• February 2009 - Volume 16, Number 2


    February is prime time to catch some of the Carolinas’ biggest crappie.

    It is the lake that nobody has ever heard of.

    Well, not exactly.

    Lake Wylie’s reputation as a great early spring reservoir is deserved, according to bass pros from both Carolinas.

    If you’ve been around largemouth bass for any length of time, you’ve come to learn and dread a term that’s often used to describe fishing during the spring and fall: “transition.”

    Habitat is the key to finding rabbits, and that means hunting cutovers.

    A few years ago when I worked for a central North Carolina morning-edition newspaper, I’d drive home early each morning after the 1:15 a.m. final edition was put to bed.

    Lower Cape Fear and Elizabeth rivers provide spotted seatrout action.

    Other than catching them, one of the best aspects of chasing speckled trout in winter is the best bite often occurs from noon through mid afternoon.

    The sound of hounds on a hot trail at night is one that many South Carolina hunters enjoy.

    What is the oldest sporting tradition related to using hounds to pursue wild game? Likely that would be fox hunting, which has at least a few centuries of history in Europe.

    Lake Jocassee’s deep, clear waters offer a southern view of Great Lakes fishing.

    Even without the fishing, the scenery around Lake Jocassee is breathtaking.

    Indian summer and clear water combine for smoking redfish action near Charleston.

    We could see dozens of broad-shouldered, copper-plated fish zipping frantically past our hull in the transparent salt creek. Dolphins had surfaced a few hundred yards away, and combined with the sight of our shadowy, out-of-place flats boat, that had the redfish worked up into a panic. For the reds, the clear water was a two-edged sword: easier to spot prey, easier to become prey.

    The Davidson River is N.C.’s top trout stream, but catching lunkers takes time, skill and effort.

    “Where should I start?” said Dale Brentrup as donned our waders at Pisgah Forest Fish Hatchery parking lot.

    The Neuse River holds a plethora of game fish at its feeder creeks.

    Capt. Mike Taylor launched his boat at a nondescript boat ramp at a tiny creek that is one of many Neuse River tributaries. His gleaming new Ranger 2400 Bay boat passed a silent review of sunken pleasure craft and abandoned workboats, which had found their final resting places in a gum and cypress swamp that held little more than a trickle of tannin-stained water.

    The ocean is wide open this month for fishermen who like bottom-dwelling delicacies.

    Cold water isn’t always bad. The cooler ocean tempertures of February lure bottomfish much closer to the shoreline to spawn around shipwrecks, livebottom areas, and artificial reefs.

    Wateree’s big blues are a great winter fishery for hardy anglers.

    Catfishing during the winter was once considered foolishness by the majority of fishermen in South Carolina.

    What's biting on the Neuse River this month? Just about everything.