• July 2016 - Volume 11, Number 7


    Inshore or on the reefs, Little River fishermen have plenty of flounder to catch.

    In the middle of the summer, the Grand Strand’s public waterways fill up with just about every type of vessel imaginable, from kayaks and jet skis to the 200-foot gambling ships loaded with vacationers looking to hit the jackpot. Folks looking to take home the top fishing prize should troll their way to Little River’s flounder grounds, where a bona fide reward is lurking below the water’s surface. 

    Summer’s heat sends Kerr Lake’s crappie to deep water, where they take up residence around brush piles. They’re not difficult to find, and these guides will help you on the catching end.

    Not everyone awakens on a balmy, summer morning excited about crappie fishing, but if you do, chances are you are privy to a selection of deep brush piles that are sure to be laced with prime panfish when they evacuate shallow water in search of cover. 

    Two Wrightsville Beach guides explain that the dark hours are prime times to target speckled trout, especially with noisy, topwate lures.

    The sun hadn’t showed when Jamie Rushing launched his boat at Wrightsville Beach. While it is important to launch early from any boat ramp from Topsail Beach to Carolina Beach — just to be able to find a parking space for their tow vehicle and trailer— the main reason he was leaving early was for the summer speckled trout bite.

    Find the right spot, and you can load the boat with Cooper River bream this month.

    Wyn Mullins prepared a perfect summer setup for catching big fish. His boat was anchored on a Cooper River channel ledge at sunrise, just upstream from the junction of a small creek. An abundance of weedy growth flourished on the shallow flat between the two runs of deeper water, creating a perfect shallow point harboring miniscule aquatic munchies, attracting a variety of fish species.

    The New River is a summer destination for anglers who want to beat the head and catch a smallmouth bass in beautiful surroundings.

    Last July, the New River appeared similar but also different than 42 years earlier, the last time I floated the stream in a canoe. It was 1974, and local residents and conservation organizations were fighting a plan to dam the pristine river that crosses the northwestern corner of North Carolina. Back then, no guides carried fishing parties on the river, and no businesses catering to anglers and paddlers had sprouted along its banks.

    You don’t have to speak Spanish to put the smackdown on plenty of Spanish mackerel in South Carolina waters.

    One of the surest signs of summer along the South Carolina coast is when droves of Spanish mackerel show up in the nearshore and coastal waters. In reality, these fish start showing up as early as late April when migrating up from the south. 

    Harkers Island may be out of the way, but its waters hold some of North Carolina’s best flounder this month.

    Noah Lynk was headed to the Cape Lookout rock jetty one morning when a higher-than-expected tide caused him to change his plans and stay inshore.

    Like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, anglers never know what they’ll get during bottom-fishing trips — except lots of fun and fish.

    “This is between you and me!” Jeff “Shug” Schucker shouted at a fish 150 feet below the keel of Kevin Sneed’s 31-foot Pro Kat. “And you better believe I’m gonna win this one!” 

    Targeting suspended catfish is the ticket to great hot-weather action on South Carolina’s Lake Monticello.

    Fishermen know Lake Monticello is a world-class trophy catfish destination, but this deep, clear lake offers much more than just huge fish. Catching big numbers during the summer makes this 6,800-acre lake a top destination for quality and quantity catfish. 

    Vertical jigging around standing timber is the ticket to great summer crappie action on South Carolina’s Lake Russell.

    With summer in full swing across the Upstate, many anglers have thrown in the towel when it comes to fishing. Hot temperatures, hot water and recreational boat traffic just don’t make it worth the effort to get on the water, at least during the day.

    Be there before daylight, and your chances of catching a limit of speckled trout at the peak of summer’s heat are greatly enhanced.

    The fall trout bite seems a world away in the sweltering heat of July, and the hot spring bite is a fond memory. But for anglers in the know, some spectacular trout fishing is just as available now as it is during those other seasons. The trick is to get on the water early.

    Spanish mackerel around Charleston lead the coastal fishing options this month. But there's also some fantastic freshwater options, including big Montecello catfish.