• May 2008 - Volume 3, Number 5


    A little know-how is all it takes to put you on the happy hunting grounds for South Carolina spadefish.

    South Carolina sportsmen can often enjoy the best of both the hunting and fishing worlds rolled into one.

    The annual cobia run attracts fishermen to a 13-mile section of river upstream from Port Royal Sound — with good reason.

    This much is certain — when you pull a cobia into the boat, it’s best to be keenly aware of the potential consequences.

    The main problem for southeastern red drum anglers is where they want to fish.

    The time of year Cape Fear-area anglers wait for through a seemingly endless winter is here when the calendar indicates May has arrived.

    Warm fronts, longer days and the swollen Gulf Stream have warmed the Atlantic Ocean’s waters at the North Carolina coast this month. The heat from the sun promotes the growth of microscopic organisms, which fuel the food chain. Baitfish and shrimp begin multiplying and gather at North Carolina’s inshore waters.

    Cape Lookout’s offshore waters provide plenty of gaffer mahi action during May.

    Half the Sea Sun Ticket’s trolling lures were still dry when a shiny Penn International howled its “got-one-on” song last May.

    The clicker ratcheting of the big trolling reel parlayed a sense of urgency — someone needed to be strapped in a fighting belt to handle this fast-running fish.

    It’s not too early to start thinking about this fall’s dove hunt and what will make it great.

    Standing in the shadows on the edge of the field, we knew we had gotten lucky. How lucky we were was not obvious yet, but judging by the number of doves roosting in the treeline to our immediate left and the powerline that crossed the road 200 yards in front of us, we were all justifiably excited. My sons, 14-year-old Clay and 11-year-old Will, pointed out this flock and that flock, and it was all I could do to encourage them to get to our stand before the official shooting time arrived.

    A Southport captain and his son land spring Spaniards with multiple-rig lures.

    The air was heavy and hot as the inside of a Turkish steam bath, typical summer weather at Southport’s waterfront.

    The only way to defend against copious sweating was to sit in air conditioning or blow-dry it away with a fast boat ride. Yet despite the summer weather, for some anglers, it was about to become Christmas.

    Afraid of the dark? Fishermen have nothing to fear on this scenic mountain reservoir — unless they’re scared of big bass.

    For many anglers, fishing under a dome of glistening stars on a quiet summer night represents their best chance at catching the bass of a lifetime.

    Little River is a hotspot for some of the Palmetto State’s best flounder fishing.

    There’s a stretch of water so far removed from the rest of the Palmetto State that it’s almost an afterthought among the state’s saltwater anglers.

    May heralds the season of excellent action for fly-rod bream in smaller Upstate lakes.

    Want in on some hot bedding bream action? Try fly fishing an overlooked Upstate lake.

    Anglers won’t find better postspawn bass fishing during May than this Roanoke River lake and its woody structure.

    Lake Gaston is arguably one of the best lakes in North Carolina on which to fish for spawning bass. It’s big, full of fish, the kinds of little pockets and coves with stumps that attract spawners, and the water level is stable, which keeps fish on the beds for a longer period of time.

    So is Gaston also one of the state’s best postspawn lakes?

    Weakfish are a second saltwater trout, in addition to specks, that are found at inshore waters this month.

    Weakfish don’t get any respect.

    Tar Heels get more excited about spotted sea trout, probably because anglers catch lots of them from the grass beds of Pamlico Sound during the warm season and get runs of big specks at Cape Point each winter.

    Late-season wild turkey hunting can be a successful experience with the use of special tactics and trickery.

    Chasing late-season gobblers can be one of the sport’s greatest challenges. It also can be productive and rewarding, despite popular sentiment among many turkey hunters.

    The 2007 drought affected access to water, changed lake habitats and often affected fish. If the same happens in 2008, recovery could take 10 years.

    Jason Quinn, a Lake Wylie resident and a highly successful professional bass angler, called his wife last year to get information about North Carolina’s drought during a break at an Arkansas conference .

    “My wife said all the boat ramps at Lake Wylie were closed,” he said, “all but one.”

    May is the month that flounder anglers across the coast long for, particularly those who frequent Little River.