• Volume 14 Number 8 - August 2007


    Will North Carolina deer hunters experience another record-setting year? The state’s experts give their thoughts.

    So what can Tar Heel hunters expect for the 2007 white-tailed deer season — more bucks, more does, better quality deer?

    Where and when should you try to catch an Atlantic billfish off the N.C. coast? Here’s the advice of some of the state’s expert captains.

    Six billfishes swim in North Carolina waters — Atlantic sailfish, white marlin, Atlantic blue marlin, shortbill spearfish, longbill spearfish, and swordfish.

    Our most common species are sailfish and white marlin.

    Tar Heel luremakers and bass pros popularized the sport’s most effective deep-water lures and techniques to use them.

    In the North Carolina county of Davidson, the welcoming signs rightfully could say “Welcome to Crankbait Country.”

    Along with Tar Heel, Blue Devil, Wolfpack and Demon Deacon fans, central N.C. is crankbait territory, a watery landscape where kids cut their bass teeth on deep-divers and adults earn fishing PhDs with a steady retrieve.

    Swansboro sheepshead anglers find a comfort zone and cool fishing under bridges that never are too far.

    Capt. Jeff Cronk is one of the most energetic fishermen along the coast of North Carolina.

    A high school math teacher, he still finds a way to take clients fishing more than 120 days per year. He guides evenings, weekends and vacation breaks and knows his home waters of Swansboro better than most people know their backyards.

    Small-boat anglers have fun with dolphin off the Crystal Coast while gathering much-needed information.

    When most fishermen daydream of dragging in dolphin, they typically conjure:

    • Towering offshore hulls with Carolina-style flared bows deploying spider webs of lines from out-riggers stretching outward above their gunwales;

    • captains staring at the ocean’s surface from lofty flying bridges;

    • dolphin chasing dredges and daisy-chain teasers among the lures and baits trailing in the wake as part of extensive trolling spreads.

    Different drum give anglers good-eatin’ reasons to try bay waters north of Bald Head Island during August.

    During August at the southeastern N.C. coast, the heat’s usually so intense people don’t bother stopping at cafes for breakfast; they just scoop up fried eggs off the sidewalks. The humidity’s also likely to be so high gnats and mosquitos surf down rollers of sweat on arms and legs of anyone foolish enough to walk outside past mid morning.

    If you like instant action tinged with a little danger, try shark fishing behind a shrimp boat.

    “I already ran over and took a quick look to be sure there were still some shrimpers out — and there were,” Capt Matt Wirt said aboard his Sea Chaser bay boat a sunny August morning last year.

    During August nights, the Cape Fear weaves a magic web of peaceful slumber for some and river giants waiting to be caught for others.

    The Cape Fear River lowlands become unbearably hot each summer.

    It doesn’t help that the riverbanks are high and steep, blocking all but the strongest winds from giving relief from an overhead sun and humidity hovering near 100 percent.