Perch, striped bass biting in Norman
Lake Norman continues to yield great catches of white perch, with relatively large striped bass in the 10-pound range and hybrids mixed in.
Fontana Lake in the Great Smoky Mountains also remains a promising destination for anglers, with limits of smallmouth and spotted bass reported. Walleye are hitting well, too.
On the coast, massive bluefin tuna are being caught just off Morehead City, but not in big numbers.
A bluefin weighing 1,005 pounds and measuring 116 inches was boated this week. The fish would have broken the N.C. record for the species by 200 pounds, but isn’t eligible for listing because it was sold commercially.
Lake Norman: Very good to excellent for white perch with stripers, spotted bass, hybrids and white perch in mixed schools. The fish are taking live baits and Alabama rigs 45 feet deep. Waters near the mouth of the Plant Marshall hot hole have been especially productive. Largemouth and spotted bass on jerk baits cast to flat points with deep water nearby.
Lake Wylie: Very good for catfish at the mouths of creeks on fresh-cut gizzard shad either drift fished or slow trolled. The fish generally are being found 35-55 feet deep. Good for crappie around deep brush or other cover on minnows.
Mountain Island Lake: Fair to good for crappie around deep brush.
Cane Creek Park Lake: Good for crappie on minnows around deep cover.
Yadkin-Pee Dee River Lakes: Good for crappie around deep brush at Badin, Tillery and Blewett Falls on minnows and Kalin jigs.
Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory: Very good at James for smallmouth bass on shiners worked around points. A few crappie also are being caught at James. Fair for crappie at Rhodhiss. Generally slow at Hickory.
Fontana Lake: Very good to exceptional for smallmouth and spotted bass. They’re hitting around the points, taking Alabama rigs and Bandit crankbaits in a crawfish color pattern. Walleye are hitting Ice Jigs in chartreuse and white just off bottom well up the major creek channels.
Lake Wateree: Continuing good for crappie from the State Park area uplake. The fish are just off bottom 18-22 feet down along the main channel, taking Fish Stalker jigs tipped with minnows. Good for catfish, moving back and forth from the creeks to the flats, on cut gizzard shad.
Lake Thurmond: Very good for stripers and hybrids in the backs of creeks on free-lined live herring. Best catches have been reported from near the S.C. 378 Bridge, and the waters near Amity and Raysville.
Lake Murray: Fair for stripers on live baits worked 45-50 feet down in Buffalo and Rocky Creeks. Fair for catfish along creek channel ledges on a variety of baits.
Santee Cooper Lakes: Fair for crappie in quantity, but fine in quality. Some 3-pounders have been caught on minnows around brush 25-40 feet deep in the lower lake, Moultrie. Fair to good for catfish 30 feet deep at the lower end of Lake Marion on cut baits.
Lake Hartwell: Fair to good for largemouth bass 35-50 feet deep in the channel swings on football jigs, spoons and drop-shot rigs. Fair to good for stripers and hybrids 25-30 feet deep in the coves on umbrella rigs, jigging spoons and free-lined gizzard shad.
Lake Keowee: Fair for largemouth and spotted bass 50-70 feet down on drop-shot rigs.
Lake Jocassee: Fair for trout 80-100 feet deep on slow-trolled shiners and Apex spoons.
Outer Banks: Nags Head area: Little activity; Oregon Inlet: No report; Hatteras Island: Little offshore activity because of high winds and rough seas. A few puppy drum in the surf at Buxton; Ocracoke Island: Little activity; Morehead City area: Giant bluefin tuna within 4 miles of the beach when sea conditions are favorable. Bluefin of 116, 105 and 84 inches have been caught in recent days. A few speckled trout are being taken in the creeks.
Southeast Coast: Little activity reported.
S.C. Coast: Little River area: A few croaker and whiting; Grand Strand area: Reds in tight schools in the creeks at Murrells Inlet on mud minnows and soft plastic lures. A few speckled trout in the backwaters at Pawleys Island and Georgetown. Black drum and sheepshead around the Murrells Inlet and Winyah Bay jetties on fiddler crabs; Charleston area: Speckled trout around shell rakes, rock piles and creek mouths on ZMan and Glass Minnow Jerk Shad lures. Reds on the flats during low tide on mud minnows and Gulp! Shrimp lures. Large sheepshead 10-20 feet deep around bridge pilings and jetties on fiddler crabs; Beaufort/Hilton Head area: Very good for reds, or spottails, around oyster beds near flats. They’re hitting Gulp! Shrimp on a quarter-ounce jig head best.