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Fishing Forecast

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Carolinas fishing forecast: Arthur likely to disrupt excellent activity at coast

By Tom Higgins
Correspondent

Arthur likely to disrupt activity

Fishing along the Carolinas coast has rated good to terrific the past few days, but Hurricane Arthur is likely to disrupt activity through the weekend.

Best overall inshore location appears to have been the Charleston area, with inshore waters yielding excellent catches of speckled trout and reds, or spottails. According to sources reporting to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, “the topwater bite has turned on big time” for these popular species. The lures they’re striking best are Yozuri’s new Pencil Walker, along with the Super Spook Jr.

Prime fishing times are the two hours after dawn and before sunset.

Flounder have also shown well in Charleston backwaters, taking mud minnows, shrimp and ZMan Jerk Shadz lures cast to the edges of rock piles and other structure. Big red drum have been caught at jetties on cut mullet, blue crabs and live menhaden. Spanish mackerel in “great numbers” have hit metal lures trolled just off the beaches.

Parties fishing offshore from Oregon Inlet to Morehead City have scored outstanding catches of especially large dolphin, billfish and yellowfin tuna, the latter weighing up to 123 pounds.

Lake Norman : Good to excellent for large white perch, with catches of up to 100 per day reported. The schools are being found 28 to 45 feet deep off points and over humps. Good for largemouth and spotted bass from 5:30 to 9:30 a.m. on topwater lures, including floating worms, cast to the shoreline. Afterward, they’re hitting jigs and shakey-head artificial worms worked under docks near deep water. Continuing good for catfish on cut baits and pieces of chicken fished 10-20 feet deep in the creeks and coves, with some anglers boating up to four per hour.

Lake Wylie: Mainly bream on crickets and earthworms. The catfish bite has slowed as the spawn has begun.

Mountain Island Lake : Continuing good for bream just off the shoreline.

Rankin Lake, Gastonia: Bream on crawlers and crickets. Catfish on crawlers, chicken livers, frozen baits.

Union County Lakes: Good at Lake Twitty for largemouth, along with bream and catfish. Mainly the latter two species at Cane Creek Park, Lee and Monroe lakes.

Yadkin-Pee Dee River Lakes: Continuing good for bream the length of the system from High Rock to Blewett Falls. Badin, Tillery and Blewett Falls still are producing especially well. Large blue catfish in the Pee Dee below the dam at Blewett Falls.

Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory : Fishing for crappie and walleye at night remains good at James. Bream, catfish and scattered largemouth are showing at Hickory and Rhodhiss.

Fontana Lake : Continuing good for trout with two methods of fishing working well. Best catches are being made on crawlers fished 35-40 feet deep at night near the marina at Fontana Village Resort and at the dam. Bigger trout are being boated by anglers trolling spoons at the same depths near the dam. Generally slow for other species.

Lake Wateree : Good for largemouth on shad imitation lures cast to very shallow water. Switching to spinnerbaits is advised if conditions are windy. Only fair for catfish because of their spawn.

Lake Thurmond: Good for bream, shellcrackers in backs of coves and around fallen trees in the water. Fair for largemouth during early morning on topwater lures, artificial worms and mop jigs cast to points and humps.

Lake Murray: Fair to good for crappie in the mid-lake area on minnows worked 20 feet deep around brush.

Santee Cooper Lakes : Little action reported.

Lake Hartwell : Fair to good for largemouth, feeding along the shoreline as the lake level has reached full pond. They’re foraging around the new growth and striking buzz baits and soft plastic lures.

Lake Keowee: Fair for largemouth during early morning on drop-shot rigs.

Lake Jocassee : Fair for largemouth and smallmouth bass during early morning on topwater lures.

Outer Banks : Nags Head area: A mix of blues, flounder, puppy drum, Spanish mackerel and whiting in the surf and at piers; Oregon Inlet: Continuing excellent offshore for limits of very large dolphin, along with billfish and yellowfin tuna. Blues and Spanish mackerel inshore; Hatteras Island: Excellent offshore for billfish, dolphin and large yellowfin tuna. The surf generally is yielding fair numbers of blues, croaker, flounder, pompano, sheepshead, Spanish mackerel, spots, trout and whiting. Good to excellent in Pamlico Sound for puppy drum; Ocracoke Island: Fair for blues, pompano, puppy drum, trout and whiting in the surf. Big dolphin offshore; Morehead City area: Good along the beaches for Spanish mackerel and for reds back in the marshes. Billfish and dolphin offshore. Blues, flounder, pompano, puppy drum, spots and whiting at piers.

Southeast Coast : Continuing good bottom fishing offshore for black seabass, grouper, triggerfish and vermillion snapper. Dolphin, king mackerel offshore. Good for flounder, spadefish at near-shore artificial reefs. Flounder, red drum from Snow’s Cut near Carolina Beach to mouth of Cape Fear River at Southport and in creeks at Bald Head Island and Tubbs Inlet. Speckled trout during early morning at piers, which also are yielding scattered blues, flounder, pompano, spadefish and whiting.

S.C. Coast: Little River area: Scattered black drum, spots and whiting at the pier; Grand Strand area: Continuing good for flounder in the creeks during the last two hours of the falling tide. Good for reds in the creeks and at the jetties on blue crabs, finger mullet, sand fleas and shrimp. Dolphin, sailfish and wahoo offshore. Fair for blues, pompano, Spanish mackerel, spots and whiting at piers; Beaufort/Hilton Head area: Good for reds in the small creeks around oyster beds, mainly on mud minnows.

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