• Volume 13 Number 2 - February 2006


    Although many anglers think February isn’t a good time for largemouth, a few warm days will turn on big fish.

    A scenario replays itself each February across North Carolina.

    Bass anglers who have worn calluses on their hands from sharpening hooks, and that have spent more time reorganizing their tackle boxes than they have raking their yard can’t stand it anymore. They hook up their boats and head to the lake at the first sign of good weather only to return with empty spirits … and even emptier livewells.

    Find coastal creeks when the winds blow cold and catch your share of Cape Fear crappie.

    When February rolls around, many anglers are antsy for action. A few warm days make them long for April when rising water temperatures bring out the best in panfishing at the state’s coastal rivers.

    Veteran guide Gus Gustafson knows favored underwater routes of Lake Norman stripers, which gives him an advantage in trying to locate these tough-to-catch fish.

    In 1963 the formation of Cowans Ford Dam resulted in a Duke Power Company lake nearly as large as the other 10 lakes on the Catawba River combined.

    At 32,500 acres, Lake Norman ranked as the largest body of fresh water in North Carolina and appropriately became known as the “inland sea.”

    2005 brought a big-buck blizzard.

    North Carolina experienced a strange 2005 weather year, especially during deer season.

    It took a while to accept, but scientists now know spring river flows and harvest limits created our booming rockfish revival.

    All one needs to know about striped bass is most of them swim between Cape Cod and Cape Hatteras nine months of the year, and the remaining three months aggregate within 5 miles east of N.C. 12 on the Outer Banks from Rudee Inlet to Hatteras inlet.

    The early worm gets the bass at this Yadkin-Pee Dee system lake, even during February.

    It’s deep and clear, tucked in some of the world’s most ancient, worn-round mountains. It has no warm-water discharge, no hot hole, and it’s not a particularly big reservoir.

    A few hours of sunshine in winter can make redfish and specks bite at Beaufort.

    Capt. Dave Dietzler was almost nonchalant as his MirrOlure landed beside the small oyster rock protruding from the point of marsh.