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.
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.
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).
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.
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