• June 2016 - Volume 23, Number 6


    Brunswick County’s inlets, creeks and marshes fill up with flatfish this month; here’s how to find and catch your share.

    As the days grow longer and warmer as May gets ready to give way to June, flounder fishing along the Brunswick County coast from Holden Beach west to the South Carolina state line gets tough to beat.

    That’s when finger mullet and menhaden, favorite meals of flounder, begin to stream through Mad, Tubbs, Lockwood Folly and Shallotte inlets into rivers and creeks and then spread across the marsh.

    Tired of catching short flounder, head to the reefs and livebottom off Topsail Island for fish big enough to slide a fillet knife through.

    Short flounder got you down? Tired of busting your hump to catch a keeper? You may need a change of scenery.

    A good GPS and reliable coordinates for the artificial reefs and live bottoms off New Topsail and New River inlets will steer you in the right direction — to flounder that are more likely to be keepers and possibly the biggest you’ve ever caught.

    Fan-cast cut baits on ends of flats to attract Lake Wateree’s blue catfish after dark.

    Lake Wateree is fast becoming known as a “go-to” location for big catfish, with more and more anglers headed for the Midlands lake in search of big blues. Rodger Taylor of Rock Hill’s Catfish On! Guide Service has been fishing the 13,864-acre lake for years, and beginning in June, he likes to start fishing after dark.

    Fishermen working the Northeast Cape Fear River will do plenty of damage on panfish this month.

    Webster’s dictionary defines “idyllic” as “charmingly simple or picturesque.” If any place in the world meets that definition, it is the Northeast Cape Fear River. With banks shaded by cypress, gum, oak, hickory and pine trees wearing wigs of Spanish moss that waft in the gentlest breeze, it is one of the one of the most-beautiful blackwater rivers in North Carolina. Some stretches run miles with few boat docks or other signs of human habitation, adding to its draw as a bream-fishing destination.

    The Broad River offers plenty of great water for smallmouth bass that hardly anyone knows about, and it’s not tough to make them bite, according to one guide.

    “Do you see that line between here and the bank where the eddy meets the current? Cast upriver at about a 45-degree angle to the other side of that line and reel in quickly,” guide Mike McSwain said on a hot June day while fishing on the Broad River. 

    McSwain’s client did as instructed, and as the Mepps spinner got to where it was supposed to, something slammed the lure, the rod bent over, and the spinning reel’s drag sang out.

    Fish Shearon Harris Lake’s extensive grass beds and fill your cooler with feisty, tasty shellcrackers.

    Overshadowed by its notoriety as a trophy bass and crappie lake — the once-belittled white perch even is beginning to draw a crowd ­— it’s no wonder the redear sunfish or shellcrackers in Shearon Harris Lake feel a bit left out. 

    While the wealth of aquatic vegetation at the 4,100-acre lake has been credited for the rise of its coveted population of larsgemouth bass, the grass has also helped shellcrackers become the dominant panfish.

    Lowcountry anglers can target tasty, often-overlooked flounder instead of just catching them by accident.

    Warm breezes, sunny skies, reasonable temperatures; everybody loves floating the creeks, inlets and bays around Beaufort and Hilton Head in June. 

    Cobia, speckled trout and spot-tail bass — aka redfish — are all actively feeding right now, but for those people who love the taste of flaky, white fillets, there is hardly a better piscatorial target than the feisty southern or summer flounder. 

    A Carolina Beach woman has flounder pinpointed for summer trips in the lower Cape Fear River; here’s what she looks for....

    When Amanda King arrived in Wilmington a while back to attend college, she knew the Cape Fear coast was a special place and that she would probably be staying. She wound up working at the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher running their surf-fishing seminars and similar projects, and doubling as a fishing guide who specializes in leading ladies and kids on trips exploring the Cape Fear River downstream from Wilmington to Southport from her Carolina Beach home.

    Drifting live baits and trolling plugs and spoons is not just for fishermen targeting striped bass

    Colt Bass slipped a hook through the nose of a gizzard shad, and with a flick of his wrist, flipped the baitfish into the water. He started paying out line from the level-wind reel, with help from a planer board that was sliding to the side, away from the stern of his center-console boat, engaging the reel handle when the board was at the proper distance.

    Follow stripers as they leave Lake Murray’s shallower areas and head for the deep water where they’ll spend the summer.

    Striper fishing patterns change on Lake Murray as spring gives way to summer, but the constant is that fish-catching opportunities remain excellent — as long as you adapt to changes in the weather and water that result in fast-changing striper behavior.

    Popping-cork rigs are effective at attracting trout and reds to suspended baits and lures

    Call it trick-or-treat fishing. No Halloween connection here, but popping cork rigs are definitely designed to trick fish into finding a treat — one that’s actually more of a trick itself.

    Georgetown, S.C., anglers can start targeting tailing redfish this month as the flood-tide marshes fill up with water and redfish.

    June is one of the best months to enjoy South Carolina’s outdoors by targeting a finned foe with a hook and line. And for purists willing to give up modern technology for custom, feathered creations, the ultimate adventure takes place this month, when an angler’s spot-tailed prize is served tails up in just inches of water. 

    Speckled trout are a big target this month for Palmetto anglers, and we'll tell you one of the best ways to limit out. But if you're a bass angler, you can find some great smallmouth fishing without heading to the Upstate.