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Fishing Forecast: ‘World class’ trolling for king mackerel on Carolinas coast

Offshore trolling for king mackerel and wahoo appears an excellent choice for anglers in the Carolinas during the next few days.

Reports Tuesday from Oregon Inlet southward to Charleston and sites in between indicate that big blackfin tuna in numbers, king mackerel and wahoo are hitting well.

Cold, persistent rain over a period of several days generally discouraged freshwater fishermen from trying. But with better weather in the forecast, the catch, which had been good, should pick up again.

Lake Norman: Very good for blue catfish on cut baits worked 30 feet deep. Good for white perch in schools 20-40 feet down in the backs of coves on minnows, jigging spoons. Continuing good for hybrids and spotted bass in mixed surface-feeding schools from around 2 p.m. until dark on small flies trailing popping corks. Largemouth and spotted bass, on skirted spinnerbaits cast to the shoreline and docks.

Lake Wylie: Catfish on cut white perch and gizzard shad fished 25-40 feet deep along the channel ledges. Fair to good for crappie on minnows worked around brush 25 feet deep.

Mountain Island Lake: Little activity reported.

Cane Creek Park: Continuing fair to good for crappie on minnows fished around deep, brushy cover.

Yadkin/Pee Dee River Lakes: Crappie on minnows the length of the chain from High Rock through Tuckertown, Badin, Tillery and Blewett Falls.

Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory: Smallmouth on shiners around the points at James. Fair for crappie at both Rhodhiss and Hickory.

Fontana Lake: Good for smallmouth and spotted bass on jerk baits, curly-tail soft plastics, spinnerbaits and Zara Spooks cast to rocky shoreline.

Lake Wateree: Catfish 20-30 feet deep in the June Creek section on cut gizzard shad and white perch. Drift-fishing these same baits remains productive between Colonel and Dutchman creeks.

Lake Murray: White perch in schools 20-30 feet deep and striking jigging spoons best. Fair to good for channel catfish around humps and off points on cut herring, shrimp and stink baits.

Lake Thurmond: Continuing fair to good for crappie, generally suspended 15 feet deep over cover 25 feet down.

Santee Cooper Lakes: Stripers in surfacing schools from around 2 p.m. until dark. Most consistent action has been in the Hatchery area of the lower lake, Moultrie. They’re striking bucktails and spoons.

Lake Keowee: Largemouth and spotted bass in surfacing schools on flukes and topwater lures. The bass also are being caught 20-60 feet deep on drop-shot rigs with artificial worms.

Lake Jocassee: Continuing fair for trout 100-feet deep near the dam on minnows worked on downrigger devices. Fair topwater fishing for smallmouth and spotted bass in mixed schools.

Lake Hartwell: Channel catfish on crawlers and cut herring around ledges and humps 15-40 feet deep.

Outer Banks: Nags Head area: Slow in the surf and at piers because of poor weather conditions, but rapid improvement expected. Oregon Inlet: Continuing very good offshore for blackfin and yellowfin tuna, along with dolphin and a few sailfish. Gray trout, striped bass inshore. Hatteras Island: Outstanding offshore for very large blackfin tuna, along with king mackerel, sailfish and a few dolphin. Continuing good in Pamlico Sound for large red drum, along with flounder and speckled trout. Blues, black drum, blow toads, small flounder, puppy drum and whiting in the surf. Ocracoke Island: Increasing numbers of trophy-sized red drum to 47 inches in the surf, which also is yielding black drum, blues, flounder, puppy drum and whiting. Morehead City area: Good and getting better for false albacore in the 18-20 pound range. Good for king mackerel in the 40-pound class over live bottom and at artificial reefs 10-15 miles offshore. Spots and whiting in the surf and at piers.

Southeastern N.C. Coast: What some are calling “world class” king mackerel action 20-30 miles offshore at locations such as the Fairway Ledge. Big wahoo also continue to be boated in numbers offshore. Good for speckled trout inshore with Greens Channel, Rich’s Inlet, Little River Inlet and Mason Inlet producing especially well, along with the Southport section of the Cape Fear River. Black and red drum, plus sheepshead are hitting well, too. A mix of flounder, gray and speckled trout, spots and whiting at piers, with a few kings showing in the catch as well.

S.C. Coast: Little River area: Continuing good for reds, or spottails, at the jetties, along with some flounder and large trout. Grand Strand area: Very good offshore for large king mackerel and wahoo. Black drum, blues, puppy drum, spot and whiting at piers. Charleston area: Big red drum in the surf and at inlet mouths. Very good for speckled trout in the backwaters at creek mouths and around oyster rakes. Plentiful sheepshead at the bridge pilings. Good offshore for king mackerel over 60-80 feet of water.

Beaufort area: Continuing fair to good for reds around docks in the creeks on cut mullet and Gulp! Shrimp lures.

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