• April 2018 - Volume 25, Number 4

    Features

    Atlantic bonito don’t give fishermen along the Carolinas’ coastline must time to target them, but their annual spring run shouldn’t be missed by any nearshore angler.

    Bruce Trujillo looked at a dozen boats bobbing for position in the water around him. Choosing a path, he flipped a couple of Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow deep divers in the boat’s wake and began trolling for Atlantic bonito.

    When blueback herring spawn on Lake Hartwell this month, stripers and hybrid bass will pile into the shallows on red-clay banks to gorge themselves. Be there when you get there, and you’ve got some fast action at hand.

    It is nighttime — the crack of dawn is still and hour or more away — and South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell is dark. Chip Hamilton points the bow of his striper boat straight at the bank of a point jutting out into the lake and revs the engine briefly to drive the front of the boat up on the bank.

    Sinking, floating or suspending, this time-tested line of baits can put more fish in your boat — if yo know how to use them.

    Fish can be caught any number of ways, but MirrOlures hold a special place with a number of saltwater fishermen, especially those who spend time in inshore waters.

    Harris, Falls or Jordan, which is the best of North Carolina’s best lakes for largemouth bass?

    Fishermen having trouble choosing a month to target largemouth bass on the three lakes around the Raleigh-Durham area can get answers from two groups — serious anglers or biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission — and they can take those recommendations to the bank(s).

    Clarks Hill Lake is a great striper fishery, and for trophy fish, there’s no time better than spring, according to these two guides.

    Getting your string stretch by a trophy striper can happen year-round at Clarks Hill Lake, aka Lake Thurmond, but if you want to boost your odds for trophy fish, go now. 

    Big swimbaits might catch bruiser bass in California lakes, but downsizing these soft-plastic baits is the way to go in the Carolinas, especially during the prespawn.

    With the introduction of Florida-strain largemouth bass into southern California in 1959, fish weighing as much as 20 pounds made that state’s waters treasured fishing grounds for the next world-record fish. Twenty-one of the heaviest 25 bass ever caught have come from California waters, mostly the San Diego city lakes.

    Bass heading to the banks or already there take different angler approaches and different baits. Here are some ideas for the search and spawn phases of spring fishing.

    As the sun thaws out the Carolinas after a chilly winter, spring is welcomed, especially by fishermen with an affinity for taming big largemouth bass in shallow water. With endless lure combinations available, there is more than one way to land a heavy stringer. 

    April is a big-bass month across both Carolinas. Tune in for tips on baits and learn which North Carolina lakes are trophy destinations. Photo by Jeff Burleson