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Fishing Forecast

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Fishing report: Coastal activity picking up after Arthur

By Tom Higgins
Correspondent

Coastal activity picking up after Arthur

Angling action along the Carolinas coast resumed quickly in the wake of Hurricane Arthur, a relatively minor storm, or “stinger,” that swept by last week.

Limits of dolphin are being boated offshore of the N.C. sportfishing centers, while puppy drum, or reds, are hitting best inshore from Corolla to Hilton Head.

The usual summertime pattern generally has set in at the lakes, with the first two to three hours after dawn producing the best activity, especially for bass, as temperatures soar into the 90s and the bite slows later in the day.

Lake Norman: Good for white perch with catches of up to 100 per day possible. Schools are being found 30 feet deep off points and the fish are taking minnows, especially threadfin shad, jigging spoons and Sabiki rigs. Good for catfish 10-15 feet deep on practically all baits normally used for them.

Lake Wylie: Mainly bream on crickets and earthworms. Fair at night and during early morning for catfish on crawlers, cut bait and frozen baits such as shrimp.

Mountain Island Lake: Continuing fair to good for bream just off the shoreline. Catfish also are being caught.

Rankin Lake, Gastonia: Bream on crawlers and crickets.

Union County Lakes: Good at all reservoirs for bream and catfish – Cane Creek Park, Lakes Lee, Monroe and Twitty.

Yadkin-Pee Dee River Lakes: Best action is at Badin and Tillery for white perch, locally known as Waccamaws. They are hitting Ice Flies cast to surface-feeding schools. Bream and catfish are being caught at all lakes, from High Rock downstream through Tuckertown, Badin, Tillery and Blewett Falls.

Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory: Little activity except for bream.

Fontana Lake: Slow on the lower end except for a few trout being taken on spoons trolled 30 feet deep near the dam. At the upper end, scattered largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass are being caught on lures cast to the breaks as the fish feed on the surface in the Alarka and Lemons Creek arms.

Lake Wateree: Relatively good for largemouth on shad-imitation lures and skirted spinnerbaits cast to the shaded shallows. Only fair for catfish as they continue to spawn.

Lake Thurmond: Good for bream and shellcrackers, spawning along sandy banks in 6-8 feet of water. Fair for largemouth on humps 12-18 feet down on artificial worms, mop jigs.

Lake Monticello: Good for large blue catfish along ledges 10-70 feet deep on cut baits.

Lake Murray: Continuing fair for crappie in the mid-lake area on minnows worked around brush 10-12 feet down in areas with deeper nearby water. Otherwise, generally slow.

Santee Cooper Lakes: Little action reported.

Lake Hartwell: Fair to good again this week for largemouth, feeding during early morning along the shoreline around old growth as the lake level has reached full pond. They’re hitting artificial frogs, buzz baits and soft plastic lures. Later in the day, the bass are being found around 15-20 feet deep off points and around humps.

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

Lake Jocassee: Fair for largemouth during the first two hours after dawn on topwater lures. Afterward, they’re taking artificial worms worked 30-40 feet deep.

Outer Banks: Nags Head area: Limits of reds and trout in the sounds. Blues, reds, Spanish mackerel and whiting at the piers and in the surf; Oregon Inlet: Excellent offshore for limits of dolphin (mahi mahi), along with wahoo, yellowfin tuna and a few billfish. Plenty of blues, Spanish mackerel inshore. Fair to good in the surf for pompano, reds, sheepshead and whiting; Hatteras Island: Excellent offshore for dolphin, along with billfish and wahoo. Lots of Spanish mackerel closer to the beach. Scattered black drum, blues, croaker, flounder, gray trout, pompano, sheepshead and whiting in the surf at various locations from Rodanthe to Frisco/Hatteras Village; Ocracoke Island: Continuing fair for blues, pompano, puppy drum and whiting in the surf. Dolphin offshore; Morehead City area: Good to excellent for reds in the sounds. Good numbers of Spanish mackerel just off the beach. Spanish and amberjack around the artificial reefs and shipwrecks. Dolphin and billfish offshore. Puppy drum, whiting and occasional tarpon 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 the near-shore artificial reefs. Flounder and red drum from Snow’s Cut near Carolina Beach to the mouth of the Cape Fear River at Southport and in the 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: A few black drum, spots and whiting at the pier; Grand Strand area: Flounder remain in the creeks, but the bite is tapering off. Fair to good for reds in the creeks and at jetties, mainly on sand fleas. Dolphin, sailfish and wahoo offshore. Blues, Spanish mackerel at the piers on jigged gold hooks, with scattered pompano, spots and whiting also showing at piers; Beaufort/Hilton Head area: Continuing good for reds in the creeks around oyster beds, mainly on mud minnows.

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