• Volume 19 Number 4 - April 2012

    Features

    Fishing should be decent, but changes may be coming

    Saltwater fishing in North Carolina, offshore and in coastal waters, shouldn’t be much different in 2012 from the recent past.

    Changes may be coming, with the state legislature’s Committee on Marine Fisheries studying a number of changes in the way North Carolina’s saltwater resources are being managed. Any changes that are made — if any are made — will likely be phased over several years and won’t have an immediate impact on the fish you catch this year, and how many.

    A change of tactics is necessary for North Carolina hunters who travel to different areas of the state in search of nice gobblers.

    The morning hunt had been perplexing. By 8:45, only two toms had sounded off a total of four times on Arthur Dick’s 1,800-acre Willow Oaks Plantation in Rockingham County outside of Eden.

    “We have so many gobblers and hens here,” Dick said, “that sometimes it’s just better to set up 10 yards off an access road, commit to sitting still for an hour or two, and make a couple of clucks.”

    Chose your water — clear or dirty — and set out to catch that big bass this month by following these experts’ advice.

    Badin Lake is full of big bass. To catch them this month, you’ll first have to decide whether you want to fish clean or dirty water. The clean water is for the patient fisherman who favors finesse techniques to catch spawning bass. The dirty water is for the power fisherman who loves to throw big baits into heavy cover.

    Either way, a smart fisherman can have a great time on the water chasing big bass on this beautiful Piedmont reservoir, which covers 5,200 acres on the Yadkin River southwest of Denton. You just have to pick the style you prefer and let Kevin Chandler, Mike Davis and Chris Baldwin share their strategies, honed by years of putting fish in their livewells during tournaments.

    Bass fishing in North Carolina can’t get much better than this in April

    The glory days of largemouth bass fishing at Jordan Lake are long gone.

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers closed the dam to impound the Haw River and New Hope Creek in 1973, and it took until 1984 to get the lake to full pool. Bass fishing hit its zenith during the next half-dozen or so few years.

    When Jordan first opened to the public, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission hadn’t thought much about creel and size limits, so anglers filled ice chests with football-shaped bucketmouths from two to 10 pounds. It wasn’t unusual to catch 100 fish in a day, especially on one spot, a flooded roadbed — the former Pea Ridge Road — that stretched about a half-mile from Vista Point to a point just east of the current New Hope Overlook boat launch.

    Graham and Swain counties offer trout, walleye and smallmouth bass to anglers with a hankering for the fun of a mixed bag.

    When I was a boy growing up in the heart of the Smokies, my Grandpa Joe used to say, in his pithy way, “There ain’t nothing like April.”

    His perspective embraced a variety of considerations — joy that the miseries of winter and cabin fever were at an end, delight in plowing and planting the land on his little farm alongside the Tuckasegee River, buying and raising a bunch of biddies that would become Sunday fried chicken dinners in the not-too-distant future, reveling in the beauty of wildflowers, but most of all, rejoicing in fine fishing.

    Moving from the ocean to the Cape Fear River, redfish give Wilmington-area fishermen plenty of opportunities in April.

    Capt. Stu Caulder discussed the day’s gameplan with his fishing party while idling through a No Wake zone in the Intracoastal Waterway at Wrightsville Beach.

    The target was redfish, and Caulder figured that on a nice, April day, a two-pronged attack might be the ticket. The surf and the marsh might both be productive.

    Cape Fear captains take full advantage of a great springtime run of these fast, aggressive fish. Here’s how to join them:

    Capt. Butch Foster fired up the engines of Yeah Right, his 34-foot Chris Craft. On a chilly spring morning, his fishing party for the day was inside Southport Marina, drinking steaming cups of coffee.

    The were all getting wired for wahoo.

    Many fishermen haven’t recognized the potential for an early spring trip to the bluewater. If they did, they’d make a beeline to the coast, and the first big fish they’d likely encounter is a wahoo.