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Fishing Forecast

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Fishing Forecast: Dolphin are dominating offshore action at Outer Banks

By Tom Higgins
Correspondent

The ocean appears alive with dolphin, or tasty mahi mahi, off the Outer Banks as fishing parties generally are returning to dock with limit catches when weather conditions are favorable for trolling.

Best action seems to be off Oregon Inlet and Hatteras Village, with very heavy catches reported. Charter fleets and anglers on private boats from other ports, including Morehead City, are scoring almost as well.

Additionally, quite a few billfish – blue and while marlin, plus sailfish – have been boated the past few days. Included is a 400-pound blue marlin taken off Oregon Inlet.

Inland, the usual pattern of slow summertime fishing has set in at the lakes. However, anglers willing to be on the water at dawn are scoring fairly well, especially at Lake Norman, for largemouth and spotted bass.

Lake Norman : Good for largemouth and spotted bass from safe light until about 9 a.m. They’re striking topwater lures best, with the most popular at present being the V-Twin buzz bait, created by John Morton of Monroe. White perch continue to hit well, taking small cut baits and jigging spoons worked at a depth of 20 feet.

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: Fair to good for bream and catfish at Lakes Lee, Monroe and Twitty. A large bass at Lee. Mostly largemouth in early morning at Cane Creek Park.

Yadkin-Pee Dee River Lakes: Best action continues at Badin and Tillery for white perch, locally known as Waccamaws. They are hitting Ice Flies worked 15 feet deep. Bream and catfish are being caught at all lakes, from High Rock downstream through Tuckertown, Badin, Tillery and Blewett Falls.

Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory : Crappie at night at Lake James on minnows. Bream and catfish at Rhodhiss and Hickory, which also is producing a few largemouth.

Fontana Lake : Fair for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass, hitting Pop R and Tiny Torpedo lures cast to surface breaks in the Eagle and Hazel Creek arms during early morning and late afternoon. Scattered trout on spoons trolled 35 feet deep near the dam. Otherwise, very slow.

Lake Wateree : Fair for largemouth on shad-imitation lures and skirted spinnerbaits cast to the shaded shallows in early morning. Spawning bream along the shoreline.

Lake Thurmond: Fair to good for stripers and hybrids on live baits. Continuing good for bream and shellcrackers, spawning along sandy banks in 6-8 feet of water. Fair for largemouth on humps 15-20 feet down on artificial worms, mop jigs.

Lake Monticello: Good for large blue catfish in the 40-pound range, mainly at night on cut baits.

Lake Murray: No report.

Santee Cooper Lakes : No report.

Lake Hartwell : Scattered largemouth, continuing to feed during early morning along the shoreline around old growth as the lake level has reached full pond. They’re hitting a variety of topwater plugs and soft plastic lures.

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

Lake Jocassee : Continuing fair for largemouth during the first two hours after dawn on topwater lures.

Outer Banks : Nags Head area: Scattered croaker, flounder, puppy drum, spots and whiting in the surf and at piers; Oregon Inlet: Excellent offshore for limits of dolphin, along with billfish, especially marlin. A good mix of blues, bonito, cobia and Spanish mackerel for parties fishing from boats near shore; Hatteras Island: Excellent offshore for dolphin, along with sailfish, tilefish and wahoo. Plentiful Spanish mackerel closer to the beach. Good action offshore for bottom species like red snapper. Puppy drum and flounder in Pamlico Sound. 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: No report; Morehead City area: Good to excellent for reds in the marshes. Dolphin, billfish and wahoo offshore. Pompano, spots and whiting at piers, along with scattered Spanish mackerel.

Southeast Coast : Very good in the backwaters and at the artificial reefs for flounder to 8 1/2 pounds, with some anglers scoring limits. Best catches have been reported near Ocean Isle, Sunset Beach and in the Cape Fear River from Snow’s Cut to Southport. Spadefish and Spanish mackerel also are being caught at the artificial reefs, and reds are hitting in the backwaters. Fair to good offshore for king mackerel, with dolphin and sailfish showing in the catch. Scattered blues, flounder, pompano and whiting at piers.

S.C. Coast: Little River area: No report; Grand Strand area: Good offshore for dolphin, along with cobia, king mackerel, sailfish and wahoo. Good for red snapper on bottom with one party scoring a rare limit off Georgetown. Scattered blues, flounder, Spanish mackerel and whiting at piers; Charleston area: No report; Beaufort/Hilton Head area: No report.

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