• February 2016 - Volume 23, Number 2


    When deer season ends, North Carolina rabbit hunters have run of the thickets and briar patches when cottontails thrive.

    After North Carolina’s deer season ends Jan. 1, hunters still have a couple of months to target waterfowl and different small-game species.

    The high end of the tide cycle can provide some great fishing for reds in the waters around Georetown.

    When February rolls around in South Carolina’s tidal marshes, the pressure is on for redfish. With groceries scarce and hundreds of anglers ready to rip some lips, they become easy targets for those using the correct tactics. But the typical low-tide approach may not always be the best opportunity during the dead of winter.

    Take advantage of federal efforts to thin the burgeoning population of snow geese.

    When the talk turns to snow geese, most North Carolina hunters immediately think about a long trip to the great plains of North Dakota, Nebraska, Texas, Manitoba or any of the other states and provinces along the central flyway.  

    The best fishing for winter crappie in South Carolina may be in the most-obvious locations. Learn to find them.

    It may seem like the dead of winter to most anglers as January slowly rolls over into February, but in the deep depths of most lakes and reservoirs across the Palmetto State, the first urges of spring spawning are beginning to bloom, which means crappie, which never go completely inactive in the winter, begin to stir.

    Expanding population of wild hogs gives South Carolina hunters a leg up on year-round sport.

    Hog hunting is a very popular sport in South Carolina and one that hunters can enjoy throughout the year, around the clock within certain parameters. 

    But there are hunters who hunt hogs — and then there are hog hunters.

    For a mixed bag of trout, reds and black drum, there’s no place better this month than the bays, creeks and marshes north of Bald Head Island

    Running through the Basin and Second Bay to the creeks beyond Buzzard Bay, Christian Wolfe of Seahawk Inshore Charters weaved his bay boat around submerged mud and oyster rocks and through marsh islands like there were highway markers and a dotted center-line. 

    Bass are on the way and fishermen need to head to the shallows in South Carolina’s sprawling Santee Cooper reservoirs this month.

    The vast amount of shallow water in the Santee Cooper lakes has distinct advantages for early season largemouth bass fishing. Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie have experienced a strong revival in recent years, thanks to abundant natural vegetation and productive bass recruitment, including multiple vigorous year-classes.

    Fisherman can experience great spring fishing long before spring rolls around anywhere else.

    I was surprised to be fishing so close to the docks and in such shallow water. It was February; big bass were supposed to be suspended in deep water, barely moving, let alone feeding. But bass pro Hank Cherry of Maiden had other ideas.

    A great mast crop in 2014 set the stage for unbelievable trophy bucks taken in North Carolina in 2015.

    We should have seen it coming. 

    The fall of 2014 featured the second-largest mast crop on record in North Carolina, and it was followed by a predictable drop in the deer harvest that season. 

    South Carolina hunters battled poor conditions but still killed some great deer during the 201 season.

    It’s a wonder that South Carolina deer hunters killed any deer to speak of during the 2015 season that ended Jan. 1. Reports of big bucks were down through the season’s first month, then the rains came, with flooding forcing the closure of a good amount of Lowcountry and Midlands acreage with the peak of October hunting and the rut right on the horizon.

    Drop-shotting will put bass in the boat at Belews Lake, where the water runs hot even in the winter.

    When bass pro Tim Grein of Winston-Salem fishes Belews Lake, he approaches the 3,864-acre reservoir with a mindset that’s different from when he fishes most other North Carolina waters.

    Patrick Williams' 200-inch Rockingham County buck was among this season's Deer of the Year. And Lake Gaston produced two state-record blues.