Small-boat anglers cruising to plenty of bass on Ramseur Lake

Doug McNeill fishes while Andy Futrell catches a bass from the back of the boat at Ramseur Lake this past Saturday.

Crankbaits, jigs working for late-winter largemouths

At Ramseur Lake, smart anglers downsize boats and go electric for big bass from a small reservoir. Doug McNeill and Andy Futrell are fishing buddies from Moore County who fish in a bass club that only allows electric trolling motors. Last Saturday, a couple of days before St. Patrick’s Day, the pair practiced for a tournament on the 127-acre reservoir in eastern Randolph County.

All of the luck of the Irish rode in the front of the boat with McNeill, who fishes Ramseur Lake about 20 times a year; he caught and released several keepers from the muddy water.

“This is my second time on the lake this year,” he said. “Yesterday I caught one over five pounds and a couple that topped three pounds.”

On both days, he fished shallow points with crankbaits and jigs. Water temperatures ranged from 48 to 51 degrees.

As always, it takes persistence to catch bass from any lake in March when the water is high, muddy and cold. Both anglers know that fishing will improve here as the weather warms.

“I like this lake a lot,” McNeill said. “This is one of my best spots. I caught an 8-pounder here two years ago and have caught some 7-pounders. I’ll fish until deer season comes in.”

McNeill said spinnerbaits, crankbaits and jigs are productive during the early part of the season. Once the water warms, any kind of soft-plastic bait is a good bet.

The lake is restricted to boats with outboard motors of less than 10 HP. The horsepower restriction doesn’t slow down McNeill, who has two 75-pound thrust electric motors on the transom with a 24-volt system. On the bow, he favors a 40-pound motor with foot control.

“You need to be quick to get to the good spots first,” he said.

Ramseur Lake is on NC 22 between Ramseur and Franklinville. Call 336-824-4646 for information.

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