• March 2017 - Volume 24, Number 3


    What does spring gobbler season hold this year in the Carolinas? In both states, things are looking up.

    Ben Franklin was really onto something. Back about 250 years ago, he opined after the fact that the wild turkey was “a more respectable bird” than the bald eagle chosen to become a national symbol.

    No, he didn’t suggest that the turkey replace the eagle, just that it was a “true original native” of American, “a bird of courage” that might chase a redcoat soldier out of its farm yard if one dared to enter, while the bald eagle was basically a lazy scavenger.

    March begins spawning time for bass across the Carolinas; here’s how to target them.

    Anglers see it, bass feel it and nature signals the change. The sun and warmer temperatures have arrived, and bass are headed to the shallows to begin their annual spawning ritual.

    Not every bass in a given lake makes the move at the same time; instead, waves of bass will flood the shallows looking to make a bed and begin spawning.

    Plenty of bass will be staging and biting this month at Falls of Neuse Lake when all the planets align. Learn how to get the most from one of North Carolina’s top fisheries.

    Around the Raleigh-Durham area, some disagreements exist among anglers about which of three local lakes — Shearon Harris, Jordan or Falls of the Neuse — offers the fishing for largemouth bass.

    For tournament bass fishermen, the answer has been clear the past several years. For numbers of fish and the probability of landing a lunker, Falls of the Neuse draws the highest approval rate.

    Sparkleberry Swamp in the upper reaches of South Carolina’s Lake Marion offers some great early spring fishing for big largemouth bass.

    Lake Marion is not only the largest lake in South Carolina, but its 110,000 acres are undoubtedly some of the most unique along the eastern seaboard due to their complexity and abundance of varied habitat. And the early spring offers prime conditions for some of the year’s best bass-fishing in the cypress- and tupelo-covered wilds of the lake’s upper end.

    The saltwater for 30 miles on either side of the North Carolina-South Carolina state line are full of redfish year-round, and they’re ready to put winter behind them and start feeding this month.

    Saltwater fishermen in both Carolinas have one stretch of water they should both be familiar with, especially when the winter doldrums begin to break up and the water begins to warm, when baitfish that have wintered in the warmer waters of marshes and creeks begin to stir.

    And when that happens, redfish that winter in the protected waters around Little River Inlet, from Dunn Sound on the South Carolina side to Shallotte Inlet on the North Carolina side, also begin to stir. 

    Fishermen who can keep up with changing conditions stand a better chance of catching bass on South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell.

    March is a transition month, as winter gives way to spring, and that goes for a lot more than just the weather, bass-fishing for example.

    Chase Simmemon of Fair Play, S.C., is a veteran fishermen who does most of his damage on Lake Hartwell, knows that fish are heading to the spawn, but exactly where they are on any given day can be a big question mark.

    For the most-consistent numbers of crappie in South Carolina, tight-line trolling this month at Lake Greenwood might be your best bet.

    Unlike many tournament anglers, when Matthew Outlaw of St. Matthews goes crappie fishing, he likes to catch a lot of crappie. So, rather than concentrating on just getting 10 to 12 bites from bigger fish in a full day’s fishing, he’ll go for numbers and cull his biggest fish from them — a strategy that has worked many times.

    Deer season is in the rearview mirror, but there’s plenty of turkey hunting action to which to look forward. And we’ve got all the information you need to tag that longbeard.