• Volume 14 Number 12 - December 2007

    Features

    Anglers don’t have to put up their rods and reels during winter if they like hunting monster catfish.

    During recent years, Lake Norman, a member of the Catawba River chain of lakes and Badin Lake, a member of the Yadkin River chain of lakes, have emerged as the state’s premier reservoirs for trophy blue catfish.

    Mo’ better specks have become a prime target for N.C. anglers during the winter.

    Once upon a time, anglers at the southeastern North Carolina coast put up their skinny water rods when it turned cold, winterized their boats and waited for spring to feed their fishing habit once again.

    Some die-hards fished for stripers and sea bass, but few of them went out for trout.

    Now blind, this Ayden hunter has overcome tragedy and rebuilt his life with help from a friend.

    Thomas Hemby of Ayden was riding a four-wheeler through the woods and fields of a Pitt County farm June 6, 2005.

    At the time, Hemby, 32, was a successful sub-contracter who owned a local house-framing business. Life was good and profitable as the building boom was in full bloom.

    Duck hunting at Cedar Island is a unique experience, but when the weather’s rough, the shooting can be fantastic.

    The wind was howling and spitting rain, which was on the edge of turning to sleet.

    While most folks with any sense snuggled their shoulders deeper into a nest of bedcovers, we jumped up at the alarm clock.

    These large and beautifully colored squirrels are found at longleaf pine forests in southeastern N.C., but they aren’t easy to bag.

    A thawing frost had dampened the oak leaves, quieting the footfalls of a hunter clad in blaze orange who was nearly the same color of the turning trees.

    A young hunter had his nerves calmed by a helpful neighbor, and bagged N.C.’s top youth gun whitetail last year.

    When the Wake County Wildlife Club gave out awards for North Carolina’s top white-tailed bucks of 2006 last March at the Dixie Deer Classic, one of the top eight-pointers belonged to 11-year-old Andrew Watson of Oxford.

    This Durham hunter bagged his second-straight trophy, this time with a bow.

    Northern Durham and southern Person counties have had a reputation for years as areas that produce some of North Carolina’s most-impressive trophy deer.

    The DMF’s shell exchange program increases oyster production, aids habitat and, most importantly, boosts fishing.

    It would be a good program with just one of its results, but the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries Oyster Shell Recycling Program is a triple winner.

    It provides habitat and refuges for oysters and fish, plus the oysters filter and cleanse water for a healthier environment. Making the program work is simple, too — just gather shells after the oysters have been removed and eaten, let them cure a while to remove contamination, then return the shells to coastal waters.

    When the temperature plummets and the wind’s right, nothing beats a striper blitz at the Outer Banks.

    From the top of the dunes, the sight resembled a scene from a war movie. Gannets and gulls screamed, swooped and dove into the water. The geysers that erupted indicated the kind of speed that carried the birds to the stunned baitfish.

    But almost no humans were at the beach to witness this feeding frenzy. One wondered how often such a wondrous sight occurs with no human witnesses.