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Fishing Forecast

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Offshore trolling best bet for Carolinas fishing action

By Tom Higgins
Correspondent
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- Photo Courtesy N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission
Victoria Navaroli, 13, of Charlotte caight a 1 pound, 15 ounce green sunfish July 12 that has been certified as a state record by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. She pulled the fish from a private pond in Creston, Ashe County, while fishing with her big brother, Jack. It beat the previous record listing by an ounce.

Offshore trolling continues to produce the best fishing action in the Carolinas.

The wahoo catch has been especially good during the past few days, with dolphin, or mahi mahi, also showing well.

Inshore, schools of Spanish mackerel are feeding at many locations, and several large king mackerel have been caught by pier anglers along the Southeastern N.C. coast.

Lake Norman : Fair to good during early morning for a mix of largemouth and spotted bass. They continue to strike topwater lures cast to points and rip-rap, but increasingly the best fish are being caught on artificial lizards and worms worked around piers near deep water. These plastics in either black or green patterns seem to be producing the most hits. Good for catfish, surprisingly shallow just 5-14 feet deep, on cut baits.

Lake Wylie: Seasonally slow for all but bream and catfish, which are hitting fairly well.

Mountain Island Lake : Continuing fair to good for bream and catfish.

Rankin Lake, Gastonia: Bream and catfish on traditional baits.

Union County Lakes: Fair catches of bream and catfish reported from all reservoirs – Cane Creek Park, Lakes Lee, Monroe and Twitty.

Yadkin-Pee Dee River Lakes: Very good at Lake Tillery for white perch, locally known as Waccamaws. They’re hitting Ice Flies either jigged or bounced along the bottom when schools are located, usually 20-30 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 : Relatively little activity reported.

Fontana Lake : Slow for all species.

Lake Wateree : Fair to good for crappie in the mid-lake area on minnows and green jigs worked around brush 18-22 feet deep.

Lake Thurmond: Last week the S.C. Department of Natural Resources reported that “stripers in the 2-pound range are everywhere,” and this hasn’t changed. The fish are on the points and hitting live baits. Larger striped bass are being caught 50-60 feet deep on live herring. Good for channel catfish in the small coves on cut baits, shrimp worked 10-25 feet down.

Lake Murray: Fair to good for largemouth bass on flukes and artificial worms fished on grass points. Striped bass 40-80 feet deep on live herring, with the reservoir’s lower section producing best. Good for channel catfish on points and around humps. Good for shellcrackers along the shoreline and for bream out to 20 feet deep.

Santee Cooper Lakes : Continuing good for crappie, hitting around brush 8-14 feet deep in the creeks and 12-20 feet down in the main bodies of Lakes Marion and Moultrie. Fair to good for bream along the shoreline.

Lake Hartwell : Very good for stripers, hybrids from mid-lake to the dam on live baits fished 30-60 feet deep in the channel and on the main points. Channel catfish 10-30 feet deep. Very good for large white perch on the lake’s lower end.

Lake Keowee: Generally slow.

Lake Jocassee : Fair for trout on spoons trolled 60-80 feet deep. At night, trout are being caught 30-40 feet down around the intake towers on crawlers.

Outer Banks : Nags Head area: Blues, croaker, spots and whiting in the surf and at piers; Oregon Inlet: Limits of dolphin offshore, with with bigeye tuna, wahoo, white marlin and yellowfin tuna also being boated. Excellent for Spanish mackerel inshore. Good for reds, trout in the backwaters; Hatteras Island: Very good offshore for billfish, dolphin and wahoo. Good for reds and speckled trout in Pamlico Sound. Blues, croaker, flounder, gray trout, pompano, sheepshead and whiting in the surf at various locations from Rodanthe to Frisco/Hatteras Village; Ocracoke Island: Blues, flounder, gray trout and puppy drum in the surf; Morehead City area: Increasing catches of big red drum in the Neuse River and Pamlico Sound. Quite a few smaller reds in the Bogue and Core Sounds. Very good for sheepshead in the Turning Basin and around bridge pilings. Fine limits of wahoo offshore, along with dolphin. Schools of Spanish mackerel in Beaufort Inlet. Blues, Spanish and king mackerel at piers.

Southeast Coast : Limits of wahoo in the 40-pound range offshore, along with very good catches of bottom species. Flounder, red drum at the near-shore artificial reefs. Good in the backwaters from Sunset Beach to Little River for drum, flounder and trout. Several large king mackerel at piers, along with flounder, sheepshead and spots.

S.C. Coast: Little River area: Croaker, pompano, whiting and a few spots; Grand Strand area: Continuing fair to good for flounder in the creeks during the hours of tide changes. Larger flounder are being boated at the 3-Mile Reef. Black and red drum at the Georgetown and Murrells Inlet jetties on sectioned blue crabs. A mix of blues, flounder, sheepshead, spots, trout and whiting at piers. Good to excellent offshore for large wahoo, plus dolphin and king mackerel; Charleston area: Tarpon at the tips of jetties and inlet mouths on cut baits, live menhaden and mullet. “Bull” red drum at the jetties. Spansh mackerel just outside the jetties and at the mouths of inlets. Reds and trout in the backwaters; Beaufort/Hilton Head area: Tarpon in Port Royal Sound. Spanish mackerel at the White Water Reef.

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