Other Sports

Fishing Forecast: Carolinas fishermen reeling in crappie, spotted bass, wahoo

Andy Shiels with a 60-pound wahoo he caught Saturday off Charleston while trolling from a private boat. Another Charleston party fishing from a private boat caught 17 wahoo, keeping a limit of 14.
Andy Shiels with a 60-pound wahoo he caught Saturday off Charleston while trolling from a private boat. Another Charleston party fishing from a private boat caught 17 wahoo, keeping a limit of 14. Photo courtesy of Haddrells Point

Crappie at practically all Piedmont reservoirs, spotted bass at Lake Norman and wahoo offshore presently are providing the best fishing action for anglers in the Carolinas.

Crappie generally have moved into very shallow shoreline cover to spawn and are readily hitting small jigs and minnows on the Catawba and Yadkin-Pee Dee River chains of lakes. Especially good catches are reported from Rhodhiss, Hickory, Norman, Mountain Island, Wylie and Wateree on the Catawba.

All the impoundments on the lower Yadkin-Pee Dee are producing as well, from High Rock through Tuckertown, Badin, Tillery and Blewett Falls.

“Terrific” best describes the spotted bass bite on Norman, where some fishermen have caught and released approximately 100 in a single day.

Hard-fighting, torpedo-shaped wahoo are being caught off most ports from Oregon Inlet southward to Charleston when sea conditions are favorable.

Lake Norman: Excellent for spotted bass in the 2-pound range on small shad and shiners fished in the backs of coves. The bass also are striking shakey-head artificial worms and skirted spinnerbaits. Crappie as shallow as 2 feet around brush and other shoreline cover. Good for hybrids on small shad fished 20-30 feet deep.

Lake Wylie: Excellent for crappie around shallow brush and under docks. Fair to good for largemouth on artificial worms and other soft plastic lures, crankbaits and jerkbaits as the fish move into the coves to spawn. Good for catfish drifting with cut gizzard shad.

Mountain Island Lake: Good to excellent for crappie along the shoreline and around “hides” of Christmas trees sunken weeks ago by anglers. Good for largemouth around the points on crankbaits and soft plastic lures. Good for catfish on crawlers and cut baits.

Union County lakes: Good at all four for crappie - Cane Creek Park, Lakes Lee, Monroe and Twitty.

Rankin Lake, Gastonia: Good catches of catfish, crappie and largemouth continue.

Yadkin/Pee Dee River lakes: Continuing fair to good for largemouth at all five reservoirs. American shad have started to show up in small numbers at the Blewett Falls Dam as the spawning run begins up the Pee Dee from the sea. A few shad have been caught this week on small chartreuse jigs cast from the catwalk at the dam.

Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory: Very good to excellent for crappie at Rhodhiss and Hickory, mainly on minnows. Crappie are hitting fairly well at James. Fair to good at James for smallmouth bass on small crankbaits, soft plastic lures and shiners.

Fontana Lake: Continuing excellent for smallmouth and spotted bass, with a few largemouth mixed in. The most successful anglers are baiting with shiners and casting them right against the shoreline. The bass also are striking jerk baits and soft plastics like the Creepy Crawler double-tailed grub.

Lake Wateree: Excellent for crappie around cover in the shallows. Largemouth continue to strike crank baits cast to rocky points. Good for catfish on cut gizzard shad.

Lake Murray: Continuing good for stripers on live baits either drift fished, free-lined or trolled under planers.

Lake Thurmond: Excellent for crappie. It took 14 crappie weighing 29.81 pounds to win a tournament recently on what once was named Clarks Hill Reservoir.

Lake Hartwell: No report.

Lake Jocassee: Good for largemouth and smallmouth bass on flukes and other soft plastic lures as the fish move into the coves to spawn. Fair to good for trout up to 5 pounds. The trout appear scattered lake-wide and are being caught from the surface down to 50 feet. The best fish are being taken on small spoons.

Lake Keowee: The largemouth and spotted bass bite remains good on artificial worms, other soft plastics and jigs.

Outer Banks: Nags Head area: Little activity because of bad weather over the weekend. Oregon Inlet: Blackfin, bluefin and yellowfin tuna offshore, along with scattered dolphin, when sea conditions are favorable. Hatteras Island: Good to excellent for blackfin tuna off Hatteras Village when seas aren’t too rough to fish. Little activity in the surf except for a few small blues from Frisco to Hatteras Inlet. Ocracoke Island: Scattered red drum to 47 inches in the surf, along with small blues and a few whiting. Morehead City area: Good for blackfin tuna and wahoo offshore when seas are favorable. Gray trout and whiting continue to be caught in Beaufort Inlet. Reds in the marshes on soft plastic lures. Improving for speckled trout in the backwaters.

Southeastern N.C. Coast: Large wahoo and blackfin tuna offshore when sea conditions are decent. Speckled trout in the backwaters on Vudu Shrimp lures in chartreuse color patterns. Whiting are being caught at the piers.

S.C. Coast: Grand Strand area: Flounder are showing in increasing numbers in the backwaters, especially Murrells Inlet and Winyah Bay (Georgetown). Small blues and whiting at piers. Little activity offshore. Charleston area: Excellent offshore for wahoo, with some parties scoring limit catches. Reds, schooled up through the winter in the backwaters, are breaking out of the big concentrations and are feeding around structure such as docks and in the marshes. Flounder have appeared in good numbers during the past week and are taking mud minnows in the backwaters. Continuing very good for sheepshead around the jetties and bridge pilings on fiddler crabs.