• May 2014 - Volume 21, Number 5


    The birds change, and so should North Carolina hunters and their tactics as the end of turkey season approaches.

    Spring turkey season arrived for North Carolina hunters a couple of weeks ago, so it’s been long enough for the drive to tag a longbeard to falter when normal tactics didn’t produce. But instead of hanging up their camouflage and trading their calls for a fishing rod or golf club, the last two weeks of the season can be the best time to lure a gobbler into range and should never be avoided for a true feathered fanatic. 

    Topwater action is unparalleled when big blues arrive in the Cape Lookout hook this month.

    The water inside the hook at Cape Lookout was absolutely flat calm as the sun peeked over the dunes and around the lighthouse on a windless May morning. Capt. Noah Lynk of Harkers Island was idling along the edge of deeper water beside the shallow flat that runs along much of the inland side of the hook when a couple of small ripples well up on the flat caught his attention.

    Live baits, artificials will put plenty of reds in the boat for anglers who follow a few rules.

    All kinds of changes take place for redfish and the anglers target them when spring arrives in the Charleston area. The water temperatures typically hover in the 60s, making for ideal conditions to pursue reds in the shallows. Massive conglomerations of baitfish and shrimp are moving back into the estuaries, and reds are ready to fill up. 

    Soaking bait and sight-fishing are great ways to tackle a cobia off North Carolina’s coast this month.

    You can’t time it by the tides, the moon, or even the calendar, but as sure as the swallows return to Capistrano, cobia will show up this month from Cape Lookout to Cape Hatteras.

    Beaufort area fishermen square off with spring battlers using three main techniques — all of them effective.

    The Broad River and springtime cobia are subjects so intertwined that fishermen rarely reference one without mentioning the other. When conditions are right, it seems everyone with a boat is cruising around, scanning the surface or soaking their best baits on the bottom, hoping to hook-up with the bell of the ball, Miss Cobia. 

    Cover a lot of water and keep your eyes peeled, and a Lake Jocassee monster might be in your future.

    For more than 20 year Monty McGuffin of Westminster has been prowling the woods and waters of  the Upstate and beyond as host of The Carolina Outdoorsman television Show. Most of his televised pursuits involve stalking fish, and one particular fish and one particular location have earned him the reputation as a trophy hunter: the oversized largemouth bass of Lake Jocassee.

    Shellcrackers are spawning this month, putting them within reach of most Lake Tillery’s fishermen.

    Rusty and Rosco Bowers of Albemarle got hooked on fishing during their high-school years, but not in the manner conceived by the tackle industry’s “Hooked on Fishing” program.

    Concentrate on main-river channel on lower end for best Fishing Creek crappie fishing.

    Fishing Creek Lake is a relatively small body of water, approximately 3,000 acres, downstream from Lake Wylie and upstream from Lake Wateree on the Catawba River chain. It’s so small that some fishermen don’t know much about the lake’s crappie fishing, but those who do keep up with the big-time action.

    Shearon Harris Lake remains an amazing place for trophy largemouths — if anglers put in the time to learn its secrets.

    Ask a Triangle-area bass fisherman what North Carolina lake he’d fish if he had one day on earth to throw a Texas-rigged worm, and nine of 10 probably would choose the smallest major impoundment within driving distance of Raleigh.

    Great fishing for Lake Murray sunfish doesn’t end when the spawn does.

    Perhaps the most underrated and overlooked fisheries at Lake Murray is the shellcracker. Many anglers enjoy the outstanding fishing for striped bass, largemouth and catfish, but often, the average angler knows little about the shellcracker. 

    choolies show up first in nearshore Grand Strand waters, but big Spanish mackerel aren’t far behind.

    May, the fifth month, is the true beginning of warm weather in South Carolina. It’s May Day, with flowers blooming and new life erupting across the state, for horse-racing fans, it’s the Kentucky Derby. But anglers in the Palmetto State chase a different kind of fortune, while wearing less frilly attire. May is the Spanish mackerel derby, a rite of passage along the southern end of the Grand Strand. 

    Get away from the crowd for the best flounder fishing artificial reefs have to offer.

    Capt. Jamie Rushing headed offshore through Masonboro Inlet, his 21-foot boat gliding smoothly over glassy seas with his livewells full of menhaden and mullet in anticipation of a banner day.

    When bass start to move shallow, Tucketown fishermen can load their livewells.

    The first stop one day last May was Rick’s Restaurant in Denton. It’s a place where loggers, retirees, office workers, telephone linemen, cops, truckers and yes, fishermen, gather for the finest country breakfast in the southern half of Davidson County: scrambled eggs, ham, sausage or bacon, flapjacks, plenty of biscuits or buttered toast, jam, and waitresses who make sure to keep your mug filled with steaming coffee. They’ll even fix you any kind of biscuit you want to take before you walk out the door.

    Lake Murray shellcrackers and Murrells Inlet Spanish mackerel are two speices that make big debuts in May.