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Fishing Forecast

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Fishing Forecast 4.23.14

By Tom Higgins
Correspondent

Largemouth bass biting well across Carolinas

Fishing for largemouth bass generally rates terrific across the Carolinas when water and weather conditions are favorable.

It has taken limits of five bass weighing at least 20 pounds to win most recent local tournaments, and 25.770 pounds topped the scales last weekend in a competition at the Santee Cooper lakes in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

Along the coast, however, a stretch of several days of cold rain and high wind disrupted fishing, especially offshore, and it’s slowly recovering.

Lake Norman : Good for largemouth and spotted bass, and expected to get even better with a forecast for several straight days with high temperatures in the 70s. They’re hitting soft plastic lures best, especially floating artificial worms and flukes. Crappie around piers and shallow brush on jigs and minnows. Good for blue catfish up to 51 pounds on cut baits. Continuing very good for white perch in schools 20-40 feet deep, mainly on minnows.

Lake Wylie: Good to excellent for crappie around brush and boat docks, and the bait choice is 50-50 between jigs and minnows. The best jig color is green/black. Largemouth on a variety of soft plastics, including lizard-like lures, cast to docks and points. Good for catfish while drifting and using cut bait

Mountain Island Lake : Good for bass and crappie.

Union County Lakes: Monroe appears to be producing the best largemouth bass catches. Bass and crappie are hitting well at Lee and Twitty. Crappie at Cane Creek Park are bunched up in the feeder creeks and hitting readily, but many of the fish are small.

Rankin Lake, Gastonia: Continuing generally good for bream and catfish.

Lakes Yadkin-Pee Dee River Lakes: Good for crappie the length of the chain from High Rock through Tuckertown, Badin, Tillery and Blewett Falls. Blue catfish in the Pee Dee River below Blewett Falls. Scattered American shad, migrating up the Pee Dee from the Atlantic, in the tailrace at Blewett Falls Dam. A few especially large roe shad have been caught, with the main spawning run yet to come.

Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory : Fair for crappie at all three as foul weather during much of the past week set things back a bit. Likely to pick up rapidly as conditions improve, especially for bass – smallmouth at James, largemouth at Rhodhiss and Hickory.

Fontana Lake : Continuing good to excellent for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass, with lots of limit catches reported. Anglers scoring best are casting live shiners, floating artificial worms and tube jigs right against the shoreline at the points. Walleye have returned to the main lake from spawning runs up the tributary rivers, but have yet to show up in very many catches.

Lake Wateree : Fair to good for largemouth and spotted bass on crankbaits, soft plastics and skirted spinnerbaits cast to the banks. Crappie around docks and shallow shoreline cover. Catfish 10-15 feet deep in the creeks on cut gizzard shad.

Lake Murray : Good for shellcrackers 2-8 feet deep around brush and docks. Fair to good for crappie, especially at the lake’s upper end, on jigs trolled at the creek mouths. Fair for catfish on cut baits while anchored over humps and points.

Santee Cooper Lakes : Excellent for largemouth bass around shallow cover on a wide range of soft plastic lures. Very improved for catfish, especially while anchoring in the shallows at night.

Lake Hartwell : Good for largemouth and spotted bass in the backs of creeks and along the sides of points on soft plastic baits.

Lake Keowee: Fair to good for largemouth, spotted bass on artificial worms and drop-shot rigs.

Lake Jocassee : Good for trout on spoons trolled from the surface down to 50 feet deep. Some catches are starting to be made on minnows and crawlers at the intake towers.

Outer Banks : Nags Head area: Generally slow because of several days of bad weather, but scattered puppy drum are being caught at piers; Oregon Inlet: Little activity because of adverse conditions, but just before these hit bluefin tuna to 600 pounds were caught offshore; Hatteras Island: Little activity because of weather. However, a bluefish of 10 pounds was reportedly caught in the sound at Hatteras Village; Ocracoke Island: A few large red drum in the surf, along with scattered whiting and small blues; Morehead City area: Whiting in the Turning Basin and at Cape Lookout. Blackfin tuna and wahoo offshore when trolling parties can get at them.

Southeast Coast : Scattered black drum, reds, speckled trout and whiting in the backwaters and at piers, along with a few flounder, as weather slowed activity. Increasing numbers of whiting at the mouth of the Cape Fear River near Southport. Best for flounder in the Shalotte and Lockwood Folly Inlets. Also, flounder at the near-shore artificial reefs during good weather. Large wahoo out of Carolina Beach when it’s possible to reach offshore waters. A few king mackerel at the Frying Pan tower.

S.C. Coast : Little River and Grand Strand areas: Fair for black drum, croaker, small flounder and whiting at piers. Flounder in the backwater creeks’ deep holes on mud minnows. Better for flounder at the artificial reefs just offshore, along with black drum and sheepshead; Charleston area: Fair for reds, speckled trout in the backwaters on soft plastic lures; Beaufort/Hilton Head area: Fair for reds on live baits.

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