• August 2007 - Volume 14, Number 8


    Will North Carolina deer hunters experience another record-setting year? The state’s experts give their thoughts.

    So what can Tar Heel hunters expect for the 2007 white-tailed deer season — more bucks, more does, better quality deer?

    Where and when should you try to catch an Atlantic billfish off the N.C. coast? Here’s the advice of some of the state’s expert captains.

    Six billfishes swim in North Carolina waters — Atlantic sailfish, white marlin, Atlantic blue marlin, shortbill spearfish, longbill spearfish, and swordfish.

    Our most common species are sailfish and white marlin.

    Tar Heel luremakers and bass pros popularized the sport’s most effective deep-water lures and techniques to use them.

    In the North Carolina county of Davidson, the welcoming signs rightfully could say “Welcome to Crankbait Country.”

    Along with Tar Heel, Blue Devil, Wolfpack and Demon Deacon fans, central N.C. is crankbait territory, a watery landscape where kids cut their bass teeth on deep-divers and adults earn fishing PhDs with a steady retrieve.

    South Carolina hunters should expect another great deer season.

    As corn begins drying in the fields and leaves prepare to fall, deer are scraping the velvet off their antlers, kicking off another exciting time in the woods for hunters in South Carolina.

    Dove hunting, South Carolina style, is as much about enjoying food and fellowship as fast-flying feathered bombs.

    More than a quarter of a century ago, a then-young fellow named Roy Turner called me and chatted a bit about some management efforts that he and his father, along with a few other hunters, had undertaken on family property.

    It was obvious that Roy was, as my Grandpa Joe would have put it, “as country as cracklin'cornbread,” and it was equally manifest that he was a sportsman to the core of his being.

    Walk the wild side this month for South Carolina’s swamp boars.

    Hog hunting never goes out of season in South Carolina.

    Some hunters enjoy wild hogs because they offer a change of pace from deer or other hunting sports. Some take part as a means of keeping their woodsmanship and shooting skills “sharp.” A final group does it simply because it’s their personal passion.

    Hot water has king mackerel spread from just beyond the breakers to 20 miles offshore. Here’s how two guides stop these voracious speedsters.

    Some people head to Las Vegas for fast action, while others head to the nearest NASCAR oval. If you are a fisherman, you ought to make plans to be on the ocean this month for adrenaline-surging action.

    The water and weather are perfect for a dip. Here’s what you need to do to pursue high-tide redfish on the flats.

    If you have ever seen a sailboat under full sail pass in front of a setting sun, then you have seen the sight that was in front of me.

    Swansboro sheepshead anglers find a comfort zone and cool fishing under bridges that never are too far.

    Capt. Jeff Cronk is one of the most energetic fishermen along the coast of North Carolina. A high school math teacher, he still finds a way to take clients fishing more than 120 days per year. He guides evenings, weekends and vacation breaks and knows his home waters of Swansboro better than most people know their backyards.

    Small-boat anglers have fun with dolphin off the Crystal Coast while gathering much-needed information.

    When most fishermen daydream of dragging in dolphin, they typically conjure:

    • Towering offshore hulls with Carolina-style flared bows deploying spider webs of lines from out-riggers stretching outward above their gunwales;

    • captains staring at the ocean’s surface from lofty flying bridges;

    • dolphin chasing dredges and daisy-chain teasers among the lures and baits trailing in the wake as part of extensive trolling spreads.

    Different drum give anglers good-eatin’ reasons to try bay waters north of Bald Head Island during August.

    During August at the southeastern N.C. coast, the heat’s usually so intense people don’t bother stopping at cafes for breakfast; they just scoop up fried eggs off the sidewalks. The humidity’s also likely to be so high gnats and mosquitos surf down rollers of sweat on arms and legs of anyone foolish enough to walk outside past mid morning.

    If you like instant action tinged with a little danger, try shark fishing behind a shrimp boat.

    “I already ran over and took a quick look to be sure there were still some shrimpers out — and there were,” Capt Matt Wirt said aboard his Sea Chaser bay boat a sunny August morning last year.

    During August nights, the Cape Fear weaves a magic web of peaceful slumber for some and river giants waiting to be caught for others.

    The Cape Fear River lowlands become unbearably hot each summer.

    It doesn’t help that the riverbanks are high and steep, blocking all but the strongest winds from giving relief from an overhead sun and humidity hovering near 100 percent.

    The Lower Saluda River provides cold-water refuge for rainbows and browns – with striped bass mixed in for good measure.

    The lower Saluda River is certainly the most improbable of South Carolina’s trout streams.

    The Chamber of Commerce describes the climate in the Columbia area as “subtropical,” and Spanish moss hangs in palmetto trees within sight of the river, which flows 10 miles from Lake Murray Dam to the confluence with the Broad River near downtown Columbia, forming the Congaree River.

    If the stars align like our experts think they will, Palmetto State hunters will be very happy this year.