Offshore fishing along the Carolinas coast continues to prove exceptional.
The catches includes numerous billfish, limits of dolphin, increasing numbers of king mackerel and, off the Outer Banks, limits of yellowfin tuna.
Oregon Inlet’s sportfishing fleet appears to be having the best success overall, closely followed by those based at Hatteras Village and Morehead City.
There are fine catfish reports this week from Lakes Norman, Wylie, Wateree, Murray and Thurmond.
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Lake Norman—Plentiful white perch around ledges and humps 30 feet deep on earthworms, minnows, Sabiki rigs and spoons. Catfish lake-wide on cut baits worked 10-30 feet deep. Good for spotted bass during early morning on topwater lures cast to shaded points and rip-rap, plus docks with deep water. Later in the day the bass are hitting soft plastic lures. Crappie around cover 30 feet down, mainly taking minnows.
Lake Wylie—Very good for catfish at deep drop-offs and points, preferably where there is a bit of current. Channel catfish are biting best, but blues to 15 pounds also are being caught along with a few flatheads. Cut gizzard shad is the bait of choice. Crappie at night from around deep brush on minnows.
Mountain Island Lake—Continuing good for bream along the shoreline on crickets and earthworms. Catfish on traditional baits such as crawlers.
Union County Lakes—Fair for largemouth during early morning at all four impoundments: Cane Creek Park, Lee, Monroe and Twitty. Bream and catfish also are being caught in fair numbers.
Yadkin/Pee Dee River Lakes—Mainly bream and catfish as the water temperature rises at High Rock, Tuckertwon, Badin, Tillery and Blewett Falls. Some crappie, mostly at night.
Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory—Good for walleye at James on crawlers worked along clay shoreline. Continuing fair to good for bream and catfish at Hickory and Rhodhiss.
Rankin Lake—Still mainly bream and catfish at the Gastonia municipal reservoir.
Hampton Lake,Yadkin County—Fair to good for all four main species: largemouth, crappie, bream and catfish.
Fontana Lake—Continuing fair for smallmouth and spotted bass on topwater lures such as Pop Rs cast to the breaks. Best feeding activity is taking place early and late in the day uplake near Point 11.
Lake Wateree—Blue catfish to 12 pounds while drift-fishing or slow trolling with cut baits along ledges 15-20 feet deep.
Lake Murray—Good for striped bass in the big water at the dam. Free-lining live baits works best in early morning, then the most successful anglers are switching to down lines.
Lake Thurmond—Very good for stripers and hybrids around the rip-rap at the dam in early morning on live herring, then 50-60 feet deep off the main lake points. Very good for channel catfish during early morning on cut herring worked around deep drops and points.
Santee Cooper Lakes—Good for both crappie and bream. The crappie are around brushy cover 15-20 feet deep, the bream along the shoreline.
Lake Hartwell—Very good for stripers and hybrids on live herring fished 30-40 feet down around major points. Plentiful channel catfish are taking a variety of baits all over the lake.
Lake Keowee—A good topwater bite for largemouth and spotted bass during the hour after dawn. The action then slows.
Lake Jocassee—Fair for trout on minnows and spoons fished 25-40 feet deep around the intakes and up the rivers.
Outer Banks—Nags Head area: Blues to 9.5 pounds and whiting at the piers and more scattered in the surf; Oregon Inlet: Excellent offshore for limits of gaffer dolphin and large yellowfin tuna. Bigeye tuna also are showing in the catch. Blue and white marlin are being boated and mostly released. The catch closer to shore includes cobia, king and Spanish mackerel. sheepshead on the east side of Bonner Bridge. Hatteras Island: Limits of dolphin offshore of Hatteras Village, along with billfish, blackfin tuna and wahoo. Large pompano to 2 ½ pounds in the surf near Hatteras Inlet. From Salvo to Frisco the surf is yielding blues, croaker, a few keeper flounder, Spanish mackerel, spots and whiting. Good for reds in Pamlico Sound; Ocracoke Island: Continuing good offshore for dolphin and wahoo. Fair in the surf for flounder, gray trout, pompano and sheepshead. A few reds at the island’s north end;black drum, blues, pompano and sheepshead; Morehead City area: Very good to excellent offshore for billfish, dolphin and wahoo. The dolphin have moved closer to areas about 14-15 miles out, including locations known as Big 10, Little 10 and Northwest Places. Spanish mackerel to 6.5 pounds at piers, along with croaker, spots and whiting. Good for red drum in the backwaters of the Newport and North Rivers and Core Creek.
Southeastern N.C. Coast—Very improved for king mackerel over 50-70 feet of water. Sites known as the Shark Hole and Jungle are producing especially well. Offshore anglers are scoring on dolphin and bottom species. Good for flounder in the Cape Fear River between Wilmington and Southport. sheepshead in the surf in the Sunset Beach area. Some limits of trout on live shrimp during early morning at piers, which also are producing black drum, king mackerel and sheepshead. Fair for trout in the creeks at Bald Head Island.
S.C. Coast—Little River area: Blues in the 24-inch range continue to show along with some Spanish mackerel; Grand Strand area: Excellent offshore for dolphin and wahoo with billfish also showing in the catch. Flounder at the Pawley’s Island Bridges and in Murrells Inlet. Reds in the creeks on small mullet and menhaden. Trout at the Surfside Ledges and 3-Mile Reef. Black drum, pompano and Spanish mackerel at piers; Charleston area: Very good for Spanish mackerel at the seaward tips of jetties along with some large red drum. Reds also are being caught under docks in the backwaters. Trout on live shrimp around shell rakes; Beaufort/Hilton Head area: Reds on shrimp in the creeks. Sight casting both baits and artificial lures just before low tide has been very effective. Tarpon have been sighted in Port Royal Sound.