• Volume 17 Number 3 - March 2010

    Features

    Anglers should have concerns for many popular saltwater species in North Carolina waters.

    Although fisheries biologists reported that four saltwater fisheries improved their status in 2009, the overview for 2010 — particularly for popular species that anglers pursue — isn’t that bright.

    Wilmington’s Cape Fear offers anglers a shot at trophy blues and flatheads.

    Apparent at a glance was the fact that few fishermen had taken off work at the last-minute notice of a fair-weather forecast. There were just two vehicles towing boat trailers parked at the Wilmington’s Dram Tree Park ramp. A classic 16-foot tri-hull had been launched and was in the water with its outboard warming up. The angler aboard was busy stowing gear for a fishing trip.

    As bucks lose their antlers, both sexes reform the bonds that carry them through the spring and summer.

    The rut has come and gone. Bucks that survived hunting season are dropping their battered racks. Though the whitetails are no longer at war for dominance, the competitiveness still exists — even in the off season.

    As bucks lose their antlers, both sexes reform the bonds that carry them through the spring and summer.

    The rut has come and gone. Bucks that survived hunting season are dropping their battered racks. Though the whitetails are no longer at war for dominance, the competitiveness still exists — even in the off season.

    When trout show up this month, the Wando and Cooper rivers are two places you should be looking.

    Roughly the same size as a golf ball, you’d think a popping cork would be easier to keep up with. After all, it’s fluorescent orange and has a string tied to it. But try as he might, the fisherman perched in the front of John Ward’s flats boat lost track of the thing.

    These crystal-clear waters aren’t known for huge sacks of bass, but there are some big fish, and the spring spawn provides a perfect opportunity to catch those bass.

    Marty Robinson was working a Lake Keowee cove in late March, picking bass off docks along the bank. He hadn’t limited yet, but he had a solid average going.

    The trophy catfishing on this sleepy Catawba River lake has been a well-kept secret — until now.

    Mountain Island Lake is nestled between Lake Norman to the north and Lake Wylie to the south on the Catawba River system.

    Take it slow, and you’ll take advantage of late-winter, early-spring reds in Winyah Bay and North Inlet tributaries.

    As Capt. Fred Rourk cautiously poled towards the nervous water created by a school of feeding redfish, the concerns over the time spent locating them were immediately forgotten.

    In areas where it’s wet and wild, savvy turkeys have an advantage, unless hunters deploy a few of these experts’ tricks.

    According to some experienced turkey hunters, not all gobblers are created equal. Experts agree that any longbeard has the right stuff to beat any turkey hunter most of the time, but those labeled as swamp gobblers are different. Because of where they live, they can be even tougher to take.

    March on Tuckertown and Badin means top-drawer, prespawn crappie-fishing action.

    Crappie fishermen look to the time each spring when the dogwoods bloom as prime time to put spawning slabs in the cooler — and somewhere down the line, into the frying pan.

    Shunning high-tech tackle, Whitey and Matthew Outlaw get back to the basics using a single pole and some unconventional tactics.

    Fishermen are known to be opportunists. They’re always on the look out for something new, something to give them that edge to catch more and bigger fish.

    Bluewater fishermen shout ‘wahoo!’ at prospects for early season action.

    If the howl of the clicker on a large Penn International reel doesn’t jack your adrenaline, accelerate your heart rate and cause the little hairs on the back of your neck to stand up, this story probably isn’t for you.

    Belews Lake is the Piedmont area’s top spot for cold-weather, ‘hot-water’ bass fishing.

    From mid-February through mid-March, bass fishing often grinds almost to a halt in North Carolina because of cold weather.