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  • This weekend was a beautiful weekend for doing just about anything outdoors, especially fishing. I spent Saturday working on the boat and got the lower unit fluid changed and installed new spark plugs. The plan is to apply a coat of wax one evening this week and I’ll be ready for the season.

    Sunday I headed over to Belews Creek Lake near Stokesdale NC hoping to catch some bigger fish in the cooler water up around the Highway 158 Bridge. The water was in the low 50’s there so I figured that there should be a crank bait bite on the riprap. I couldn’t get a bite there but I spoke to one other boater who reported catching one close to 5 pounds in the same area. Thinking that the fish may get better as the sun warmed the rocks I left and returned several times over the course of the day, but never did catch anything there.

    I did finally land three nice fish around mid lake nearer to the hot water discharge where the water was in the lower 60’s. One was around 2.5 pounds but I didn’t get a picture since it was bleeding badly. I did get a picture of a nice almost 14 inch fish alongside the shaky head worm on a ¼ ounce head that I caught them on.
    James Gruskin from Raleigh reported that although he and his 13 year old son didn't catch any fish last Thursday they did have a great day. They fished at Blackley Pond in Rolesville fishing from a dock near an abandoned house at the end of the dirt road.

    They fished mainly rattle type lipless crank baits and his son had several smaller (6-9 inch) bass following his orange Rat-L-Trap near the dock. In general, the fish were moving slowly and seemed lethargic and James thinks they were probably a few weeks early. This could be a productive spot in March.

    James reported that “During our 12 hours of uninterrupted time together, my son and I had lunch, fished, ate dinner and went to a movie. The highlight was the fishing. I taught my son how to tie a Palomar knot with braided line, how to vary his retrieve speed and angle when fishing with lures and how to cast with greater precision. Although I have been skunked many times in the 35 years since I first held a fishing rod, I can honestly say I have never had a bad day fishing. Yesterday was no exception.”

    Great report James and glad to hear that you and your son had fun. I know he was hoping one of those followers would latch on, and hopefully that anticipation will stay with him thru his life like it has for me.

    Next report – Fishing report from Kerr and Jordan Lakes.

    Tip of the week – Take a kid fishing.

    February 28, 2011 at 6:21pm

    Kerr Lake seems to be hot right now despite the recent problems caused by the Largemouth Bass virus. I caught some nice fish there earlier this week, including 2 that were close to 3 pounds each. My best 5 would have gone around 11 pounds. All came on a custom painted red fat free fingerling in water around 5 – 6 foot deep on rocky banks in the back of Butchers Creek. I only fished a few hours but wish I could have been out there all this week, especially after reading the following report from David Sharrer,

    “Just wanted to let you know the bass are on fire on Kerr right now. Laura and I went the 16th, and had 15 bass and 4 nice pickerel. We went out again today (Tuesday 2/22), and had 16 bass and 3 pickerel. The wind blew hard all day, it was cold, but the fishing was great. Almost all the fish were in 5 feet of water or less. We both used rattle traps, chrome with blue or black, and they were busting the baits.”

    I also got a report from Falls Lake where a club tournament resulted in one angler catching a hog weighing almost 9 pound, along with other anglers catching nice limits. The word was use small crankbaits in shallow water.

    James G. from Raleigh reported that he and his 13 year old son were planning on a fishing trip on Thursday. Since they were bank fishing, I suggested that they find a small pond and cast rattletraps to find bass feeding up before the spawn. I hope to have a report from James for the next time.

    Next report – Fishing reports from Belews Creek, High Rock or Lake Norman, depending on where I head this weekend.

    Tip of the week – Try different retrieves when bass fishing. Some days they will only bite a crank bait that is moving as fast as you can reel it, others they want it so slow it’s barely dragging across the bottom. Keep trying variations until you hit the right approach for that day.

    February 24, 2011 at 3:54pm

    I started this past weekend off with a dud at the Ridgeway Bass Anglers open tournament on Hyco Lake, not bringing a single keeper to the scales. I didn’t feel too bad though, after learning that only 6 people out of the 20 or so in the tournament weighed in a fish. Most reported catching fish on shaky head worms around docks in the back of creeks near the dam. Others caught a few schooling fish mid lake using top water lures. It took 12 pounds to take first place and 11 for second, and only 6 for third.

    Things turned around for me on Sunday on Shearon Harris in the Raleigh Bass Anglers club tournament, landing in 6th place out of 33 fishermen to pocket the last check. While it only got me my entry fees back it felt good to cash a check. I had a five fish limit that weighed right at 8 pounds. First place was 13 pounds and second was 12. Fish seemed to be biting deeper, and this may have been the result of all the pressure Harris has received in the last week or so. Everyone is there to catch a 10 pounder. I have been lucky to catch one over 10 there each of the last two years. With a couple more tournaments coming up there in the next month I may still be able to make it three in a row.

    Next report – Fishing reports from Kerr Lake and Falls Lake.

    Tip of the week – Keep an extra fine diamond file (found in the tools section at hardware stores) in your boat for quick hook touch ups. A hook that is bent at the tip should be replaced, as well as one that has been sharpened once or twice already.

    February 22, 2011 at 2:20pm

    Thank goodness, spring has sprung, or at least it feels like it has. We finally have weather that will allow some outdoor activities besides snow skiing. I am itching at the bit to get back on the water and start fishing regularly, especially after the long cold winter we’ve had. My plan is to leave out early on Saturday morning headed to Hyco Lake for a small bass tournament, and then follow that on Sunday with a tournament on Shearon Harris Lake. Monday being Presidents I am off work, so that day will be spent fishing somewhere, I just haven’t decided where yet.

    Last weekend I was able to get on Belews Creek Lake for a half a day on Saturday. While it was still extremely cold, it was warm enough (mid 40’s) to be able to fish without freezing solid. I managed to catch two good fish at the hot water discharge from the power plant there, also losing one bigger fish (notice I always lose the bigger fish, that’s a trait found among all fisherman).

    Sunday I headed down to Fuquay Varina for a day on Shearon Harris Lake and wound up with one good bass, along with 3 big chain pickerels (jackfish), all on small crankbaits (the smallest Rapala shad rap lure available in a shad pattern). I was hoping for better results there but apparently the water was still too cold and the fish hadn’t turned on yet as they always do before the spawn, but this coming weekend should be one of the best of 2011.

    Next report – Tournament reports from Hyco Lake, Shearon Harris Lake, and a fishing report from Kerr Lake.

    Tip of the week – Use small pound test (8 or 10 pounds test) fluorocarbon line to get you crankbaits deeper. Fluorocarbon sinks in the water, allowing you bait to dive deeper.

    February 18, 2011 at 3:33pm

    I managed to get everything I had planned for last weekend done, even spending a few hours on both Saturday and Sunday fishing on Kerr Lake. The only catch I made was a good deal on a 50 inch wide zero turn Simplicity lawn mower with very low hours that I picked up in Raleigh for much less than half of list price. I found it on Craigslist and bought it from a retired gentleman who purchased and decided it was more than he could handle after a couple of years. It looks like a new mower and I cannot wait for the grass to start growing. The fish were hard to find on Kerr Lake, and when I did manage to find a large school of suspended fish (hanging in the middle of the water column between the bottom and the top) they wouldn’t bite. I was hitting the fish on the head with a jigging spoon but couldn’t make them bite it. With water temperatures around 40 degrees the fish are almost dormant, eating rarely.

    The good news is that with the upcoming warm spell this week we should start to see those fish waking up, and they’ll be hungry. Be expecting to catch some of the biggest fish of the year using small crank baits in around 5 foot of water. Especially on north side banks where the water has warmed more from the sun.

    Vern Fleming reported catching some big blue catfish last Monday on Kerr Lake using shad on bottom rigs in deeper water. He estimated the biggest one at between 25 and 30 lbs. He and his partner put 18 in the boat that averaged around 15 lbs, plus lost a couple that felt to be much bigger, and reported a beautiful day on the lake. Unfortunately he found out when he got home that he was actually scheduled to work Monday so it may end up he has more free time to fish in the coming days.

    I see that the new boat ramp at Nutbush Campground on the south end of Kerr Lake is coming around nicely. I heard that it will have parking for over a hundred rigs and will be great for luring some of the bigger tournament events to our area. The way it looks there will probably need to be a “No wake zone” for safety in that area. That will probably be good for me as it may keep some of the boat traffic down near my house since many will not want to have to idle thru that zone and will turn around and head back toward Satterwhite’s Point.

    Next report – Bass fishing on Belews Creek Lake on Saturday, then on either Shearon Harris or the new Randleman Reservoir on Sunday. The fishing will probably still be somewhat slow with the recent cold nights and freezing precipitation, but next weekend should be one of the best opportunities to land your biggest largemouth bass of the year. With the forecast for temperatures in the low to upper 60’s all week, the warming water will signal the biggest females to head shallow and start feeding up for the coming spawn.

    Tip of the week – Now’s the time to make certain that your boat is ready for the season. Change lower unit fluid and spark plugs, replace batteries if needed, give it a good wash and wax (if it’s a fiberglass hull) and you will be set for the rest of the year. And most importantly, don’t forget your Valentine!
    Contact the writer at waltbowen@yahoo.com.

    February 12, 2011 at 6:53am

    It is so nice to have choices. Saturday was the first really decent day we’ve had since November, and I had two choices for how I would spend it. One choice was to head to one of our North Carolina Lakes for a day of bass fishing. The other was to stay at home with my wife Susan and attend my grandson John II’s second birthday party. I will give you one guess as to what I decided to do. Yes I went fishing.

    Just kidding, I could not have imagined myself on a lake somewhere casting for bass while my son, his son and our family and friends enjoyed pizza, chicken wings, cupcakes, birthday cake, and all kinds of other party goodies. While there are many more days ahead for fishing, there will never be another second birthday party for my first grandchild.

    My cousin Jim called and informed me that he will be USCG certified Captain Jim in a couple of weeks as soon as the paperwork comes thru. He has passed the entire class along with all required examinations and now it’s just a matter of time before he’ll have a parrot on his shoulder, start saying things like “Ahoy Mate”, and walk around carrying a cutlass (a sword not an Oldsmobile). I am looking forward to heading out on the high seas with a licensed captain as soon as the weather warms a little bit.

    I am scheduled to compete in at least one tournament a week from late February thru September. Along with competing in the Bassmaster Weekend Series with my sights once again set on the National Championship, I will be fishing in the Fishers of Men Team Series with my partner Vern Fleming. There will also be several husband and wife tournaments that Susan and I will enter as time allows (and the weather allows as Susan is a fair weather fisherwoman). This will be a busy season and I feel confident that I will see as good as or better results as last year.

    It was nice being out on Lake Norman Sunday enjoying the beautiful (70 degree) weather and I was also able to catch a few bass. I ended up catching 3 small keepers, two on shaky heads and one on a deep diving jerk bait. I lost one more that felt like a better fish after it wrapped me around something under a dock. I had a couple of bites on brush piles where I’d marked some good sized fish but didn’t set the hook fast enough and missed them both..

    I spoke to a group of Virginia Tech college anglers at the ramp as they were loading up following the weigh in for their small tournament. The winner weighed 5 fish for just less than 9 pounds. They reported catching all their fish early in the day on jerk baits on main lake points.

    Next report – Striper and bass fishing report from Kerr Lake where they should be biting jigging spoons.

    Tip of the week – Add some of the blue STA-BIL Fuel Stabilizer Marine Formula to each tank of gas to prevent problems caused by the ethanol that is now being added to almost all the gas being sold today. This is especially important when you are not planning on using up the gas in a couple of weeks.

    January 31, 2011 at 7:29pm

    Finally it warmed up enough for me to get out and fish last weekend. While I should have gotten out on Sunday when it got into the mid 50’s, I wasn’t able to get out on Belews Creek Lake near Stokesdale NC until about 10:00 am last Monday morning. It was nice and toasty warm at around 35 degrees Fahrenheit, with a steady 15 – 20 mph wind pushing across the lake out of the Northwest. Yes I almost froze.

    After finally getting a few bites between 2 and 2:30 on a shaky head green pumpkin trick worm fished around lay down limbs in 4 foot of water near deeper drop offs, I decided to head home when I realized that my right hand had turned purple and was starting to get numb. That’s probably why it took me so long to set the hook on the bites I had. Although I didn’t land a single fish, it was nice to get out for a few hours on the water, even if it did almost cost me several of my most significant digits on my right hand.

    My cousin Jim Bowen called to let me know that he had started Captains school this week and that it was pretty tough, with a lot of learning being packed into a few weekends of study. I know he’ll get it down and I fully expect to be able to go out deep sea fishing in a few months with Captain Jim Bowen!

    This week brought a new addition to our family. Our oldest daughter Claire called while we were eating dinner and asked my wife Susan to put her on the speaker phone. Susan did and then Claire announced to us both that she had eloped and married her boyfriend Dave McKenney. While it only took me a couple of seconds to calculate the money we’d saved my wife was very disappointed that she didn’t get to spend it on a big wedding. The main thing is that everyone is happy and stays that way. I think it all worked out great.

    Next report – If it gets above 40 degrees Sunday I will get on Belews Creek Lake again to pick up where I left off last week. Hopefully I will catch at least one bass before freezing.

    Tip of the week – Keep all your warranty information for things you buy, along with the receipts that came with them. I recently took two shovels back to Sears and got brand new ones since the ends were worn off the ones I had. That was probably close to 20 years after I had bought them new. There’s no need to pay for something with a lifetime warranty if you can’t redeem it when you need too. .
    Contact the writer at waltbowen@yahoo.com

    January 22, 2011 at 5:09pm

    Since I haven’t been able to get out since returning from Florida in early January I am posting an offshore report from my cousin Jim Bowen from Whiteville, NC.

    Jim and his friends John, Renee, and baby Avery Currin from Henderson were down at the beach last week. They had planned to get up early Friday morning and head to the Gulf Stream to get on some Wahoo, but by Wednesday evening the warmer water started pushing farther off shore so they decided to settle for some bottom fishing nearer shore. They decided to target some Black Sea Bass instead.

    They refer to sea bass as the “chicken of the sea”. Friday morning Jim pointed the nose of the Stick Slinger dead EAST and went out of Little River 32 miles to a wreck he’d run across a while back in about 90’ of water.

    They started out with bottom rigs, 6-8 oz weights and cut squid for bait. John was pulling them up 3 at a time. One fish broke off one of Jims hooks, and while he was tying another rig, John caught the fish with the hook in its mouth.

    After an hour with one limit of good quality fish already in the boat, they switched to some heavy jigs hoping to cut back on any trash fish while increasing size and quality. They were also hoping to run across a grouper or two. They had a lot of fun, and even though they never put a grouper in the boat, a few HUGE fish came unbuttoned a few feet off the bottom that likely were grouper.

    Jim starts Captains school in a couple of weeks.
    Hopefully next time I see him he’ll be Capt Jim!

    Next report – I hope to get on Norman this weekend for some spotted bass fishing.

    Tip of the week – For most crank baiting I use as light a line as I think I can get away with, often 8 or 10 pound test. The thinner diameter line allows the bait to dive deeper quicker, getting it where the fish are. When shallow cranking around cover I will use a heavier line test.

    January 14, 2011 at 2:00pm

    My wife Susan, our dog Fred and I spent the week after Christmas exploring the St Johns River in Florida. The weather was great and we had several days with temperatures in the 70s which allowed us to get around in shorts and t-shirts. The recent record cold weather in central Florida had slowed down the bass bite, but I did catch several good fish, the largest almost weighed 5 pounds.

    I also caught the ladyfish pictured below at the mouth of a saltwater spring while taking pictures of manatees. Many freshwater rivers provide the chance to catch saltwater fish, typically when they are migrating upriver to spawn in the spring. An example of this is the annual striped bass migration up the Roanoke River in April. But the situation on the St Johns River in central Florida is different. The story is that eons ago the river was connected to the Atlantic Ocean at many places over its 300 mile length. As the sea levels dropped those connections were cut off, leaving many fish likes spots and speckled trout trapped in lagoons. Those fish then found comfortable homes near the saltwater springs that feed the river with warm salty water at dozens of points.

    Susan and I were taking pictures of the manatees that had congregated at one of these salt springs when a school of fish started breaking the surface all around us. I thought they were bass and cast a crank bait into the middle of the school. Immediately a large fish struck and took off running fast. Then what looked like a small silver tarpon leapt straight out of the water 3 or 4 times. It probably jumped 3 feet straight up. After a good fight we were able to land what I later learned was a ladyfish (don’t ask me where they got that name) of about 3 pounds. These fish reportedly live year-round at these salt springs, along with many other species normally found in saltwater only, like croakers and spots. After taking a couple of pictures we turned the fish aloose and turned our attention to the manatees.

    Manatees are giant mammals that live in semitropical and tropical environments. During the summer they can be found all over the river, but in the colder winters they congregate at these warm water outlets. We could see some giants down under our boat in the crystal clear waters. Some looked to be at lest 10 foot long and as big as 4 foot across the back. They would come up to the top ever few minutes to breath much like a whale, raising there snouts just above the water and blowing out a big breath before taking a huge breath in and sinking down.

    Next report – Since every weekend ends up being either snowy or super cold I probably won’t have a fishing report to bring next week. Maybe I will pull out a story of fishing trip from years ago.

    Tip of the week – For most crank baiting I use as light a line as I can think I can get away with, often 8 or 10 pound test. The reason is that the thinner diameter line allows the baits to dive deeper, which gets the bait down quicker to where the fish are. If I am using crank baits in shallower water I’ll often go higher in test to reduce the risk of breaking off a fish.

    January 08, 2011 at 6:10am

    I sure wish I could be fishing, but every time it looks like I might get a chance the weather falls thru and messes up the plan. I did receive this picture of a 50 pound citation striper caught by Doug Robinson from Henderson NC on the Chesapeake Bay last weekend.

    I also got the photo of a nice doe killed by the son of a friend recently. William Arno from Stokesdale, NC killed this healthy doe, his first ever. He turned 10 on the 2nd and shot his first deer on the 4th.

    Next report – Still hoping to get out on Kerr Lake for a bit of striper fishing. They should be hitting live bait and jigging spoons in about 20 foot if water.

    Tip of the week – I rig up for stripers much like I do a Carolina Rig for bass. Usually I use a heavier weight, at least an ounce egg sinker. Then I will measure off how far it is from the front of the reel to the first eye on the rod. If its 18 inches then 10 pulls of line from the reel to that eye will put my bait at 15 feet deep. I like using shiners since they live better and you don’t have to spend time throwing a net, and they seem to work as well as shad. Hooked thru the bottom lip and up thru one nostril they seem to live usually results in a long living bait.

    December 17, 2010 at 10:09am

    Over the last 7 days I have been from sunny southern California where it was over 80 degrees, back to North Carolina for one day where it was just barely above freezing, then up to Montreal Canada where it was 17 degrees below zero Celsius (which is just above zero Fahrenheit), and then back to Walnut Cove North Carolina. Last Saturday I rode down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and went thru Hollywood. I couldn’t find my Uncle Jed’s house but I did see one fellow who looked a lot like Jethro. This Saturday I was sitting on a curb in a small North Carolina town watching a wonderful Christmas parade. If I had to choose between living in Beverly Hills with 20 million dollars and any small town in NC with 20 dollars, I would choose NC without a second thought.

    In Canada there was over 2 foot of snow with more coming, and they said that it would be like that until around the first of April. I don’t think I could stand that, even with a nice ice fishing hut. There was an underground mall that had over 19 miles of connected stores, restaurants, and shopping. My wife would love it there, being able to shop for 5 days without seeing the same store front twice. They have the downtown stores and buildings connected like that so you don’t have to go outside. It was so cold that the windows in the back of the taxi had ice on the inside. If you go outside you will freeze quickly if you aren’t dressed properly for it, and you would freeze eventually even if you were dressed for it.

    Friday I took the day off and headed over to Belews Creek Lake, near Eden NC, to bass fish for the afternoon. The temperature was only in the mid 40’s but it felt like southern California after being in cold Montreal for a couple of days. I caught two nice fish on a shaky head worm before leaving at around 4:30 because it was getting cold quick as the sun got behind the trees. It sure felt great to be home.

    Next report – A striper fishing report from Kerr Lake where they should be hitting live bait and jigging spoons in about 20 foot if water.

    Tip of the week – Put a reminder on your calendar to check the water levels in boat batteries every two months. Recharging boils off water in the maintainable batteries that you can add water too. You don’t have to deal with this on the maintenance free batteries.

    December 12, 2010 at 6:46am

    I spent the Saturday after Thanksgiving fishing for spotted bass on Lake Norman near Charlotte with Ethan Cox and Clint Benbow, two members of the NC State Basspack. We landed around 20 between the 3 of us, with most weighing between 1 and 2 pounds. Several were close to 2.5 pounds, with the majority of the fish (including most of the bigger ones) coming on scrounger heads with flukes. We also landed some on shaky heads with green pumpkin trick worms, and a couple on small crank baits.

    There was a pretty good sized tournament weighing in as we took out, and we learned that around 13 pounds was leading that event, with 11 pounds being in second place when we left. Clint and Ethan would have had around 11 pounds in their best 5. These young men are fine fisherman, and its fun to be around young people who act like I remember young people acting when I was a kid - respectful, enjoying the outdoors and obviously studying in school based on their grades so far. My message to them was to stay focused on their studies, as you only get one chance in life at a college education, so make the best of the investment that will pay off for the rest of your life.

    Next report – Fishing is out of the question this weekend as I will be in Rancho Cucamonga California on business thru Sunday. I may get out to Belews Creek for a while on Monday.

    Tip of the week – Take time to clean, grease and oil your reels while the weather is howling outside. If you don’t want to do it yourself there are several companies that perform reel cleaning for a reasonable price, usually around $10 per reel plus parts if needed.

    November 30, 2010 at 7:02pm

    Reports from Kerr are that the bass fishing is hot right now. Sam Alashmli caught 12 good fish last Saturday, the biggest one weighing 5.8 pounds, a great fish for this time of year, especially with the largemouth bass virus going on. He reported using chartreuse crankbaits in 6 – 8 foot of water, along with Carolina rigged lizards to catch his fish.

    Ethan Cox and Clint Benbow spent 3 days fishing on Gaston last weekend and reported awesome fishing. They competed in 2 tournaments, one Sunday and one Saturday. Saturday they finished 7th out of 27 with 5 going almost 8 pounds. Sunday was even better when they won the Wake Forest Invitational with 5 fish weighing almost 11.5 pounds. They also had big fish which was a 4 pounder.

    Next report – I didn’t get to fish at all last weekend with the moving to our new house in Walnut Cove NC. I hope to be able to get on Belews Creek Lake Friday this weekend and on Lake Norman Saturday with two members of the NC State Basspack.

    Tip of the week – Put a reminder on your calendar to check the water levels in boat batteries every two months. Recharging often boils off water in maintainable batteries. You don’t have to deal with this on the maintenance free batteries.

    November 24, 2010 at 7:56am

    The fall feed is on at several area lakes right now. Reports from both Kerr and High Rock Lakes indicate that small shallow running crankbaits and jigs are catching good numbers of fish, with the bigger fish being caught on High Rock.

    Tommy Coleman won the Carolinian Bassmaster annual club classic on High Rock Lake for the second year in a row. Tommy blew everybody out of the water again with a solid 5-fish limit on Saturday and 8 solid keepers Sunday weighing over 20 pounds. He won 1st and big fish side pot on Saturday along with 1st side pot on Sunday, and 1st Classic money overall. And he got angler of the year again with almost 100lbs on the year. He's got back to back AOYs and Classic wins.

    Tommy’s brother Chris (aka Junior, aka Juice, aka Juicy (not sure where that one came from) had one that weighed 5 lbs even on a small number 5 shad rap. The fish were shallow on sunny chunk-rock in Crane Creek. Junior reported that he lost a couple more toads.

    Reports from Kerr are similar, with 11 plus pounds taking 2nd place in a small tournament there.

    Next report – My wife and I are still moving into our new house in Walnut Cove NC. I hope to be able to get on Belews Creek Lake Sunday for a few hours of fishing.

    Tip of the week – Get in good physical shape by eating good foods (i.e. limit deep fried) and regular exercise. This will make you a better fisherman just through increasing your stamina.

    November 18, 2010 at 1:47pm

    I spent Sunday on Shearon Harris Lake with Ethan Cox and his dad Darryl. Ethan is one of our state’s top young bass anglers and is a senior at NC State in Raleigh. He is a member of NC State Basspack fishing team. I met Ethan and his dad along with other college team bass fishermen at their tournament on Lake Champlain in Vermont back in July.

    The day started out cold and windy at just over freezing and the fishing was kind of slow. We did manage to catch about 2 dozen fish between the 3 of us. None were the giants that Harris is known for, but a couple pushed 3.5 to 4 pounds. Nearly all came on crankbaits or jerk baits from along the edge of the grass. A couple came on a Carolina Rigged trick worm. One nice fish came off a deep point where there were looked to be some big fish chasing bait. The bait school was huge and I imagine there will be some nice ones caught on this type structure there over the coming weeks.

    Next report – Not sure what I will have to report. My wife and I are moving into a new house in Walnut Cove NC and it looks like this weekend is pretty full of that. I will see whether I can get a report from my cousin Jim down at the coast.

    Tip of the week – Line you boat up so that you can cast parallel to the grass line when fishing lakes like Shearon Harris. The retrieve your crank bait so that it just barely catches the grass on the way back. The fish are lying there waiting to pounce on bait that swims by.

    November 11, 2010 at 2:56pm

    My dad, Johnny Bowen from Henderson NC, and I had a great 5 day get away to Cape Lookout on the South Core Banks this week. This was my first trip there and it was well work the effort. While the fishing was a little slow and the winds kept us off the point for most of the trip, the privacy and beauty of this island were something that I wish everyone could experience.

    We landed about a dozen flounder and they would have made some great eating, except for the fact that they were all just short of the 15 inch minimum size limit. We were tempted to eat a couple, but threw them all back alive in keeping with the regulations. Along with numerous skates, we also landed several nice blue fish and blowtoads.

    On our way off the island we experienced an unexpected run in with a beautiful ring necked pheasant. I was unaware that there was a breeding population of these birds on the island. Later I learned that this is North Carolinas only countable, self-sustaining population of pheasants. They are beautiful birds and I managed to take several close up photos as I chased this male thru the dunes.

    Next report – Bass fishing report from some central North Carolina lake. I am taking a couple of NC State Basspack students out and they are choosing the lake.

    Tip of the week – Use the white belly strips from a mullet for flounder bait. They seemed to like this better than any other cut, you just need to wade thru bunches of short fish to get to a keeper (or not).

    November 05, 2010 at 10:25am

    Brandon Gray from Bullock, NC beat 186 other top anglers from across the Northeast to win this weekend’s 2 day Bassmaster Weekend Series Regional Championship on Kerr Lake. He had 5 bass weighing over 15 pounds on Friday, then followed that on Saturday with 5 more weighing over 13 pounds. He took home a new Triton boat, along with an envelope of money. Brandon is one of the favorites in any tournament on Kerr, as well as having been a top finisher in numerous other tournaments across the nation. We wish him the best of luck as he competes in the BWS National Championship on Lake Guntersville next week.

    My goal was to finish in the top 50 so that I would qualify for the national championship on Lake Guntersville in Alabama. I ended up in 55th place after having one of my fish die between the boat and the weigh in scales. While that half pound penalty appears to have kept me from qualifying as an alternate, I can’t blame that. If I had caught more and bigger fish then I wouldn’t have had to worry about it. I will get them next year.

    This week’s photos are of recent catches by Kernersville resident Tommy Coleman’s sons (Tate and Tom) during recent bass fishing outings.

    Next report – Surf fishing report from Cape Lookout. My dad and I are headed over Sunday to spend a few days there.

    Tip of the week – When you find the fishing slow and can’t get a bite using fast moving baits like crankbaits or spinnerbaits, try using slow moving baits like a shaky head worm. That’s what my day 2 co-angler Bill Kyte from Waldorf Maryland did, and he carried home over $1,200 after catching a nice 4.5 pound largemouth behind me while I was fishing fast.

    October 29, 2010 at 2:29pm

    If I can catch 5 bass like the one in the picture (caught last Sunday) each day of this weekend’s 2 day Bassmaster Weekend Series Regional Championship on Kerr Lake I should be in good shape. My goal is to finish in the top 50 so that I qualify for the National BWS Championship on Lake Guntersville in Alabama that starts on November 3rd. I know the fishing has been slow on Kerr lately so my game plan is to hit the spots where I’ve caught good fish over the last few weeks. I am catching fish on crank baits and Carolina rigs.

    My cousin Jim reported catching 3 nice King Mackerel last weekend at the 90’s off Ocean Isle. They also landed a keeper cobia that had a 12 inch octopus and several shovel nose lobsters in its stomach. He wondered how that fish was still eating with all that in it.

    Regarding the Largemouth Bass Virus (LMBV) which is confirmed on Kerr and suspected in Gaston, I wanted to relay this information I picked up regarding the current fishery at Lake Fork Texas. A gentleman caught a 14.44 pound bass on July 31st. Fork had the same virus Kerr has now, and suffered a decline in bass fishing for the last six years based on surveys there. This year things seem to be on the rebound, with almost as many 7 pounders caught between March and June of this year than in all of 2009. 733 were caught from March thru June 2010 versus 746 for the 12 months ended in February 2010.

    Next report – results from the Bassmaster Weekend Series North East Regional Championship. With the falling temperatures the bass should be biting.

    October 21, 2010 at 2:33pm

    Several area residents have had great success in tournaments recently. Boater Mark Robertson of Henderson, N.C., caught 15 bass weighing 41 pounds, 10 ounces last weekend to win a Chevy truck and Ranger boat in the BFL Regional Championship on the Potomac River. You may remember that Mark had a high finish in the regional event there last year as well. I heard that he found a magic tree lying over in the river last year that was surrounded by big fish. Not sure if that’s where he caught his stringer this year, but I will say he deserves this win as much as anyone I know of and I can’t wait to congratulate him in person.

    Another Henderson angler, William (Brad) Pegram, finished in 9th place in the Bassmaster Southern Open on Lake Seminole in Bainbridge, GA with 9 fish weighing 32 pounds and 13 ounces. He took home $3,943 for his 3 days of fishing, over $1,300 per day. Brad finished alongside and ahead of a number of the biggest names in bass fishing, including one named VanDam. Congratulations go out to him also.

    Chuck Murray from Louisburg, NC came in 2nd place in the NC B.A.S.S. Federation Nation tournament on Lake Gaston last weekend. He came in less than a quarter of a pound behind Joe Trinko from Hoke County. Chuck reported that he had the tournament won but unfortunately fell down while walking across the dock to the weigh in and lost a 4 pound bass out of his sack. That slip cost him $5,000. Oh well, live and learn. Trinko and Murray were also named to the NC B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Team that will now move on and fish against the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, in the Southern Divisional in April 2011.

    John Hunt from Pleasant Garden, NC landed a nice 24 inch keeper drum last Saturday morning on Freeman Park Beach north of Carolina Beach. Seeing him land this fish moments after arriving, my wife Susan and I figured we were in for a shot at some nice drum ourselves. Unfortunately we never landed anything that big or any puppy drum. We did catch enough bluefish, Virginia mullet, spots, and pompanos to make a nice mess for a fish fry. And Michael Beard from Townsville, NC landed a 6 pound 14 ounce puppy drum off the Bogue Inlet Pier this week, another great catch.

    Susan, Fred (our dog) and I had a ball on the beach last weekend. While we didn’t land a lot of fish, we had a relaxing stay in the truck camper and dined on oysters and shrimp Saturday night while watching the sunset behind Carolina Beach. The weather was perfect and the crowds were light. Now I’m ready to get back to chasing bass after a short break and looking forward to some great fishing on Kerr Lake over the next two weeks. With any luck I’ll then head to Lake Guntersville in Alabama the first week in November for a shot at the $205,000 cash first place prize. That kind of money will make you fish hard.

    Next report – Practice report from Kerr Lake, preparing for the Bassmaster Weekend Series North East Regional Championship that starts Friday Oct 22nd.

    Tip of the week – Watch your step.

    October 15, 2010 at 12:32pm

    Between the LMBV and the rising water (over 5 foot in less than a week) Kerr Lake was tough last weekend. I fished for a while Sunday, and the one bite I did have on a jig resulted in a broken hook. Since I didn’t see it I’m sure it was probably around 8 pounds. Actually there is probably a small bass swimming around with a pierced lip like you see on the teenagers these days. I’m sure all his buddies are envious of his fashion statement.

    After fishing for a few hours without another bite I decided to spend the rest of the day preparing for a surf fishing trip to the beach. I have the camper on the truck and the rod rack mounted, and we are heading down this afternoon. It’s supposed to be a beautiful weekend; I just hope that the recent flooding and outflow of water from the Cape Fear River doesn’t slow the fishing down. It would be great to bring home a nice catch of flounder and trout.

    While I didn’t catch anything, a friend in Honduras - Oscar Gutierrez, sent this photo of a 383 Warsaw grouper recently caught there. How in the world did they ever get that in the boat?

    Next report – Fishing report from Snows Cut Inlet on Freeman Park Beach at the north end of Carolina Beach.

    Tip of the week – When the fishing slows to a crawl on your favorite lake, move 100 miles or so and try again.

    October 08, 2010 at 1:33pm
    A comment titled: Spawn in response to a report titled: Nc spawn?

    It seems that the bass here spawn when the water warms to around 65 - 70 degrees. They will be moving shallow between now and then. Down where you are with it being a little warmer there will probably more spawning in April, while there will be more of a spawn in the central part of the lake later. Its different every year. Usually more around the full and new moons as well.

    February 25, 2011 at 7:41am
    A comment titled: Nice one in response to a report titled: jordan lake

    Thats a good fish. There are always some nice ones on those rocks this time of year.

    February 18, 2011 at 9:25am
    A comment titled: Thats a cool picture in response to a report titled: I see you

    It looks like she's fixing to say something funny, like 'Is there anybody back there?'.

    February 10, 2011 at 3:52am
    A comment titled: Thanks Jeff in response to a report titled: Fair weather fishing report

    I plan to keep the reports coming, hopefully with good news.

    It is great to see all the college teams involved in bass fishing now. They are highly competitive. I have even spoken to one NCSU Basspack team member who passed up a wrestling scholarship at a small school to attend State and fish. The future of sportfishing can only keep getting better.

    February 04, 2011 at 1:20pm
    A comment titled: Please keep these reports coming. in response to a report titled: Missing the specks!!!

    My wife and I want to come down to Carolina Beach in a few weeks to camp and fish on Freeman Park Beach before the crowds get there. Thanks for the information, maybe you can put me on them around Feb. 12/13.

    January 29, 2011 at 6:53am
    A comment titled: Nice fish. in response to a report titled: Another surf catch

    I can smell them cooking now.

    January 29, 2011 at 6:50am
    A comment titled: Thanks for the report in response to a report titled: Deep spooning Lake Wylie’s bass

    I cant wait to get out tomorrow. My grandsons birthday party is today otherwise I'd be enjoying this break in the weather. Thinking about Norman, but this report may make me look a little further south.

    January 29, 2011 at 6:49am
    A comment titled: Nice fish in response to a report titled: Cape Fear Catfish

    They look like good eating size, big enough for good sized filets but not too big.

    January 10, 2011 at 8:52am
    A comment titled: Shiners in response to a report titled: Frozen report from North Carolina

    Gobblintom,

    My shiner technique is to stop by the bait store and get a dozen and a half big ones. I found that if I ask for a dozen I get 12, if I ask for 2 dozen I get 24, but if I ask for a dozen and a half I get close to 50. It seems that the math calculation goes haywire on a dozen and a half.

    December 20, 2010 at 1:16pm
    A comment titled: Looks like a hybrid in response to a report titled: Striper or Hybrid ?

    Looks like a hybrid but I am no expert. Just based on the lines and on the length to size I would guess hybrid. Good eating though.

    December 12, 2010 at 5:44pm
    A comment titled: Thanks for the post in response to a report titled: Topsail Surf HOT with whiting!

    Wish I was able to be there. You could put some meat away for the winter like that.

    December 04, 2010 at 3:17pm
    A comment titled: Nice ones in response to a report titled: SPECKS ON THE BITE

    Man I would like to have those for the frying pan!

    November 23, 2010 at 10:47am
    A comment titled: Beautiful fish in response to a report titled: Gator Trout in the Topsail Surf!!!!

    How much did it weigh?

    November 05, 2010 at 9:56am
    A comment titled: And another.. in response to a report titled: another nice bass

    with a nearly fully extended arm for visual effect!

    September 20, 2010 at 9:58am
    A comment titled: Another great catch.. in response to a report titled: nice bass

    but you need to work on your picture taking form. While that is obviously a big bass, it would have looked so much bigger with a full elbow extension.

    Just kidding, nice fish and please keep the photos coming!

    September 20, 2010 at 9:57am
    A comment titled: Nice fish in response to a report titled: Another nice bass at farm pond

    What kind of swim bait do you use and what color (if its not too much of a secret)?

    September 20, 2010 at 9:53am
    A comment titled: Thanks for the report. in response to a report titled: Saturday in the Skiff

    Some good eats and a good fight too!

    September 15, 2010 at 9:42am
    A comment titled: Another nice one. in response to a report titled: another big un

    Looks like 7 maybe 8 pounds, if not more. I like your picture taking form, elbows straight.

    September 14, 2010 at 7:42am
    A comment titled: Please send me some of those steaks and filets for the grill in response to a report titled: citation cobia

    You have about a months worth of great eating there for a couple of people.

    September 13, 2010 at 1:28pm
    A comment titled: Great fish. in response to a report titled: big ol' bass!

    You are on a roll. What did she weigh?

    September 13, 2010 at 8:59am
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