The Buxton area of Hatteras Island and the waters around Morehead City offer the most promise of good fishing.
Puppy drum, also known as reds, have been caught this week in the surf near Buxton, mainly close to ramps 43 and 44 leading across the dunes at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Dan Couch of Red Drum Tackle at Buxton reported Tuesday that an “old man’s fishing group” had caught up to 20 of the fish apiece per day.
“I even got in on the action and found that it wasn’t necessay to cast very far to reach the fish,” said Couch. “They were just 60 feet out from the shoreline. You could flip your bait to them underhanded.” The reds were taking mainly shrimp and cut bait.
Unfortunately, Hatteras Island is difficult to reach because of the closure of Bonner Bridge at Oregon Inlet for repair to the pilings. The bridge on N.C. 12 is the only land link to the island. Anglers wishing to visit will have to take a ferry from Swan Quarter on the mainland to Rodanthe or fly in small planes to a landing strip at Frisco.
Joe Shute, a veteran guide in the Morehead City area, said puppy drum are hitting well in the backwaters there.
“It’s best in the Haystacks section and the North River,” said Shute. “We also are catching speckled trout from these same waters, plus at the Cape Lookout rock jetty. Good numbers of gray trout are being taken from around bridges and docks in Pamlico Sound.”
Lake Norman: Very good for largemouth and spotted bass on Alabama rigs. Several tournaments have been won recently by fishermen using these rigs, which feature multiple lures attached. Fair to good for striped bass to 10 pounds and hybrids to 3 pounds in the Stumpy Creek arm on live baits. Fair to good for crappie 15-20 feet deep, mainly on minnows. Catfish are taking cut baits in 10-30 feet of water, with pieces of gizzard shad working best. White perch and small Hybrids are hitting minnows, jigging spoons and Sabiki rigs at a depth of 20 feet.
Lake Wylie: Fair for largemouth on live shad and jerk baits. Fair for crappie 10-20 feet down around boat docks and brush, mainly on minnows.
Mountain Island Lake: Fair for crappie on minnows around bridges, brush and docks.
Cane Creek Park Lake: Crappie on minnows.
Yadkin/Pee Dee River lakes: Very good for crappie in the small “Smith Lake” section of Blewett Falls on minnows and Kalin jigs. Fair for crappie at all other lakes – High Rock, Tuckertown, Badin and Tillery.
Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory: Fair for smallmouth bass on shiners at James. Fair for crappie at Rhodhiss and Hickory.
Fontana Lake: Smallmouth and spotted bass on Gulp! lures, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and twister-tail grubs cast to the shoreline.
Lake Wateree: Fair to good for crappie 18-22 feet deep in the riverine stretch above Wateree Creek and in Singleton Creek.
Lake Murray: Good for striped bass uplake on free-lined live baits and trolled lures.
Lake Thurmond: Good for stripers, hybrids in the Savannah River arm from Parksville to the U.S. 378 Bridge. The fish are hitting live baits worked 20-50 feet deep over 70-80 feet of water. Some surface schooling activity is reported in the lake’s lower section. Fair for largemouth on buzz baits and flukes cast to the edges of hydrilla, especially during early morning.
Santee Cooper lakes: Good for crappie 15-25 feet deep around brush. Fair for schooling stripers on topwater lures, spoons and live baits. The stripers mostly are small, and few of keeper size are being caught.
Lake Hartwell: Fair to good lake-wide and in the Seneca River for stripers on trolled umbrella rigs and free-lined live baits. Good for crappie 15-20 feet deep around bridge pilings and brush.
Lake Keowee: Fair for largemouth and spotted bass 15-20 feet deep on drop-shot rigs, flukes. Some surface schooling noted.
Lake Jocassee: Fair for largemouth and smallmouth bass. Little action for trout because of discolored water caused by rains.
Outer Banks: Nags Head area: Little activity because of foul weather; Oregon Inlet: Little activity; Hatteras Island: Puppy drum in the surf from Avon to Hatteras Village, where small flounder also are being caught; Ocracoke Island: No report; Morehead City area: Wahoo when sea conditions permit anglers to venture offshore.
Southeast Coast: Speckled trout in marshy backwaters.
S.C. Coast: Little River area: A few croaker and whiting; Grand Strand area: Good for reds in the creeks on finger mullet. Good to very good for speckled trout in the Murrells Inlet, Pawley’s Island and Winyah Bay creeks; Charleston area: Reds, or spottails, around docks in the backwaters; Beaufort/Hilton Head area: Very good for trout during early morning on surface lures and grubs in a metal flake pattern. Reds on the flats on mud minnows, spoons.
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