Most roads leading east across North Carolina will eventually end along the banks of the Pamlico Sound, an inland sea that separates the mainland from the Outer Banks. It’s in the waters of this pristine sound, 80 miles long and 30 miles wide, that the biggest specimens of red drum spend much of their time inshore.
Dating back more than a half-century, the waters of southern Brunswick County have had a reputation for producing big flounder. Old-timers smile as they tell tales of the doormats that used to be wrestled from around the pilings beneath the shrimp houses at Shallotte Point in the Shallotte River.
It’s July, and the weather is perfect for cruising Lowcountry waters, casting to our plentiful gamefish. Unfortunately, while the weather is perfect for cruising and casting, it is not necessarily perfect for catching lots of spot-tails, speckled trout and flounder.
It’s known as “The Jewel of South Carolina” and Lake Murray indeed shines with many facets. Located west of Columbia, the lake created in the late 1920s offers tremendous diversity, and as bass pros demonstrated during last year’s Forrest Wood Cup in July, Murray indulges a variety of fishing styles.
Catfishing on the Santee Cooper lakes has morphed into a year-round quest, but summer is tops for as providing the year’s most-diverse catfishing opportunities. Fishing is literally three-dimensional, with blue, channel and flathead catfish all on a great bite. Fishermen can fish shallow or deep, day or night, in either lake or the Diversion Canal, and catch big numbers of cats or big cats.
Ask any angler what he or she wants more of and the answer will be simple and emphatic, “to catch more fish!” Spanning 32,500 acres just north of Charlotte, the inland sea known as Lake Norman gives fisherman the opportunity to do just that.
Summertime thoughts commonly turn to beach getaways, but the sun-driven heat leaves us adding an umbrella to that picture. And while we’re on the comfort kick, how ’bout some food? Sounds like a nice vacation, but shelter from the swelter and something for the belly also defines the attraction of lily pads for largemouth bass.
When the temperature begins to creep into triple digits, many fishermen seek shelter along the veins that run through South Carolina’s Pee Dee region. These black-water streams flow gently along, providing the lifeblood for fauna and folks alike. Swollen tupelo and cypress line the shoreline of this pristine tannic water that many gamefish call home.
On Fontana Lake, water temperatures in June and July cement the summer fishing season. While a few fish can still be found in and around the shallows — usually only early and late in the day — most have retreated to deeper, cooler water in the 10,230-acre lake west of Bryson City.
Dead in the middle of the summer, Charleston anglers have something just as hot as the weather to target. Bait-stealing sheepshead are crushing baits and doing battle in around wooden, concrete or steel structures in waters all around the city. It’s time to put a smackdown on a heavy stringer of over-sized striped bandits well within the historic reaches of Charleston.
Summer bass, like the one landed by paddleboarder Amy Boyer, are waiting in Lakes Hartwell and Murray. And along the coast, redfish are among the options to keep anglers busy.
Photo By Photos by Phillip Gentry and David A. Brown.