• April 2015 - Volume 22, Number 4


    Southeastern counties have North Carolina’s fastest-growing turkey flocks, according to the NCWRC.

    Back when North Carolina was moving wild turkeys all around the state and in from other states, some of the last counties to get imported gobblers and hens were those in the coastal plain. They were considered to have the least turkey-friendly habitat across the state, well behind the Piedmont, the mountains and counties along the Roanoke River.

    April is a great month to target boat docks for largemouth bass in North Carolina.

    When pro bass fisherman Andy Montgomery approaches a boat dock with a fishing rod in hand, he’s like a painter looking at a brand-new canvas or a sculptor looking at a big hunk of clay.

    Put a canoe or kayak into the upper Dan River and you’re likely to run into plenty of smallmouth bass.

    Mention the Dan River, and most residents of North Carolina immediately think of Duke Energy’s coal-ash spill near Eden in February 2014. That accidental discharge into the river made and continues to make headlines, and because of the dangerous elements and compounds that wound up in the Dan, many people believe the entire river is contaminated.

    Quiet down, change calls or change positions to get the drop on a tom that stops out of range and won’t come any closer

    Hunt turkeys long enough, and every hunter will learn that some gobblers are just more difficult to kill than others.  A few years of experience usually enables hunters to call reasonably well and have a suitable sense of woodsmanship. Many take gobblers with reasonable regularity.  

    Big stripers will move shallow on main-lake points at Lake Hartwell this month, and nothing catches them a big Bomber.

    Mack Farr scratches his head when he talks about Lake Hartwell’s great striped bass fishing. A well-known guide who lives in Buford, Ga., Farr spends most of the spring fishing Hartwell, an hour or so up I-85 from his normal home waters of Lake Lanier.

    Don’t ignore saltwater ponds in April. They’re full of fish, especially big flounder.

    A handful of anglers fishing a pond in Pawleys Island reeled in some grass, pine straw and a small pinfish, prompting a comment from an onlooker: “This pond isn’t worth fishing.”

    More than 51,000 acres of public hunting, much of it full of turkeys, awaits hunters this spring.

    In North Carolina, the Uwharrie River flows through an ancient mountain range that offers a modern challenge for turkey hunters. Between the urban sprawl of Charlotte and the Piedmont Triad, hunters escape to rolling woodlands of the 51,551-acre Uwharrie National Forest and the surrounding farm lands and forest. Once here, they can test their skills against a worthy game bird. 

    Find the shallow flats that are holding catfish on Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion and fill your cooler this month.

    Fishermen come from all over to visit the Santee Cooper lakes every year, many to target the great numbers of catfish and the possibility of catching a trophy. And with fish shallow and spawning, spring is a perfect storm for the jumbo whisker lover.

    Play the wind correctly, find a creek where the herring are living, and grab hold of some great bass fishing.

    The Albemarle Sound is one of the two largest estuaries in the North Carolina and is home to a world-renowned population of striped bass, which receive most of the attention given to the sound’s fishery.

    Look for clear water, avoid still water, change lure colors and cover a lot of ground in your search for spring specks.

    As March rolls into April, changes begin in the inshore waters of South Carolina that bring a smile to the faces of fishermen. Shrimp, menhaden and yearling fry begin showing up in creeks, and speckled trout become more active and feed more aggressively.

    Sticking with basic calls and setting up where you can see a turkey approaching are two tenets Lombard held in the woods.

    We sat spellbound as the late Jack Lombard of Mountain Rest talked about the birth of modern turkey hunting in South Carolina. He spoke softly, without pretense. At 86, a few months before he passed away, he had nothing to prove. The competitive ways of youth were long behind him. His eyes had a faraway look as his thoughts went to a life filled with turkey hunting success.

    Great spring fishing for speckled trout in the Neuse River usually gets cranked up in April.

    Capt. Joe Ward of Pollocksville has a special relationship with the Neuse River and the creeks that flow into it. He has been fishing the area since childhood, and during a long career in civil service at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, he often towed his boat to work to get in a few hours of fishing in the afternoon. He knows most of the holes and flats in the creeks around Cherry Point and has a good understanding of when fish should be in what areas.

    Trolling spoons, casting plugs or pitching live bait are a few ways to put tasty Spanish mackerel in your cooler.

    Spring saltwater fishing along North Carolina’s southeastern coast begins in April when the water temperature warms enough to draw Spanish mackerel up from Florida where they spend the winter. It also helps that the baitfish that headline their menu also return.

    Expanding forage base, burgeoning aquatic vegetation has led to an explosion in Lake Wateree’s bass fishery.

    Lake Wateree has long been respected as a great place to catch hefty largemouth bass and good numbers of chunky fish. In 2014, the stars aligned and the spring fishing exploded with bigger fish. 

    Learn how several expert hunters deal with hung-up gobblers, while ponds along South Carolina's coast are among the best places to start your spring fishing season, especially if you love flounder.