• September 2016 - Volume 23, Number 9


    After-dark fishing isn’t the only way to get into redfish on North Carolina’s Pamlico Sound and Neuse River this month. These guides shine the light on daytime action.

    Once upon a time, anglers headed out of Oriental, taking a pounding from afternoon waves on the expansive waters of the Neuse River and Pamlico Sound in search of the sundown bite that characterized the huge adult red drum of summer.

    Special early season gives North Carolina waterfowl hunters a jump-start on their time in the blind.

    “Feeling the teal” is an expression used by supporters of UNC-Wilmington’s athletic teams. Teal became the school’s official color in 2009 after serving unofficially for many years prior. Greenish blue or bluish green, depending upon your perception, it is an iridescent color present in the speculums of blue-winged and green-winged teal.

    These two tiny waterfowl species lure early birds like Paul Sasser of Greensboro, a dedicated hunter, to the marshes north and south of Wilmington in September. He says the four-hour drive is worth the effort.

    Be ready when opening day arrives, whether you’re hunting on private land or on a field planted by your state wildlife agency, and you’ll knock down more than just feathers.

    A lot of hunters enjoy beautifully prepared and managed dove fields because they know landowners who enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of a well-spent Labor Day weekend dove shoot. And a lot have just as much enjoyment hunting on public fields provided by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and S.C. Department of Natural Resources, experiencing the kind of shooting normally reserved for those with access to private land.

    Targeting deer on public lands in the Carolinas provides its own set of challenges, but nothing that an observant hunter can’t figure out — with these tips.

    Private land available for hunting is becoming more limited, with land conversion to suburban development growing fast.  And the price for hunting leases and recreational real estate continues to skyrocket, further handicapping an average hunter’s opportunity to harvest a deer. However, public-land hunting opportunities are steadily growing and hunters may want to consider going public this hunting season. 

    If you get permission to hunt a piece of land on the eve of deer season, don’t fret; there are ways a hunter can get up and running late in the game.

    Bagging a trophy buck in the thick, Carolina woodlands is similar to getting accepted at Harvard Business School. The probabilities are low, for sure. Big bucks don’t come easy anywhere, but a few dedicated hunters in the Carolinas take their share of truly remarkable deer every year.

    Lake Thom-A-Lex offers Piedmont anglers an alternative to the big Yadkin chain reservoirs when it comes to great bass fishing.

    For years, Lexington’s Chris Brown traveled 45 minutes or more to big, well-known lakes, including High Rock, Badin and Norman, to fish for largemouth bass, all the while bypassing a small body of water teeming with bass almost in his own back yard.

    From deer to bears to waterfowl, doves and small game, North Carolina’s public hunting lands have big variety

    The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission manages hunting and fishing 2 million acres for public hunting on 89 different game lands from the coast to the mountains.

    The Commission created game lands to offer sportsmen places to fish, hunt and trap, especially those who don’t own or have access to private property with good wildlife habitat.

    When the water begins to cool with the approach of fall, mullet and bull reds begin to head for South Carolina’s coastal inlets. When they get there, the collision marks some great fishing.

    Justin Carter likes to fish the Santee-Cooper lakes for largemouth bass, but he’s never done much targeting of catfish. That made the sight of his boat drifting sideways while dragging cut baits across the bottom of the ocean look even more out of place. 

    Hunting this fall on Wildlife Management Areas looks very promising for a variety of species. The S.C. Department of Natural Resources designated WMAs typically produce excellent results for a wide variety of species. Some WMAs are managed for specific species and others for a variety of game.

    Hunters need a WMA permit for these areas.

    Power-reeling huge jigging spoons is the ticket for stripers holding deep during summer’s hottest days.

    For two summers, some fishermen who target striped bass on Lake Hartwell have done their best to keep one of their hottest tactics secret. But bringing big fish to the docks and winning tournaments makes it hard to keep a secret because inquiring minds, especially those who didn’t win the tournaments, want to know.

    Follow the falling water to great September speckled trout in the waters around Masonboro Inlet and Wrightsville Beach, N.C.

    As he slowly motored away from the dock, guide Jot Owens laid out his game plan. Speckled trout are affected greatly by the tide, he said, and he wanted to work with it at several locations, explaining that shrimp and baitfish move up small creeks into the marsh when the tide is high, then move back out to larger creeks as it falls.

    It’s time to decide where you’re going to hunt, and we’ve got everything you need to know to choose the best public lands. Plus, you can find hunting tactics and fishing tips galore.