• Volume 21 Number 4 - April 2014

    Features

    Trolling or casting both produce plenty of striped bass in the Albemarle Sound this month.

    Stripers are one of the winter staples for fishermen in Albemarle Sound, and Capt. Karl Helmkamp of Fistful Charters knows all about them, especially how to catch them.

    Treat this Catawba River reservoir like a big creek and target bass in the cuts and pockets.

    Bass pro Tracy Adams has made no bones about the fact that he’s most comfortable fishing for bass in shallow water. He loves picking up his baitcasting rod and flipping or pitching soft-plastic crawfish baits into a couple of feet of water, setting the hook when a nice largemouth grabs hold.

    Cover is king when Santee Cooper’s spawning bass move into the shallows.

    For most of the year, the Santee Cooper lakes’ fish camps and public boat ramps get plenty of visitors, all kinds of people, from alligator hunters in the fall to duck hunters in the winter, to the massive year-round catfish fleet. Yet April is dominated by crazed anglers with bigmouth on the brain. It’s right in the middle of the bass spawn and a perfect time to dial in on a true, trophy largemouth.  

    With the spawn approaching, Bulls Bay trout are big and hungry this month.

    Few people need a calendar to know when spring arrives; the warm weather, new foliage and blooms erupt across the landscape. And for light-tackle saltwater anglers, the spring green is just the marker needed to slide back into the salty waters of Bulls Bay to latch into a snaggle-toothed yellowmouth.  

    One of the ocean’s most-colorful fish will fall for colorful baits as the spring season kicks off.

    Peanuts. Gaffers. Slingers. Bailers. Goats of the sea. These all reference the fish known as dolphin or Mahi-Mahi. They are the most plentiful of offshore sportfish, and though they primarily course the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, by late-summer, anglers can catch these fish in nearshore waters around wrecks and natural reefs. 

    Wilkes County call-maker has ideas about working birds that are especially difficult.

    Very few wild turkeys are “easy” for hunters, but some are easier than others. Those gobblers that gobble at your first call on opening day and sail down within shotgun range fit in this category, along with the ones that respond the way any turkey hunter would expect them to and wind up 30 yards off the end of your shotgun barrel within 30 minutes.

    Look for ledges and fish finesse baits vertically in prespawn and post-spawn; fan-cast them at height of spawn.

    While thousands of spectators will marvel at the professional bass fishermen on Lake Hartwell in next year’s Bassmasters Classic, most will be bass-fishing enthusiasts who’d love to catch more fish on the sprawling Savannah River reservoir.

    Changes in turkey behavior should force South Carolina hunters to change their tactics as April progresses.

    Hunting turkeys effectively through an entire season is one of the biggest challenges for a hunter — emphasis on effectively. 

    Get away from the crowds and use late-season tactics early on to get a jump on a public-land gobbler in the Carolinas.

    In many places, spring means many things to many people, but for the diehard hunter who calls the Carolinas home, it’s full of sitting, listening and stalking a gobbling tom. It’s turkey season, and the millions of acres of public land across the two states are perfect places to bag a longbeard. Even though public lands receive a lot of hunting pressure, a hunter who knows the ins and outs of hunting them has a good chance to bring home a 20-pound bird.

    Get away from the crowds and use late-season tactics early on to get a jump on a public-land gobbler in the Carolinas.

    In many places, spring means many things to many people, but for the diehard hunter who calls the Carolinas home, it’s full of sitting, listening and stalking a gobbling tom. It’s turkey season, and the millions of acres of public land across the two states are perfect places to bag a longbeard. Even though public lands receive a lot of hunting pressure, a hunter who knows the ins and outs of hunting them has a good chance to bring home a 20-pound bird.

    Fish visible shoreline cover and cash in on Randleman’s treasure trove of largemouth bass.

    If February and March are months when a queen-size bass might show interest in a lure, April is the time that anglers have the best chance to encounter truckloads of chubs.

    Feeding up as the spawn approaches, big female trout are suckers for the right baits in the right spots at the right times.

    Redfish are our No. 1 year-round saltwater target, really the only inshore fish we catch with any consistency during the coldest months. But now with the warming water, baitfish and other forms of forage return to shallow water, and so do the trout. Spotted seatrout, aka speckled trout, the favorite eating fish of many Lowcountry anglers, come out of hibernation and feed on finger mullet, crabs, tiny shrimp, mud minnows or anything else they can get their big mouths around.  

    Lipless baits are important weapons when Kerr Lake bass start to move toward the shallows.

    When the warm, afternoon sun warms the shallows to the 45- to 52-degree range, the underwater world at Kerr Lake, aka Buggs Island, becomes a stage for largemouth bass. They’ll start transitioning from their winter haunts to staging areas near their spawning grounds and stick around until warmer water triggers their instinct to spawn.

    April means great bass fishing across South Carolina, but especially at Lake Hartwell and the Santee Cooper lakes.