Veteran fishermen are effusive in describing the current bite of trophy-sized red drum in waters of the Neuse River near Oriental in Pamlico County.
It is the best inshore light tackle fishing I ever have encountered, long-time guide Craig Price said Monday. It is world class action.
Many of the fish being boated measure from 36 to 50 inches in length. They must be released per regulations.
These brutes are breaking rods, straightening hooks and putting tremendous stress on the tackle and angler alike, continued Price, a Lake Norman guide from Denver, N.C., who spends the spawning season of red drum at this time each year working on the coast.
David Martin of Gastonia, fishing with Price, caught a 48-inch red a few days ago. It took him 90 minutes to work the lunker to the boat, where it was photographed and set free. During the same trip Peter Overgaard of Oriental caught a 46-incher and Price reeled in a 46 and 42.
Guides Gary Dubiel and Dave Stewart popularized this light tackle approach, using popping corks and surface lures, continued Price. Fly fishermen also are getting in on the excitement. I was planning on coming home this week, but I cant leave with the fish hitting like this.
Lake Norman: Good for largemouth and spotted bass to 4 pounds in surface-feeding schools in late afternoon uplake between Markers 19-24. Theyre striking Sammy topwater lures in a chartreuse pattern along with jerk baits. Fair for bass in the major creek arms on spinnerbaits and artificial worms worked around docks. Good for catfish along the shoreline between Markers 5-8 on pieces of chicken and cut baits. Capable anglers are catching 4 to 5 per hour.
Lake Wylie: Fair for bream, catfish.
Mountain Island Lake: Mainly bream, catfish.
Union County Lakes: Fair for bass, bream and catfish at all reservoirs Cane Creek Park, Lee, Monroe and Twitty.
Rankin Lake, Gastonia: Scattered bream, catfish.
Yadkin/Pee Dee River Lakes: Very good for bream at all lakes High Rock, Tuckertown, Badin, Tillery and Blewett Falls. Catfish also are biting fairly well.
Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory: Fair at James for smallmouth bass on medium-sized shiners. Good at Rhodhiss and Hickory for largemouth on Whacky Sticks, which are artificial worms, in the red shad color pattern.
Fontana Lake: Good for a mix of largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass on topwater lures such as the Pop R cast to the breaks of surface-feeding fish. Theyre hitting best during late afternoon in the Sawyer Creek area. Also, bass at dawn and dusk on a lure named the Popping Frog cast to the shoreline.
Lake Wateree: Fair to good for crappie on minnows fished 12-18 feet down along the edge of the river channel and creek channels. Catfish on cut bream and shad.
Lake Murray: Striped bass in surface-feeding schools, with some largemouth mixed in, from the mid-lake section to the dam. When not schooling, the stripers are taking live herring worked down to 60 feet. Channel catfish 10-20 feet deep around points and humps on a variety of baits.
Lake Thurmond: Very good for stripers, hybrids in the lower six miles of the impoundment on live baits fished 50-60 feet deep off points.
Santee Cooper Lakes: Fair for catfish in the Diversion Canal between Lakes Marion and Moultrie.
Lake Hartwell: Good for channel catfish 5-20 feet deep around humps and points on crawlers, cut herring and stink baits. Flathead catfish at night on live bream and perch.
Lake Keowee: Fair for smallmouth and spotted bass on topwater lures cast to rocky points during early morning.
Lake Jocassee: Good for trout on Apex and Sutton spoons trolled 80-100 feet down.
Outer Banks: Nags Head area: Blues, croaker, cobia, Spanish mackerel, spots and whiting at piers. Good to excellent in the surf for large whiting, along with pompano and red drum; Oregon Inlet: Terrific offshore for white marlin, with parties boating up to 18 per trip, along with yellowfin tuna weighing up to 86 pounds. Very good inshore for blues, Spanish mackerel and, in the sounds, speckled trout; Hatteras Island: Limits of yellowfin tuna offshore of Hatteras Village, along with blackfin tuna, gaffer-sized dolphin, sailfish and wahoo. Fair in the surf for blues, croaker, pompano, Spanish mackerel, spots and whiting. Flounder at the jetties near the old Cape Hatteras Lighthouse site. Good for red drum and speckled trout in Pamlico Sound; Ocracoke Island: Black drum, puppy drum and whiting in the surf, along with scattered large reds to 48 inches; Morehead City area: Very good for Spanish mackerel up to 4 pounds at the Cape Lookout Shoals, along with blues and false albacore. Reds, speckled trout in the marshes. Sailfish, wahoo offshore.
Southeastern N.C. Coast: Good for flounder, red drum and speckled trout in the Cape Fear River from Snows Cut near Carolina Beach to Southport. Trout are hitting especially well near the Sunset Beach Bridge and the Little River jetties. Dolphin and sailfish 25-35 miles offshore and wahoo a bit further out. Good bottom angling offshore for black seabass, grouper and snapper. Flounder, big reds and Spanish mackerel around the artificial reefs. Scattered to fair for blues, pompano, spots and whiting at piers, The blues and Spanish are being hooked mainly on plugs.
S.C. Coast: Little River area: Scattered black drum, flounder, sheepshead, spots and whiting; Grand Strand area: Very good for sheepshead at the Georgetown and Murrells Inlet jetties on fiddler crabs and sand fleas. Trout in the marshy backwaters of Murrells Inlet and Winyah Bay. Sailfish offshore; Charleston area: Very good to excellent for tarpon at jetties, inlets and around sandbars on large live menhaden and mullet. Good during high tides for reds, or spottails, tailing in the marsh grass to feed and hitting Red Ripper spoons and Gulp! lures in a crab pattern. Flounder at the creek mouths and in inlets on mud minnows; Beaufort/Hilton Head area: Fair to good for spottails tailing during high tide on Red Ripper spoons, mud minnows and shrimp.
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email firstname.lastname@example.org to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less