Bass biting at Fontana Lake; tuna striking in Outer Banks
Fishing looks most promising during the next few days at Fontana Lake in the Great Smoky Mountains and along the Outer Banks when sea conditions permit.
Limits of bass – largemouth, smallmouth and spotted – are hitting crankbaits and skirted spinnerbaits cast right against the shoreline at Fontana, some times in less than a foot of water. Some of the smallmouth are dandies, weighing up to almost 4 pounds.
Limits of dolphin and yellowfin tuna were being boated regularly offshore of Hatteras Village and Oregon Inlet before a strong northeast wind kicked up in recent days. The catch also included billfish and wahoo.
Lake Norman: The lake appears to be “turning over,” an annual inversion of the oxygen layers, so anglers need to find clear water to catch fish. A mix of spotted bass and white perch are hitting jigging spoons and Sabiki rigs. During early morning, the “spots” and largemouth bass are feeding on the surface and striking topwater lures. Improving for crappie as the water temperature gradually falls. Catfish 10-30 feet deep on cut baits in areas where the “turn over” isn’t occurring.
Lake Wylie: Continuing to improve for crappie, mainly on minnows. Good for bream on crickets. Catfish 30-40 feet deep on cut baits.
Mountain Island Lake: Mainly bream, catfish. Picking up for crappie.
Union County Lakes: Good for bream and continuing fair for bass and catfish at all reservoirs – Cane Creek Park, Lee, Monroe and Twitty. Crappie are starting to show on stringers.
Rankin Lake, Gastonia: Good for bream, catfish.
Yadkin/Pee Dee River Lakes: Same as last week, very good for bream at all lakes – High Rock, Tuckertown, Badin, Tillery and Blewett Falls. Catfish also are biting well.
Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory: Catfish and crappie at night at James, and continuing to improve for smallmouth bass on medium-sized shiners. Fair for largemouth at Rhodhiss. The largemouth catch has picked up at Hickory, mainly on artificial worms.
Fontana Lake: Excellent for a mix of largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass on lures cast to the shoreline. The bass are hitting a glimmer Blue Shad spinnerbait best. Bass in surfacing schools at the reservoir’s upper end on Pop R and Sammy lures.
Lake Wateree: Continuing very good for smallish blue catfish 8-12 feet deep around flats on cut gizzard shad. Fair for crappie on minnows fished 10-12 feet down around brush and docks.
Lake Murray: Good for bream along the shoreline on crickets, earthworms. Fair to good for channel catfish on a variety of baits worked 5-20 feet deep. Blue catfish 20-40 feet down on points and humps. Fair for stripers from the dam to Shull Island on live herring.
Lake Thurmond: Good for stripers, hybrids on live herring fished at 30-40 feet. Fair for crappie 20-feet deep around bridge pilings.
Santee Cooper Lakes: Fair for catfish in the moving waters of the Diversion Canal between Lakes Marion and Moultrie. A few catfish are starting to be caught in the shallows at Marion.
Lake Hartwell: Good for a mix of stripers and hybrids on live baits fished 25-30 feet deep. Crappie 12-15 feet down around bridges and brush, taking both jigs and minnows. Channel catfish 5-25 feet deep on crawlers, cut baits, stink baits. Flatheads at night on bream, shiners.
Lake Keowee: Continuing fair for smallmouth and spotted bass on topwater lures cast to rocky points during early morning.
Lake Jocassee: Fair to good for trout on Apex and Sutton spoons trolled 80-100 feet down.
Outer Banks: Nags Head area: Spots, small pompano and whiting in the surf and at piers. A few big red drum at piers. Black drum, sheepshead, speckled trout and stripers at the Little Bridge near Manteo; Oregon Inlet: Good to excellent offshore for dolphin and yellowfin tuna, along with some billfish and wahoo. Good in the backwaters for black drum, speckled trout and striped bass; Hatteras Island: Good to excellent offshore for yellowfin tuna, along with blackfin, dolphin, sailfish and wahoo. Flounder, gray trout, puppy drum and speckled trout in the sound. Gigged flounder to 14 pounds in the sound; Black drum, blues, croaker, flounder, pompano and spots in the surf for those who can reach the beach; Ocracoke Island: Continuing good for blues, croaker, flounder, gray trout, puppy drum and whiting in the surf. Large red drum by boat inshore, along with blues, flounder, gray trout, puppy drum and speckled trout. Dolphin, wahoo and blackfin tuna offshore; Morehead City area: Continuing very good for Spanish mackerel from the Cape Lookout Shoals to Beaufort Inlet. Flounder, gray trout and whiting in the surf and at piers. Red drum, speckled trout in the backwaters. King mackerel just off the beach and around artificial reefs and shipwrecks.
Southeastern N.C. Coast: Continuing good for flounder at Carolina Beach Inlet, in the lower Cape Fear River and in Snow’s Cut. Good for tarpon at the Bald Head Island Shoals. Good for flounder, black and red drum in the Ocean Isle area. Much improved for king mackerel 10-15 miles offshore. Good for wahoo and bottom species further offshore. Flounder, gray trout and Spanish mackerel at the near-shore artificial reefs. Improving at piers for black drum, blues, whiting, Spanish mackerel and spots.
S.C. Coast: Little River area: Big red drum at the jetties along with blues and Spanish mackerel. Blues and Spanish at the pier; Grand Strand area: Very good for flounder, reds (or spottails) in the creeks and at the 3-Mile Artificial Reef. King mackerel are starting to show offshore. Big red drum in Winyah Bay near Georgetown. Blues, croaker, a few flounder, pompano, spots and whiting at piers, along with Spanish mackerel; Charleston area: Reds, or spottails, ladyfish and speckled trout in the backwaters, especially around Sullivan’s Island, on live baits worked under a cork. Flounder near the edges of rock piles on mud minnows, shrimp. Tarpon at jetties and around sandbars on large live baits. Plentiful Spanish mackerel just off the beach; Beaufort/Hilton Head area: Continuing fair to good for spottails in the backwaters on live shrimp.