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Fishing Forecast

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Fishing Forecast: Oregon Inlet offshore activity features wild blue marlin action

By Tom Higgins
Correspondent
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- Photo Courtesy of Patrick Hathcock
Patrick Hathcock of Denver, N.C., caught this 46-pound flathead catfish Monday at Lake Norman, much to the excitement of friends Sara Bower of Denver and Bill Ward of Mooresville. The fish was released.

The Carolinas’ best fishing action continues to take place offshore, especially for parties trolling out of Oregon Inlet and Hatteras Village.

When sea conditions are favorable, they are scoring well on billfish, dolphin and especially large yellowfin tuna. There was unprecedented blue marlin activity during the past few days as anglers aboard two boats had the rare, thrilling experience of three blues striking their baits simultaneously off Oregon Inlet.

The “doldrums” of summer generally continue at the lakes, but much cooler weather conditions could improve things slightly during the next few days.

Lake Norman : Spotted bass from dawn until around 10 a.m. on popping plugs and buzz baits cast to long, shallow points. The bass also are striking soft plastic lures worked in the same waters and around piers. The catfish catch continues, including a 46-pound flathead this week. White perch on small cut baits and jigging spoons fished 20-40 feet deep.

Lake Wylie: Channel catfish on flats 10-20 feet deep on cut baits. Flatheads around brush on live baits.

Mountain Island Lake : Continuing fair for bream and catfish.

Rankin Lake, Gastonia: Bream on crawlers and crickets.

Union County Lakes: Good for catfish at all lakes – Cane Creek Park, Lee, Monroe and Twitty. Lee appears the best choice at present. A large flathead catfish reported at Monroe.

Yadkin-Pee Dee River Lakes: Continuing good for white perch, locally known as Waccamaws, at Badin and Tillery. The perch are taking Ice Flies cast to surface-feeding schools. Bream and catfish at all lakes, from High Rock downstream through Tuckertown, Badin, Tillery and Blewett Falls. Blue catfish in the Pee Dee River below Blewett Falls Dam.

Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory : Night fishing continues to produce some crappie and walleye at James. The crappie are taking minnows and the walleye are hitting crawlers. A few smallmouth bass have been caught on shiners worked around points at James. Anglers are catching mainly bream and catfish at Rhodhiss and Hickory.

Fontana Lake : Fair for trout at night on crawlers fished 30-40 feet deep under lights right against the concrete of the dam. Also, a few trout on spoons and Lucky Craft plugs trolled in the main channel uplake from the dam toward Point 4.

Lake Wateree : Fair for largemouth bass during early morning on skirted spinnerbaits worked around the points. Stripers in the lake’s lower section on live baits fished deep.

Lake Thurmond: Fair for stripers and hybrids on live baits fished on the bottom 50-70 feet deep. Fair to good for largemouth on spinnerbaits, deep-running crankbaits cast to the points.

Lake Monticello: Fair for catfish, which are in various stages of their spawn.

Lake Murray: Good for striped bass on free-lined live baits. Fair to good for crappie on minnows on minnows fished from grass beds out to 20 feet deep. Largemouth around brush on a variety of lures.

Santee Cooper Lakes : Fair for crappie around brush 15-20 feet deep. Bream along the shoreline.

Lake Hartwell : Good for stripers and hybrids on trolled umbrella rigs, free-lined live herring. Good for largemouth on flukes and minnows worked around the pilings of bridges. Fair to good for catfish and crappie.

Lake Keowee: Good for both bream and catfish on traditional baits such as crickets and crawlers, respectively.

Lake Jocassee : Good for trout during the day on spoons trolled 60-80 feet deep. At night the trout are hitting shiners and also crawlers treated with garlic spray.

Outer Banks : Nags Head area: Slow in the surf and at piers except for a few spots and whiting; Oregon Inlet: Excellent offshore for billfish, dolphin and yellowfin tuna to 80 pounds when sea conditions are favorable. Blues, cobia and Spanish mackerel closer to shore. Good in the backwaters for reds, trout and flounder; Hatteras Island: Excellent offshore for billfish, especially sailfish. Dolphin and wahoo also are showing in the catch. Scattered croaker and whiting in the surf from Rodanthe to Hatteras Village, along with a few puppy drum. Good for reds in Pamlico Sound; Ocracoke Island: Fair for surf species, including puppy drum and flounder; Morehead City area: Reds continue to be caught in the marshes on both live baits and lures. Good offshore for billfish and dolphin when sea conditions are favorable. Scattered blues, pompano, speckled trout and whiting at piers.

Southeast Coast : King mackerel to 42 pounds and Spanish mackerel to 5 1/4 have been caught the past few days at piers, along with fair spots, whiting and some keeper-sized speckled trout, the latter by anglers baiting with live shrimp. On the lower Cape Fear River, which had yielded flounder weighing up to 9 1/2 pounds, action slowed a bit because of rains that produced a heavy flow of fresh water. However, the catch is expected to resume by the weekend. Good for flounder and reds elsewhere in backwaters and at artificial reefs. Very good offshore for bottom species. Fair to good offshore for king mackerel and wahoo.

S.C. Coast: Little River area: Scattered spot, whiting; Grand Strand area: Very good offshore for bottom species, including red snapper, with one party scoring 19. Fair dolphin, king mackerel and wahoo offshore for trolling parties. Sheepshead at the Murrells Inlet and Georgetown jetties. A few black drum and whiting at piers, along with scattered blues, flounder, spots, Spanish mackerel and speckled trout; Charleston area: Reds, or spottails, on the flats during incoming tides on mud minnows, shrimp worked under popping corks. Trout on the same baits plus DOA and Z-man lures fished around docks, oyster beds; Beaufort/Hilton Head area: Fair for flounder on mud minnows.

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