• Volume 10 Number 2 - February 2015

    Features

    South Carolina hunters killed plenty of big bucks this past season, despite a huge acorn crop that promises to make next season even better.

    The 2014-15 deer season was an interesting one for Palmetto State hunters. In the Upstate, baiting is still a relative novelty, and with a huge acorn crop this past fall, it’s likely that big bucks didn’t have to travel too far to find something to eat. And that’s never good news for the troops in camouflage and blaze orange.

    Local experts believe it will take shallow and deep bass to win the Bassmasters Classic on Lake Hartwell.

    Texan Alton Jones won the 2008 Bassmaster Classic on South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell with three daily limits of five fish each that averaged slightly under 3 1/2 pounds per fish. 

    If you’re in the market for a new boat, this month’s fiberglass showcase is a great starting point to learn what the top manufacturers offer.

    Editor’s note: This is the first in a two-part Sportsman Boat Showcase. Next month, top aluminum boats will be featured.

    The ultimate fishing boat would be different things to different fishermen, depending on whether they exorcise their passion in inshore or coastal backwaters, lakes and rivers, or the bluewater deep.

    If you’re in the market for a new boat, this month’s fiberglass showcase is a great starting point to learn what the top manufacturers offer.

    Editor’s note: This is the first in a two-part Sportsman Boat Showcase. Next month, top aluminum boats will be featured.

    The ultimate fishing boat would be different things to different fishermen, depending on whether they exorcise their passion in inshore or coastal backwaters, lakes and rivers, or the bluewater deep.

    Fish the low end of the tide with pieces of shrimp and harvest a crop of winter black drum.

    February is the coldest month, and most North Carolina fishermen are either dreaming on the couch or gliding stealthily across a narrow lens of saltwater with a school of red drum in their sights. 

    February anglers liable to run into Jordan’s biggest crappie of the year.

    Although everyone knows the spring spawn makes crappie as vulnerable as carnival kewpie dolls, March and April actually aren’t the best months to catch trophy fish.

    Fish nymphs slowly through deep poles and hang on for some great mountain trout bites.

    There’s an explanation why mountain trout fishing is a year-round activity: although some fishermen like it hot, trout like it cold.

    Big bucks started falling as soon as archery season opened, and the action never stopped.

    Deer season opened back on Sept. 13 of last year, and almost instantly, big bucks started to fall. Within a week, a handful of enormous bucks had been tagged by archers across North Carolina, and the fun didn’t stop there.

    Targeting wild hogs after dark gives North Carolina hunters some extra adventure.

    When North Carolina started allowing hunters to target wild hogs after dark, Milton Turnage was one of the first hunters to do so effectively. He began offering guided night hunts as soon as he was set up, in January 2012, after honing his techniques by hunting them during daylight hours for years.

    Great catfish can be shallow one day, deep the next, and biting all the time.

    February’s weather can be tricky, with very cold but also very mild temperatures. That’s the primary reason why most experts use the term “transition” for catfish in the Santee Cooper lakes this month. Make no mistake, the action can be on fire during this cold month, but where the action is found is tracked directly to the weather.

    The number of South Carolina hunters who pursue raccoons with religious fervor may be falling, but that’s not stopping them from turning their hounds loose.

    It seems among sportsmen and sportswomen there are houndsmen, and then there is everyone else. Caring for, breeding, training and hunting with hounds takes a commitment seldom seen in today’s “instant gratification” culture. You are either a lover of hounds or you are not; there doesn’t appear to be any middle ground.

    Get on the right nearshore structure and fill up a cooler with tasty sheepshead

    A stubborn chill hung in the air, and the anglers aboard Capt. Rick Percy’s boat were anxious for the sun to the same. Percy was watching his depth finder, looking for a certain piece of structure on the Fish America Reef, and finding it, he pushed a button on his trolling motor’s remote control, and reached for the bucket of fiddler crabs.

    Carry a quick-shooting shotgun and take a bead on bunnies.

    A desert-tan, four-wheel-drive vehicle bounced along a farm road, a cloud of fine dust rising up from its tires. The car had a broad brush-guard on the front, a lighted roll bar on top and a half- dozen hunters seated high and low.

    Get an early start on Lake Wateree’s great bass fishing, and a rocky start wouldn’t be too bad.

    Frost is on the ground, waiting for the sunlight to warm it away; it’s a brisk 42 degrees, and the wind is whipping. Who wants to hit Lake Wateree for some bass fishing? Camden’s Dearal Rodgers does, and while he’s not alone, the number of anglers out in February is small compared to warmer times — a big reason but not the only one that he’s fond of fishing this month.

    Find the warmest water, fish slowly and enjoy some excellent fishing.

    It is so easy to sit inside and watch fishing shows on television during the frosty days of February. Armchair anglers can relax in warm living rooms and dream of warmer days on the water to come. 

    Can Donalds' Casey Ashley carry South Carolina's colors through to a Bassmaster Classic championship on Lake Hartwell this month? Local experts predict how the "World Series of Bass Fishing" will play out.