Lakes Norman and Wylie and North Carolina’s offshore waters appear the best choices for angling action during the next few days.
The catfish catch at Norman and Wylie, the Catawba River reservoirs near Charlotte, hardly could be better, according to two area experts.
Dieter Melhorn of Cramerton reported boating and releasing more than 100 catfish weighing up to 17 pounds in three days of fishing at Wylie. And Mac Byrum of Denver, N.C., said he averaged six catfish per hour in two trips of three hours each at Norman. Byrum’s best was a 12-pounder.
Melhorn baited with cut white perch, Byrum with chicken nuggets flavored with garlic salt. Both were fishing 10-30 feet deep.
The coastal offshore catch includes the most prized of Carolinas saltwater game fish: blue and white marlin, sailfish, dolphin (or mahi mahi), king mackerel and wahoo. The Oregon Inlet and Hatteras Village charter fleets accounted for the best catches the past few days.
Lake Norman: Plentiful white perch 30 feet deep around humps and off points on minnows and Sabiki rigs. The Little Creek area has been especially productive.
Lake Wylie: Fair for largemouth bass, gathered 20-30 feet down off points and around humps, where they’re hitting deep-running crankbaits, football jigs and large artificial worms. Bream on crickets and earthworms.
Mountain Island Lake: Fair to good for bream and catfish on crickets and crawlers, respectively.
Union County lakes: Fair at all four – Cane Creek Park, Lee, Monroe and Twitty – for bream and catfish.
Yadkin/Pee Dee River lakes: Mainly bream and catfish the length of the chain from High Rock through Tuckertown, Badin, Tillery and Blewett Falls.
Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory: Fair to good for walleye at James on crawlers worked on clay points. Bream and catfish at Hickory and Rhodhiss.
Rankin Lake: Typical summertime fare at the Gastonia municipal reservoir: bream and catfish.
Hampton Lake, Yadkin County: Fair to good for largemouth, crappie, bream and catfish, especially the latter two.
Fontana Lake: Fair for trout at night on crawlers fished 30-40 feet deep against the dam. Fair during very early morning for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass on Pop R lures and floating artificial worms cast to the shoreline.
Lake Wateree: Good for crappie around brush 18-22 feet deep in the main lake on Slab Tail jigs in green, pearl and yellow colors.
Lake Murray: Good for striped bass 35-70 feet deep around humps and in the river channel on live baits. The stripers also are hitting trolled Stretch 25 lures and umbrella rigs. Good for shellcrackers just off the shoreline around cover 12-15 feet deep on crawlers.
Santee Cooper lakes: Fair to good for catfish drift fishing with stink baits in the lower portion of Lake Marion and in the Diversion Canal.
Lake Hartwell: Very good for channel catfish 5-30 feet deep on crawlers, cut herring and earthworms. Fair for largemouth bass around deep brush on artificial worms.
Lake Thurmond: Very good for stripers and hybrids in the lower 10 miles of the lake during early morning on cut baits fished 30-50 feet deep off points. Good for crappie in the rivers, suspended 15 feet deep over brush 25 feet down.
Lake Keowee: Fair for largemouth and spotted bass 30 feet deep around humps and deep points on drop shot rigs and artificial worms.
Lake Jocassee: Fair to good for trout during early morning around the intakes. As the day progresses the trout are moving into the main lake and hitting spoons trolled 30-70 feet deep.
Outer Banks: Nags Head area: Good in the surf for blues and Spanish mackerel. Scattered blues, cobia, croaker, flounder, Spanish mackerel, spots, trout and whiting at piers; Oregon Inlet: Excellent offshore for limits of dolphin, with billfish, blackfin and yellowfin tuna, king mackerel and wahoo also being boated. Very good for blues, Spanish mackerel and speckled trout closer to shore. Sheepshead for anglers on the Bonner Bridge catwalk; Hatteras Island: Excellent offshore for billfish, blackfin tuna, dolphin and wahoo. Blues, croaker, flounder, gray trout, pompano, Spanish mackerel, spots, and whiting in the surf at various locations from Rodanthe to Hatteras Inlet. King mackerel and tarpon have been caught at the Rodanthe and Avon piers; Ocracoke Island: Fair in the surf for a mix of black drum, blues, flounder, gray trout, puppy drum and Spanish mackerel. Fair billfish, dolphin and wahoo offshore; Morehead City area: Dolphin and yellowfin tuna offshore, along with a few billfish. Blues, croaker and Spanish mackerel at piers and along the beach. Flounder and red drum in the marshes.
Southeastern N.C. Coast: Excellent during early morning at Oak Island piers for speckled trout on live shrimp, with limit catches reported. Continuing very good offshore bottom fishing for a variety of species, including black sea bass, gag grouper and vermilion snapper. Good 10-20 miles offshore for cobia, dolphin, king mackerel and sailfish. Wahoo further offshore. A mix of black drum, small flounder, pompano, reds and sheepshead at piers.
S.C. Coast: Little River area: Scattered black drum, blues, croaker, small flounder, sheepshead, spots and whiting; Grand Strand area: Very good for reds, or spottails, in the creeks around shell rakes during moving tides on mud minnows. Bull-sized red drum at the south end of Litchfield Beach and at the Murrells Inlet north jetty wall on cut mullet and pieces of blue crabs. Flounder, reds and trout in Winyah Bay backwaters near Georgetown. Billfish, blackfin tuna, dolphin, king mackerel and wahoo offshore. Fair for blues, croaker, pompano and Spanish mackerel at piers; Charleston area: “Thick” schools of Spanish mackerel at the jetties, along with scattered tarpon and red drum. Flounder along rock edges and at creek mouths on mud minnows and Jerk Shad lures. Reds around backwater docks on cut mullet and Gulp! Shrimp lures; Beaufort/Hilton Head area: Good for reds tailing in the marshes to feed during high tides on flies, gold spoons and mud minnows.