A summer Saturday with a nice weather forecast finds nearly every lake in North Carolina packed with anglers; arriving before daybreak is a prerequisite to having a place to park a boat trailer and tow vehicle at most public ramps.
South Carolina is known for its fantastic fishing, from 40-pound bull reds and gator speckled trout along its salty shores to world-record catfish and slab crappie from its notable reservoirs, Anglers don’t have to trailer far to locate a super-productive fishery.
Tactics for tagging a gobbler in the waning days of the season is often dramatically different than strategies for early season success. Late-season hunting typically requires a diverse skill set that includes patience, stealth, diversity in calling capabilities and mental toughness to commit to strategy.
Late this past December, the coastal regions of both Carolinas experienced some of the coldest weather in recent years, with water temperatures plummeting into the low 40s. Then, on Jan. 3, a winter ice and snow storm blasted the coast again, complete with snow and ice.
One of the signs that spring has returned to the Carolinas is the arrival of Spanish mackerel in coastal waters. These little mackerel are targeted by fishermen from Hilton Head to Nags Head, and rightfully so. They are generally considered the tastier of the mackerel; they arrive in large schools; the limit is liberal; they are typically easy to find, and they are usually in a feeding mood. It doesn’t get much better.
When most people smack their lips thinking about a recipe for blackened fish, red drum most often spring to mind. But anglers who fish the waters in and around Surf City are as likely to run across of another color.
Flounder are arguably the most-recognizable inshore fish on the east coast. For die-hard anglers, they can be targeted every month of the year in the waters of both Carolinas, from brackish ecosystems to nearshore ocean reefs.
The Carolinas have so many great places to catch flounder, it’s hard to name just one, so we picked four spots you shouldn’t miss. Photo by Brian Cope.