Action resumes after Nor’easter
As expected, fishing is recovering well along the Carolinas coast after being disrupted for several days by a strong Nor’easter.
With the storm generally abating, the best fishing is offshore of the Outer Banks, where large wahoo, dolphin, blackfin tuna and scattered billfish are being caught. Inshore catches are picking up, too, with large red drum being caught in the surf at some locations and king mackerel at piers.
Lake Norman: The lake’s annual “turn over” of oxygen layers is nearing completion and activity where the water is clear has picked up. Largemouth and spotted bass are hitting surface lures cast to the shoreline during early morning. Spots and white perch are being found in mixed schools uplake along with some very small hybrids of about 6 inches. They’re striking jigging spoons and minnows. Anglers are urged to quickly release the hybrids, which are growing rapidly after being released as fingerlings several months ago. Catfishing is picking up.
Lake Wylie: Crappie are turning on around shallow cover, taking mainly minnows. Bream and catfish action continues good to very good. Catfish are being found relatively shallow, hitting cut baits 10-15 feet deep.
Mountain Island Lake: Improved for bream, catfish and crappie.
Union County Lakes: Good for crappie at Cane Creek Park, with some very large fish caught in the past few days, mostly on minnows. Largemouth at Lakes Lee, Monroe and Twitty, which will close at the end of this month for the winter.
Rankin Lake, Gastonia: Continuing good for bream, catfish.
Yadkin/Pee Dee River Lakes: Good to excellent at High Rock, Badin and Blewett Falls for crappie around cover 5-15 feet down. Fair to good for crappie at Lake Tillery. Blue catfish on a variety of baits in the Pee Dee River below Blewett Falls Dam.
Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory: Continuing good for catfish and crappie at night at James, and picking up for smallmouth bass on shiners. Walleye from the deep holes on jigging spoons. Improving for crappie at Rhodhiss and Hickory, which also continue to yield fairly good catches of largemouth.
Fontana Lake: Good for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass on Sammy topwater lures and spinnerbaits cast to the shoreline during early morning. Excellent as the moon waxes toward full for very large bream on crickets.
Lake Wateree: Continuing very good for catfish only 10-13 feet deep on crawlers and cut baits. Improving for crappie on minnows around brush and docks.
Lake Murray: Good to very good for striped bass from the dam to the mid-lake area. Waters between Spence and Shull Islands appear to be producing best. The fish are hitting trolled lures and live baits. Fair for largemouth on the points. Crappie are moving to shallow brush and bridge pilings, with fair catches reported.
Lake Thurmond: Good for stripers, hybrids in schools at the lower end, with best activity occurring at the mouths of Keg Creek and the Savannah River around 4 p.m. on Sammy and Zara Spook lures. Some of these fish also are being caught in the tailrace upstream at the Lake Russell Dam. Crappie suspended 20 feet deep over cover 30 feet down.
Santee Cooper Lakes: Very good for crappie suspended just 7-8 feet deep over cover 15-30 feet deep. The upper lake, Marion, is producing better.
Lake Hartwell: Largemouth in surface schools on buzzbaits.
Lake Keowee: Much improved for smallmouth and spotted bass on topwater lures cast back in the creeks and around points.
Lake Jocassee: Fair to good for trout on Apex and Sutton spoons trolled 100-200 feet down.
Outer Banks: Nags Head area: Best action is at the Little Bridge near Manteo, yielding reds, stripers and trout; Oregon Inlet: Excellent offshore for wahoo when skippers are able to maneuver through the shallow waters of the inlet to get outside. The recent Nor’easter caused sand to shift in the inlet. One party that took a long ride to Hatteras Inlet to get offshore returned with 11 very large wahoo. Good offshore for dolphin and yellowfin tuna, along with some billfish and blackfin. Good in the backwaters for black drum, speckled trout and striped bass.
Hatteras Island: Good to excellent offshore for big wahoo, along with billfish, blackfin tuna and dolphin. Reds, gray and speckled trout in the sound. Small blues, pompano, puppy drum and whiting for those who can make the walk to the beach for surf fishing as the government shutdown keeps vehicles off the shoreline; Ocracoke Island: Good for blues, croaker, flounder, gray trout, puppy drum and whiting in the surf. Large red drum by boat. Huge wahoo offshore; Morehead City area: Plentiful blues in the 2- to 3-pound range from the Cape Lookout Shoals to Beaufort Inlet. Some Spanish mackerel are mixed in with the schools of blues. Good for king mackerel offshore at Northwest Places, the 30-Minute Reef, East Rock and the 1700 Rock. Gray trout and whiting in the sounds. Speckled trout and reds along the beach and in the marshes. Blues, king mackerel and whiting at the piers.
Southeast Coast: Continuing to improve at the Little River jetties for red drum to 40 inches, mainly on cut menhaden and mullet. Reds, flounder and sheepshead in the creeks and at jetties. Blues on Gotcha plugs, black drum, pompano, puppy drum, spots, whiting and king mackerel at piers. Kings to 51 pounds and wahoo offshore when sea conditions are favorable.
S.C. Coast: Little River area: Red drum at the jetties. Black drum, flounder, reds and trout in the creeks; Grand Strand area: Good to very good for black drum and reds in the creeks. Big red drum at the Murrells Inlet jetties on cut menhaden, mullet and quartered blue crabs. Good in Winyah Bay for reds, flounder and trout. Sheepshead at the Georgetown jetties. Kings and wahoo offshore when sea conditions are good; Charleston area: Reds, or spottails, on Streak Z and Sammy lures in the backwaters; Beaufort/Hilton Head area: Good for spottails in the marshes on crabs and shrimp. When tailing to feed in the shallows, the reds are hitting lures and flies.
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