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Fishing Forecast: Lake Norman defying ‘summer doldrums’ for largemouth, spotted bass

Ford McClary, left, of Rock Hill proudly holds his first king mackerel, a 25-pounder caught this week off Georgetown, S.C. Lending an assist, left to right, are Charles McClary of Rock Hill and Spartanburg’s Lauren and Anna McClary. Their party was trolling from the Landing Lady.
Ford McClary, left, of Rock Hill proudly holds his first king mackerel, a 25-pounder caught this week off Georgetown, S.C. Lending an assist, left to right, are Charles McClary of Rock Hill and Spartanburg’s Lauren and Anna McClary. Their party was trolling from the Landing Lady. COURTESY OF CAPT. JODY TANSBERG

Lake Norman and the waters offshore of Hatteras Island presently appear the most promising places to fish in the Carolinas.

Anglers at Norman are catching largemouth and spotted bass in good numbers at a time when these fish supposedly are in “the summer doldrums.”

The bass are primarily striking deep-running crankbaits, such as the Strike King, worked around artificial reefs of stones and concrete placed in the lake jointly by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and N.C. Wildlife Habitat Foundation.

The GPS coordinates for the first four reefs created are Latitude 35.50153, Longitude -80.9717; Latitude 35.62953, Longitude -80.93782; Latitude 35.66.195, Longitude -80.93765; and Latitude 35.5507, Longitude -80.9717. The coordinates for the newest reef weren’t immediately available, but it is located near the island at the mouth of the McCrary Creek arm.

Some bass also are being caught off deep points.

The offshore catch for parties trolling out of Oregon Inlet and Hatteras Village includes billfish, dolphin, wahoo and yellowfin tuna.

Lake Norman: Excellent for plentiful white perch uplake near Long Island. They’re taking earthworms, minnows and small spoons worked 25-30 feet deep around humps and on bottom in the backs of creeks.

Lake Wylie: Good for channel catfish in the 3-5 pound range during early morning on crawlers and cut baits fished 4-10 feet deep along the shoreline. A few blue catfish are being boated from water 30-35 feet deep. Good for bream on crickets. Crappie action is fair to good at night on minnows.

Mountain Island Lake: Good for bream and catfish.

Union County Lakes: Best at Lake Twitty for a mix of bream, catfish and largemouth. Good at Lake Lee for the same species. Bream and catfish at Cane Creek Park. Catfish at Lake Monroe.

Yadkin/Pee Dee River Lakes: Good for bream and catfish the length of the chain from High Rock through Tuckertown, Badin, Tillery and Blewett Falls.

Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory: Continuing fair to good for walleye at James on crawlers worked along clay shoreline. At night the walleye are concentrated off points and in the canal between the Catawba and Linville River arms. Fair for bass, crappie and catfish at Hickory and Rhodhiss.

Rankin Lake: Mainly bream and catfish at the Gastonia municipal reservoir.

Hampton Lake,Yadkin County: Fair to good for largemouth, crappie, bream and catfish, especially the latter two.

Fontana Lake: Good during early morning and late afternoon for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass in surface-feeding schools near Points 9 and 11. They’re striking topwater lures cast to the breaks. Fair for trout at night on crawlers fished 25 feet deep against the dam.

Lake Wateree: Very good for catfish 10-12 feet deep around the flats on cut shad and white perch. Fair for crappie 12-25 feet down around brush and bridge pilings.

Lake Murray: Very good for shellcrackers 6-10 feet deep along the shoreline and around docks. Anglers should look for freshwater clam shells washed up on the shoreline, a sign of where the fish are feeding. Good for striped bass in the wide area near the dam on live herring fished 30-80 feet deep.

Santee Cooper Lakes: Fair for catfish at night. Fair for largemouth around the base of cypress trees on soft plastic lures.

Lake Hartwell: Good for stripers and hybrids, suspended 30-50 feet over 100 feet of water off main lake points and taking live baits. Good for channel catfish on a variety of baits fish 5-20 feet deep off the shoreline.

Lake Keowee: Fair for largemouth and spotted bass 30 feet deep around humps and ledges on drop shot rigs and soft plastic lures.

Lake Jocassee: Fair to good for trout during early morning around the intakes. As the sun gets higher, the trout are spreading out into the main lake and hitting spoons trolled 30 to 70 feet deep.

Outer Banks: Nags Head area: Scattered blues, flounder, Spanish mackerel, spots and whiting in the surf and at piers; Oregon Inlet: Continuing excellent offshore for plentiful yellowfin tuna, along with blackfin tuna, king mackerel and wahoo. Very good for blues, Spanish mackerel and speckled trout closer to shore; Hatteras Island: Excellent offshore for billfish, blackfin tuna, dolphin and wahoo. Big red drum in the 45-inch range in Pamlico Sound, along with flounder. Anglers on one boat scored 14 keeper flounder earlier in the week. Blues, croaker, flounder, gray trout, pompano, Spanish mackerel, spots and whiting in the surf at various locations from Rodanthe to Hatteras Inlet; Ocracoke Island: Continuing fair in the surf for a mix of black drum, blues, flounder, gray trout, puppy drum and Spanish mackerel. Big red drum in the sound, along with a few lingering cobia. Fair billfish, dolphin and wahoo offshore; Morehead City area: Tarpon to 125 pounds at Bogue Inlet Pier along with scattered blues, Spanish mackerel and small spots. Dolphin and yellowfin tuna offshore, along with a few billfish. Blues, croaker and Spanish mackerel along the beach. Flounder and red drum in the marshes.

Southeastern N.C. Coast: Continuing excellent offshore bottom fishing for a variety of species, including black sea bass, gag grouper and vermilion snapper. Good 10-20 miles offshore for king mackerel, dolphin and cobia. Wahoo further offshore. A mix of flounder, red drum, speckled trout and sheepshead at piers and in the inlets and sounds.

S.C. Coast: Little River area: Scattered croaker, spots and whiting; Grand Strand area: Very good for reds, or spottails, in the creeks during moving tides on live baits. Bull-sized red drum at the south end of Litchfield Beach and at the Murrells Inlet jetties on cut mullet and pieces of blue crabs. Flounder, reds and trout in Winyah Bay backwaters near Georgetown. Fair for blues, croaker, pompano and Spanish mackerel at piers. A mix of blackfin tuna, dolphin, and wahoo offshore.

Charleston area: Big tarpon and red drum at the jetties, along with Spanish mackerel. Good for reds and trout during early morning in the backwaters on Super Spook Jr. lures; Beaufort/Hilton Head area: Continuing fair to good for flounder and reds during falling tides, especially around Hilton Head. Live baits are best for the flounder, gold spoons for the reds.

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