Other Sports

Proposed NC Wildlife regulation change could hurt some local catfishing tournaments

A proposed regulation change that could have a drastic effect on catfishing tournaments at Lake Wylie, Badin Lake and Mountain Island Reservoir is on the agenda Thursday for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission board.

The 19-member group is scheduled to meet starting at 9 a.m. at agency headquarters in Raleigh.

The proposal, if adopted, would allow anglers on those lakes to possess only one blue catfish greater than 32 inches in their daily creel. Tournament anglers, many of them experts, often catch several blue catfish exceeding this size during a single day.

Most catfishing organizations in North Carolina have a three-fish tournament limit, with total weights often reaching approximately 100 pounds. In such catches, the length of the three fish usually is in the 36-inch range each or more.

It’s understandable that the commission wants to protect the big fish for spawning purposes. But the size limit seems an unfair penalty for tournament anglers, most of whom are stewards of conservation, devoted to keeping their catches alive until weighed, then releasing them.

Many other changes in fishing regulations are proposed. Included is a ban on possession, transport and release of live white perch in and west of Buncombe, Haywood and Rutherford counties, a move intended to prevent their spread to mountain reservoirs such as Fontana Lake. Also proposed is establishment of a 20-fish-per-day creel limit and an 8-inch size limit for crappie at relatively new, popular Hampton Lake in Yadkin County.

Several regulation changes concerning hunting on Sundays are to be considered in order to conform with state laws passed by the 2015 General Assembly. Among these is a ban on Sunday hunting in counties with greater than 700,000 population. The latter would apply only to Mecklenburg and Wake counties. Observer News Services and Tom Higgins

Catches of the week

▪  Five largemouth bass weighing 19.78 pounds by the duo of Chris Brown and Wayne Ingram to win a Carolinas Bass Challenge Series tournament Saturday at Lake Wylie. They collected a cash prize of $14,000. Ronald and Roger Farrow teamed for second place with 18.01 pounds, earning $5,250. The largest single bass in the tournament weighed 6.9 pounds, checked in by the twosome of Mike Ray and Orlando Giles and good for a $1,000 bonus. –TH

▪  Blue catfish of just over 50 pounds and slightly more than 40 pounds at Lake Wylie by Dieter Melhorn of Gaston County.

▪  A 27-pound blue catfish at Lake Norman by Mac Byrum of Denver, N.C.

▪  Seventeen hybrids and a striped bass on Tuesday by Sam Newman of Mooresville while trolling an Alabama rig at Lake Norman.

▪  Eight large wahoo offshore of Ocean Isle/Little River by Wendell Barnett and party before high winds generally disrupted coastal fishing.