, gray trout and reef fishes.

    Numbers of North Carolina saltwater gamefish important to most anglers continued to improve or hold their own last year, according to the stock status reports of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries.

    Although other Pee Dee/Yadkin lakes have better reputations, one veteran catfish angler likes Blewett Falls for big blues.

    Sunset promised cooling conditions as Randy Willard pulled his truck off a dirt road into what served as a parking lot at the Wildlife Commission ramp downstream from Blewett Falls Dam.

    During the last phases of spring gobbler season, turkey hunters find more success if they alter calling strategies.

    The standard way for spring turkey hunters to go about luring in gobblers is to issue a variety of hen sounds with any number of calling devices.

    May is a transition time for striped bass, but Lake Murray anglers still can hook into big linesiders.

    Spring is a time of transition, and all good anglers realize the value of transitions in fishing success — those between day and night, shallow and deep water, cover and open water, etc.

    Anglers who want to load up on sheepshead had better learn how to “set the hook before he bites.”

    The morning sun was only a hint in the Eastern sky as Kevin Meetze eased his boat up to the rock jetties at Murrells Inlet and began looking for areas where sheepshead had grazed on the barnacles and mussels on the rocks.

    A Crystal Coast captain has adopted an offshore technique that may revolutionize inshore cobia fishing.

    The day began as a Spanish mackerel fishing trip. Donald Lane, captain of the Impulse, a 58-foot Carolina Custom sportfisherman, set out from the Morehead City municipal docks with rods rigged and ready with spoons and planers.

    When conditions are rough or the weather doesn’t cooperate, sheepshead can save the day.

    Sheepshead weren’t our primary target that morning, but when the conditions changed, they were a welcome substitute for the red drum we had initially planned to pursue.

    If you think there’s no harder time to catch largemouths than after the bedding season, try these tips from two of S.C.’s premier bass anglers.

    If there’s a time of year bass fishermen absolutely despise — besides the dead of winter — it’s those two or three weeks after the peak of the spring spawn.

    Tuna remain in S.C. offshore waters, but the Gulf Stream is beginning to bulge with northbound dolphin. Here’s how one Charleston captain targets these dynamic migrators.

    Droning like a Lowcountry air-conditioner in July, the twin diesel engines had an intoxicating effect.

    Their vibration and sound combined with the fixation on the trailing spread of baits lulled those in the cockpit to a stupor. When the action is slow, trolling can be as exciting as watching the grass grow. But there’s the other end of the spectrum, something this bunch of lethargic anglers was about to experience.

    North Inlet redfish are easy to catch in breezy May.

    "Tombo” Milliken knew the second he saw the tail swirl in the shallow water of Bulls Bay he was about to encounter a big school of large redfish.

    A veteran Crystal Coast captain’s family has tracked dolphin and tuna during May for three decades.

    Something inside Tar Heels draws us to the sea.

    For most of us, this fascination began during a long-ago summer when mom and dad filled the family chariot with suitcases, inner-tubes for riding the waves, cardboard boxes containing sunscreen, Nehi soft drinks, “Nabs” and moon pies, crammed the kids in the backseat and hit the blacktop for the beach.

    Piedmont anglers mostly have forgotten a wide stretch of the Cape Fear called Buckhorn, but a local bass pro says it’s a lunker largemouth haven.

    When Jeffrey Thomas was growing up in the Lee County town of Broadway, there was only one place to go fishing — at the outskirts of town, below the junction of the Deep and Haw Rivers, an old, abandoned dam impounded a section of the Cape Fear River.

    Although Jordan Lake has held the big-crappie crown among Triangle lakes for years, Fall of the Neuse has caught its neighbor.

    Falls of the Neuse Lake and Jordan Lake have grown up together — an hour’s drive apart on either side of the Raleigh-Durham area — since they were impounded more than 20 years ago.

    What’s the best big crappie lake in South Carolina? Two Lake Murray residents head north to Wateree when they want to land 2-pounders.

    How good is the crappie fishery at Lake Wateree?

    Well, Nick Babin and Brian Davis live in Gilbert at the south side of Lake Murray, and when they want to catch big slab crappie and lots of them, they drive completely around their home lake and head up the road to Lake Wateree, downstream from the town of Great Falls on the Catawba River, forming the border between Fairfield, Lancaster and Kershaw counties.

    May is when the angling world comes alive, especially at ponds and lakes where anglers can enjoy non-stop action with bedding bream.

    “See that disturbance in the water over there next to the bank?” Jeff Efird asked. “Try to get a cast in there.”

    Anglers who want to try smallmouth bass fishing at a lake that’s almost totally unpressured should consider a western trek to Nantahala.

    Would you like to catch smallmouth bass in about as pristine a spot as Tar Heel anglers can find?

    Last spring with Scott Swanson, I fished Nantahala Reservoir, nestled among the mountains of the Nantahala National Forest, a dozen miles east of Andrews.

    Winds will blow in May, and smart redfish anglers will use them to their advantage.