Anglers have wide-ranging options for finding good fishing during the next few days in the Carolinas.
From Fontana Lake in the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks to the inshore waters of Little River and Charleston come reports of fine action. And the outlook also is promising everywhere in between, including Lake Norman.
Big bluegill and a mix of largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass are hitting at Fontana. Trophy-sized red drum are showing at Outer Banks piers and the jetties at Little River. And prized tarpon, the “Silver Kings” of sport fishing, are being caught at sites near Charleston.
Lake Norman: Good to excellent for a mix of largemouth and spotted bass feeding in surface schools throughout the day all across the reservoir. The fish generally are smallish, but the consistency of the action offsets this for most anglers. They’re hitting Zara Spook, Sammy and fluke-type lures best. White perch 15-20 feet deep around structure on jigging spoons such as the three-quarter-ounce Tackle Town Fire Tiger. Crappie to 1 1/2 pounds are starting to show around piers, mainly taking minnows. Flathead catfish uplake at night on live bluegills. A few hybrids to 14 inches mixed in with schools of white perch.
Lake Wylie: largemouth bass have gone into their annual autumn pattern of moving into the creeks. They’re hitting a variety of lures cast to the shoreline. The bass also are schooling on the surface during early morning, striking topwater plugs and jigs cast to the breaks. Improved for crappie around bridges, brush and docks on minnows.
Mountain Island Lake: Catches of crappie have improved markedly. Bream and catfish also continue to be caught.
Union County Lakes: Good to excellent for largemouth at all lakes – Cane Creek Park, Lee, Monroe and Twitty. Improving for crappie, especially at Cane Creek Park. A surprise catch of flathead catfish weighing up to 9.3 pounds was made at Lake Lee.
Rankin Lake, Gastonia: Continuing good for bream, catfish.
Yadkin/Pee Dee River Lakes: Very strong the past few days for crappie at all lakes – High Rock, Tuckertown, Badin, Tillery and Blewett Falls. The catch appears slightly better at the latter three.
Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory: Walleye are showing at James, where the tasty fish are hitting best near the Canal Bridge and at shelf drop-offs. They’re striking spoons of the jigging minnow-type. Improving for largemouth and crappie at Rhodhiss and Hickory, especially the latter.
Fontana Lake: Limits of very large bluegill on crickets. Continuing good for a mix of largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass on crankbaits cast to the shoreline. The bass also are hitting Bandit lures in the 300 Series trolled over shallow points.
Lake Wateree: Continuing very good for blue catfish 8-12 feet deep around flats on cut gizzard shad. Crappie are moving to brush and docks where the water is 10-12 feet deep.
Lake Murray: Excellent for bluegill and shellcrackers 4-10 feet deep along the shoreline and around docks on crawlers, crickets and earthworms. Small Beetlespin lures are working well, too. Fair to good for striped bass from the dam to Shull Island. The “linesiders” are hitting Striper Delight lures on the surface and live herring down to 40 feet. Channel catfish 20-40 feet deep on the points.
Lake Thurmond: Good for stripers and hybrids most days, during which they are taking live baits worked 30-40 feet deep. Some of these fish also are being caught much shallower in the tailrace at the Lake Russell Dam. Fair for crappie 20 feet deep around brush.
Santee Cooper Lakes: Fair for catfish in the Diversion Canal on cut baits when the water is flowing. Drift-fishing in the long canal between Lakes Marion and Moultrie is the best tactic.
Lake Hartwell: Good for channel catfish throughout the day on a variety of baits worked 5-25 feet deep around the points. Flatheads at night, also on the points, on live baits such as bream. Improving for crappie, taking minnows fished 10-15 feet deep around bridges and brush.
Lake Keowee: Fair for smallmouth and spotted bass during early morning on topwater lures cast to the shoreline.
Lake Jocassee: Fair to good for trout on Apex and Sutton spoons trolled 80-100 feet down from 8 a.m. until about 2 p.m. Slow otherwise.
Outer Banks: Nags Head area: Excellent for large red drum at the piers. A whopping 126 reds up to 54 inches were counted last weekend at the area piers – Avalon, Jennette’s, Nags Head and Outer Banks. Blues, puppy drum and whiting in the surf and at piers. Speckled trout at the Little Bridge and Manteo Causeway; Oregon Inlet: Winds to 30 knots have severely limited offshore fishing. Before the “blow” there was a good catch of dolphin, sailfish, white marlin and yellowfin tuna, and the action likely will pick up again as conditions improve. Good inshore for blues, Spanish mackerel and, in the sounds, speckled trout. Large sheepshead to 10 pounds from the catwalk at the Bonner Bridge spanning the inlet; Hatteras Island: Red drum to 53 inches by boat in Pamlico Sound near Hatteras Village. Blues in the 2-pound range, croaker, flounder, spots and whiting in the surf. Big drum at Avon Pier, mostly at night. Blackfin tuna, limits of dolphin and sailfish offshore of Hatteras Village when sea conditions are decent; Ocracoke Island: Continuing good for blues, croaker, flounder, gray trout and whiting in the surf. Red drum to 47 inches by boat in the backwaters. Dolphin and wahoo offshore when sea conditions are good; Morehead City area: Plentiful Spanish mackerel at the Cape Lookout Shoals and southward to Beaufort Inlet. Flounder, gray trout and whiting in the surf and at piers. Flounder, red drum and speckled trout at the near-shore artificial reefs. King mackerel at the reefs, around wrecks and just east of the Cape Lookout Shoals. Wahoo offshore when seas are favorable. Blues, flounder, pompano, speckled trout and whiting at piers, plus spots at night.
Southeastern N.C. Coast: Lots of large red drum, along with puppy drum and speckled trout at the Little River Jetties. Good for flounder at Carolina Beach Inlet, in the lower Cape Fear River and at Snow’s Cut. Good to excellent for Spanish mackerel on Gotcha plugs at piers, along with flounder, pompano, puppy drum, speckled trout and spots. King mackerel from the Yaupon artificial reef to an area known as The Jungle and just off Topsail Island. Excellent offshore for wahoo when sea conditions are suitable.
S.C. Coast: Little River area: Red drum at the jetties and Spanish mackerel to 5 pounds at Cherry Grove Pier, which also is yielding blues, pompano, whiting and scattered spots; Grand Strand area: Very good for flounder in the creeks and at the 3-Mile Artificial Reef. Reds, or spottails, in the creeks and at the Murrells Inlet jetties. Blues, Spanish mackerel and a few early runs of spots at piers. Blackfin tuna and dolphin offshore when sea conditions are favorable. Good to excellent for sheepshead at the Georgetown and Murrells Inlet jetties on fiddler crabs and sand fleas; Charleston area: Very good for tarpon, feeding in pods, at Bulls Bay, the Charleston Jetties and North Edisto on blue crabs, large menhaden and mullet. Good for flounder on live baits and soft plastic lures. Ladyfish, reds and trout in the backwaters on live baits fished under corks. Spanish mackerel just offshore; Beaufort/Hilton Head area: Good for reds, tailing in the marsh grass to feed at high tide and chasing shrimp in the shallows at low tide. Jack crevalle and ladyfish on topwater lures.
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