Puppy drum outlook upbeat in surf at Nags Head, Buxton
Puppy drum are hitting “full force” in the Outer Banks surf of Roanoke and Hatteras islands, multiple sources reported this week.
Action appears best at the south end of Nags Head, on the north side of Oregon Inlet and at Buxton. Some anglers have caught 15 to 20 fish per day.
Somewhat surprisingly, the most promising freshwater locations are the major lakes in the South Carolina mountains, Jocassee and Keowee. The S.C. Wildlife Department reported Tuesday that bass fishing rates very good on both.
Lake Norman: High, muddy water created by recent heavy rains generally has slowed action. In decent water conditions, largemouth and spotted bass are striking fairly well, taking mainly Alabama rigs and skirted spinnerbaits. Boating in some areas, especially uplake, is risky because of logs and debris washed in by the rain.
Lake Wylie: Good for largemouth bass downlake from the Buster Boyd Bridge on Alabama rigs, jigs and spinnerbaits. Water conditions above the bridge mostly are unsuitable for fishing because of discoloration and debris.
Mountain Island Lake: Little activity.
Cane Creek Park Lake: Fair to good for crappie on minnows.
Yadkin/Pee Dee River lakes: Fair to good for crappie in the “Smith Lake” section of Blewett Falls on minnows and Kalin jigs. Little activity reported at the other reservoirs – Badin, Tillery, High Rock and Tuckertown.
Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory: Good for smallmouth bass on shiners at James. Walleye at James on ice jigs and spoons worked deep in the canal connecting the Catawba and Linville River arms. Improving for crappie at Rhodhiss. Fair for largemouth at Hickory.
Fontana Lake: Fair to good for walleye on spoons jigged 60-70 feet deep off points in the Hazel Creek arm. Fair for smallmouth and spotted bass, hitting crankbaits and skirted spinnerbaits cast to the shoreline.
Lake Wateree: Fair for crappie 20-25 feet deep in the stretch of lake from the State Park to Wateree Creek.
Lake Murray: Fair for striped bass in the larger creeks on free-lined live baits. Some striper surface-schooling activity has been noted at the reservoir’s upper end.
Santee Cooper lakes: Good for large catfish in the lower lake, Moultrie, on gizzard shad worked deep. Improving for schooling small stripers in Marion and Moultrie on topwater lures, spoons and live herring.
Lake Hartwell: Fair to good for stripers, hybrids on trolled umbrella rigs and free-lined gizzard shad. Some big stripers have been boated. Fair for crappie 20-30 feet down around bridge pilings and brush, mainly on minnows.
Lake Keowee: Very good for largemouth and spotted bass from surface-feeding schools, with some fishermen reporting the catch and release of up to 20 per day. They’re hitting small topwater lures best. Live baits also are working well.
Lake Jocassee: Very good for largemouth and smallmouth in the backs of creeks, with some trout mixed in. The fish are following schools of forage species and are being caught from the surface down to 40 feet deep. Jigging spoons have been especially effective lures.
Outer Banks: Nags Head area: Large red drum and puppy drum in the surf at the southern end of town; Oregon Inlet: Plentiful puppy drum in the surf and action rates excellent. Blackfin tuna offshore when sea condition are favorable; Hatteras Island: Puppy drum in “full force” in the surf at Cape Point near Buxton, at the jetties fronting the former lighthouse site and near where Ramp 44 crosses the dunes. Good for blackfin tuna to 36 pounds off of Hatteras Village. Commercial anglers are catching good numbers of king mackerel off Hatteras, but there has been no sportfishing for them the past few days; Ocracoke Island: No report; Morehead City area: Generally slow, except for a few trout in the backwaters.
Southeast Coast: Fair for trout in the backwaters. Large grouper offshore when sea conditions are favorable.
S.C. Coast: Little River area: Little activity; Grand Strand area: A few trout around the jetties and piers; Charleston area: Good sight-fishing for reds, gathered in schools and cruising the backwater flats. Blackfin tuna and wahoo offshore when conditions are decent; Beaufort/Hilton Head area: Good for speckled trout at creek mouths on Gulp! Shrimp lures. Sheepshead around heavy structure such as bridge pilings.
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