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Fishing Forecast: Dolphin in big numbers off South Carolina coast

Dolphin, migrating northward, are showing up in big numbers off the South Carolina coast.

Limit catches of large dolphin of “gaffer size” are reported from both Charleston and Georgetown. Parties trolling from Georgetown Landing Marina aboard the Big Sky and Landing Lady scored especially impressive hauls over the weekend.

Big blackfin tuna are being boated the length of the Carolinas coast, from Oregon Inlet to the Beaufort/Hilton Head area.

Lake Norman: Good for hybrids and spotted bass on live baits fished 5-15 feet deep around points and flats. Largemouth and spotted bass well back in the coves on crankbaits, flukes and jerkbaits. Crappie around brushy cover 10-15 feet down.

Lake Wylie: Continuing good for crappie on minnows Bobby Garland-brand jigs worked 10-20 feet down around bridge pilings, brush and docks. Good for largemouth on artificial worms. Catfish continue to be found in the river arms and are taking cut baits fished around structure.

Mountain Island Lake: Generally good for crappie, catfish and largemouth.

Union County Lakes: Very good for crappie at all four: Cane Creek Park, Lakes Lee, Monroe and Twitty. The bream bite is excellent on crickets and largemouth also continue to hit well. Catfish are being caught on crawlers and cut baits.

Rankin Lake, Gastonia: Action remains good for catfish, crappie and largemouth.

Yadkin/Pee Dee River Lakes: Excellent for crappie at High Rock and good at the rest--Tuckertown, Badin, Tillery and Blewett Falls. One party of four fishermen reported catching approximately 400 crappie at High Rock over the weekend, keeping about 100 and releasing the rest. Fishing for spawning American shad continues very good in the tailrace at Blewett Falls, and now stripers also are being caught at the site near Lilesville.

Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory: Good for crappie and fair for smallmouth bass at James. Crappie and largemouth continue to hit well at Rhodhiss and Hickory. Stripers in the tailraces at the Rhodhiss and Oxford Dams (the latter forms Lake Hickory).

Hampton Lake, Yadkin County: Continuing good for bream, crappie, catfish and largemouth.

Fontana Lake: Excellent for smallmouth and spotted bass on free-lined shiners fished right along the shoreline. Numerous limit catches reported the past few days.

Lake Murray: Continuing good for stripers, hitting live baits either free-lined or trolled under planer boards. Good for crappie around bridge pilings and docks in deep water. Catfish on cut baits at the points and around humps.

Lake Hartwell: Good for largemouth around shallow points. Good for stripers and hybrids all across the lake and up the rivers. The stripers are hitting free-lined live baits best. Catfish on cut baits, crawlers just off the shoreline.

Lake Keowee: Good for largemouth on artificial worms and other soft plastic lures, spinnerbaits and , swimbaits.

Santee Cooper Lakes: Continuing very good for bream and shellcrackers in the shallows. Largemouth also are feeding shallow, hitting soft plastics best. Fair to good for catfish on cut baits worked 20-30 feet deep.

Outer Banks: Nags Head area: Blow toads, or puffers, and whiting in the surf and at piers. Stripers and trout at the Little Bridge in Manteo. Oregon Inlet: Good to excellent offshore for blackfin and yellowfin tuna, with dolphin and sailfish starting to show in the catch. Excellent for striped bass in the sound, with one party reporting the catch and release of approximately 100 on Sunday. Hatteras Island: Limits of large blackfin tuna offshore. Inshore anglers are scoring big on trophy red drum in Pamlico Sound. The season’s first cobia has been caught and it proved to be a dandy: 73 pounds. Large red drum also are being caught and released at night in the surf at Cape Point near Buxton. Blow toads and whiting in the surf from Rodanthe to Hatteras Village. Ocracoke Island: Plentiful whiting in the surf along with blow toads and blues. Trophy-sized red drum in the surf at night. Morehead City area: Dolphin are starting to appear in the offshore catch, joining blackfin tuna, sailfish and wahoo. Blues in the surf, at piers and in Beaufort Inlet. Flounder at the near-shore artificial reefs and ship wrecks.

Southeastern N.C. Coast: Blackfin tuna, dolphin and wahoo offshore. Excellent for bottom species offshore. Big red drum at the Yaupon Reef. Black drum, blues and whiting at piers, along with scattered flounder.

S.C. Coast: Grand Strand area: Continuing fair to good catches of flounder in Cherry Grove and Murrells Inlets. Blues, blow toads and whiting at piers. Good for black drum, reds and speckled trout in Winyah Bay at Georgetown. Charleston area: A 600-pound blue marlin spiced especially good offshore action during the weekend, which included limits of large dolphin, along with blackfin tuna and wahoo. Good in the backwaters for reds around docks on cut bait and for speckled trout around oyster beds in moving waters on ZMan lures. Beaufort/Hilton Head area: Good for blackfin tuna and dolphin offshore. Reds and trout in the marshes. Cobia are starting to migrate into Port Royal Sound and the Broad River.

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