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Stokesdale teen drops monster drop-tine buck in Rockingham County

Joe Willard, a 16-year-old Stokesdale man finally got his chance to arrow his biggest bow buck ever right after changing up his stand to a new wind direction and managing soggy conditions. And his trophy wasn’t just any buck. It was a 155-inch monster he and his father had been watching for over four years on film.  

“My father saw him running with another buck four years ago and he was a big buck then too,” said Willard. “We think the buck is somewhere in the ballpark of 8 ½ years old.” 

October 16 at 6:44 am

Top 4 tips to catch more flounder

Take a horse-carriage tour through Wilmington and you’ll learn that no Civil War battles took place in the city; the battle for this town happened on the ocean. For Capt. Dennis Barbour of Island Tackle & Hardware, the war is still there, but instead of North vs. South, it’s man vs. flounder. 

Barbour has a few tips that can help anglers land more flounder in these waters, which are littered with civil war wrecks, the remnants of mostly Yankee ships that sunk while blockading or bombarding Fort Fisher. These remnants are what the flounder come for, and it’s what keeps Barbour and other anglers coming back too. A few tips from Barbour can help other anglers land their share of these flatfish.

October 15 at 8:09 am

Went on a fishing trip and a deer hunt broke out

 Video Included

While venturing to one of the nearshore wrecks to do a little fishing this morning, Capt. Dennis Barbour of Island Tackle & Hardware thought the day was starting out in pretty normal fashion. He spotted some porpoises jumping, lots of seagulls diving, dozens of pelicans resting on the water's surface, and an 8-point buck, swimming more than 1/2-mile offshore, and heading to the Gulf Stream.

Barbour and his fishing partners were a little stunned once it registered in their brains that this mass of antlers atop the water wasn't a pelican, so they circled back around for a second look.

October 14 at 4:24 pm

5 tips for crankbait fishing

Crankbaits are great baits for largemouth bass, and the fall is a great time to use them. These lures don’t require any special techniques when reeling them in, they cover lots of water quickly, and crankbaits are available to cover any water depths. Sill, many anglers can help their chances with these lures by using a handful of tips. 

Tip number 1: Use fluorocarbon line. Unlike braided line or monofilament, fluorocarbon line sinks, which helps in many ways with crankbaits. It may not seem like it can make much difference, but especially when using deep-diving crankbaits, it can help get the lure down more quickly, and can help keep it down. It also helps keep the line from tangling on the lure like braids and mono can when pausing during the retrieve.

October 13 at 6:45 am

Rainbow trout being stocked in Hanging Rock State Park

Hanging Rock State Park is getting a boost to its lake on Oct 12. The NCWRC and the NC State Parks Commission is stocking 1200 catchable-size rainbow trout. This is the second stocking of rainbow trout in the lake, and it offers anglers the unique opportunity of catching trout in an area other than traditional trout waters. 

The earlier rainbow trout stocking took place in April, and the NCWRC reported it as an instant highlight for anglers, said NCWRC Fisheries Biologist Kin Hodges.

October 12 at 6:38 am

Bryson City hosing Smoky Mountain Fly Fishing Festival Oct 10

The Smoky Mountain Fly Fishing Festival will take place this Saturday, Oct 10 in Bryson City on the Tuckaseegee River. This is the first such festival in what is planned to be a yearly event. From 9 AM to 5 PM, vendors will line up on Frye Street right at the train depot.

It’s a great time of year for the festival, as fall colors will paint the scenery of the mountainous terrain along the Tuckaseegee’s new 2.2-mile stretch of Delayed Harvest waters, and with this section having been stocked on Oct 7, anglers can demo rods in a real-world situation rather than in the parking lot of a tackle store.

October 09 at 10:45 am

Spring Lake hunter wins September Bag-A-Buck contest

James Griffin of Spring Lake spent most of the 2014 deer season thinking, “What if?” because he had missed a beautiful 8-point buck the opening morning of bow season, rushing his shot and shooting under the buck’s belly.

But in mid-July, he noticed that the same buck was back in his trail-camera photos, now a 9-pointer with a much bigger body. When he had his chance on Sept. 19, the seccond Saturday of archery season, he didn’t miss, dropping the 191-pound buck.

October 09 at 6:45 am

New public fishing area opened in South Fork New River

North Carolina anglers have a new place to wet a line thanks to the opening of a new public access area in Watauga County on the South Fork New River. The area, dubbed Pine Run Public Fishing Area, came about through an effort between the NCWRC and High Country Pathways, a non-profit group that finds ways to make these type of properties a reality.

The fishing locale is about 5 miles east of Boone, and its location makes it ideal for bank fishing or as a launch or takeout point for small boat anglers. With other access points nearby, it can help anglers make short floats or long floats possible.

October 08 at 11:45 am

McLeansville hunter takes down 164 1/2 buck

When McLeansville’s Jeremy Pickard looked at the trail-camera he had recently mounted, he saw a deer that made his heart pound. It was bigger than any deer he’d ever seen, and he knew  he was going to hunt only that one deer until he killed it. He had enough chances at other decent-sized deer that he was tempted a few times to forego his plan, but he ultimately stuck to it, and it paid off.

Pickard killed his dream buck a few evenings after his trail-camera first spied the deer. Between that first sighting on his trail-camera and the time Pickard arrowed it with his Whisper Creek bow, the deer had broken both his brow tines. The 8-point mainframe had three stickers, and measured a whopping 164 1/2 when green scored. The hunt was not without drama.

October 08 at 6:45 am

Multiple public game lands being closed due to flooding

Several public game lands are being temporarily closed by the NCWRC due to flood waters and unsafe traveling conditions. Eight sites are being closed until further notice.

The NCWRC said they will continue monitoring the roads throughout the week, and will reopen roads as conditions improve.

October 07 at 6:45 am

Neuse River bass hitting topwater flies

Fall weather is invading the Raleigh area, but it hasn’t pushed anglers like EJ Stern completely out of the area’s rivers. Stern, of Raleigh Flyfishing Guide service, said it won’t last much longer, but that right now, wet-wading is the way to go, especially in the Neuse River.

Stern has been catching a variety of species, with largemouth bass and bream making up the bulk of his catches. While the recent rains will impact the fishing on the Neuse for several days, the water levels have been low, so this shouldn’t hurt the fishing. 

October 06 at 6:45 am

Turn squirrel tails into fishing lures

Squirrel hunting season starts next week, giving North Carolina hunters a challenging game animal to hunt that is every bit as fun as (if not more fun than) deer hunting to most hunters who give squirrel hunting a chance.

Especially when using a .22 or .17 rife, shooting a squirrel high up in a tree is challenging, and training yourself to take only headshots will improve your rifle skills and preserve the meat which makes a tasty meal. And the action is much faster than deer hunting, because squirrels are plentiful, and much more likely to show themselves in daylight hours than deer normally do.

October 05 at 8:47 am

Mountain Island blue cats will move shallow this month

Kevin Custer of Statesville knows where he’d go if he had to choose a favorite catfish lake today. “If I was gonna go somewhere to catch (blue) catfish, I’d go to MountainIsland or LakeNorman,” said Custer, the vice-president of NC-CATS, a North Carolina catfish tournament trail.

Mountain Island, a Duke Energy impoundement of 3,281 acres with 61 miles of shoreline, lies northwest of Charlotte, downstream from Lake Norman’s 32,475 acres on the Catawba River, separated by Cowan’s Ford Dam.

October 03 at 6:45 am

Deer farm authority passes to N.C. Dept of Agriculture after legislature reverses decision

The state legislature made a 180-degree turnaround early this week and handed over management of deer farms in North Carolina to the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, taking authority from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.

On Thursday, Sept. 24, the N.C. House had dropped a section of the Agriculture Bill of 2015-16 that turned over management of penned-in whitetail deer from the Commission to the Ag agency and passed the bill by an 86-13 margin. Another vote on Monday, Sept. 28, was 90-11 for the bill that kept the Commission in control. That same day, however, a seven-person conference committee of Republican members of the Senate and House rewrote the bill and put back in the section that had been dropped. The bill was quickly approved 70-44 on Tuesday, Sept. 29, in the House and 42-4 in the Senate and needed only Gov. Pat McCrory’s signature to become law.

October 02 at 6:45 am

Weather postpones US Open King Mackerel Tournament

The 2015 U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament Board of Directors announced after much consideration and consultation about weather concerns due to Hurricane Joaquin, have postponed the tournament to October 30th & 31st.  The new tournament schedule will be as follows: registration on Thursday, October 29th from 10am-12midnight at the Southport Marina and fishing on Friday, October 30th from 7am-5pm and Saturday, October 31st from 7am-4pm.  

October 01 at 3:36 pm

Pittsboro hunter goes against instincts on wind, kills big buck

Jonathan Phillips of Pittsboro killed a trophy buck that he didn’t know was on his property until just before the season started. After doing a little scouting one day in a field on his 30-acre farm, he saw two really big deer than got his blood flowing, but it was the last he saw of those deer.

“One was a gigantic 6-point that had an odd rack. I couldn’t see the rack on the other deer real well, but the deer was huge,” said Phillips, who put out a corn pile and set up a trail-cam that day, but those two deer never showed up on it. 

October 01 at 10:00 am