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Black sea bass restrictions may be lessened this summer.

Fishermen who have lamented tight restrictions on black sea bass off the Carolinas may get some relief. The South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council said the most-recent stock status survey was good enough to consider raising recreational quotas for the popular bottomfish, and it is asking fishermen to comment electronically or by mail before a special conference on May 13.
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May 02, 2013 at 11:48 pm
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QDMA program for novice deer hunters is this weekend

The Cape Fear River branch of the Quality Deer Management Association will hold hunter-education event this weekend designed to give novice deer hunters a leg up on next season.Read More...
May 02, 2013 at 8:32 am
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Threadgill brothers win CATT event on Badin

Scott Threadgill of Troy and Jason Threadgill of Norwood topped a field of 22 teams to win the April 27 Carolina Anglers Team Trail Yadkin Division tournament on Badin LakeRead More...
May 01, 2013 at 7:44 pm
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Roanoke striper fishing is a month of "fishing heaven" according to guide

For 325 days, there’s nothing special about the Roanoke River. At least that’s the opinion of Rod Thomas of Capt. Ponytail Guide Service. It’s those 30 days from April 10 to May 20 that make it, according to Thomas, “the crown jewel of river fishing in North Carolina.”Read More...
April 30, 2013 at 7:48 pm
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Puppy drum cruising in flooded marsh grass between Ocean Isle, Sunset Beach

Capt. Mark Stacy of Ocean Isle Fishing Charters said inshore fish have finally settled in to a spring pattern – despite the rapid-fire cold fronts that have been breaking them up and keeping fish and fishermen confused.

“Our inside water had warmed to 68 degrees a week ago, and things were looking almost too good,” Stacy said. “These cold fronts have dropped the water back into the low 60s, but it is warming again, just a little slower this time. It bothers the fish for at least a day, but once the sun comes back out, they gradually start biting again and in a few days are going good if the weather allows.”

Stacy said the fishing was surprisingly good considering. He is catching lots of red drum and black drum, a few speckled trout and the first of the flounder are biting too. He said the fish know it’s time to be moving and be hungry.
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April 28, 2013 at 8:32 pm
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Lake Hickory bass spawn is in full swing; bigger fish in upper end

Get 'em while they're hot!

That’s the message from bass pro Tracy Adams of Wilkesboro after a couple of days on the water this week catching bass on Lake Hickory.

“We’ve got a big wave of bass ready to go (spawn). Oh, boy, the next few days ought to be something,” said Adams, a two-time Bassmasters Classic qualifier who two excellent days on the water sight-fishing for bedding bass on Hickory.

On Tuesday, he took Matt Cashion of Cashion rods, one of his major sponsors, and they caught a dozen or so keepers on the lower end of the lake, most of them in the 2 ½- to 3-pound range, but one a 6-pounder.

On Thursday, he started on the lower end, then moved to the upper end, where he caught three 5-pounders to go with another dozen keepers. His 5-fish limit for the day: around 22 pounds.
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April 25, 2013 at 10:00 pm
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Maiden fishermen win at Falls of Neuse with heavy bag.

The 99 teams in the April 20 Carolinas Bass Challenge N.C. Division tournament knew they would need a stringer of 20 pounds or more if they wanted to take the top prize at Falls of the Neuse Lake. For the past two weeks, 20-pound stringers have been brought to the scales with startling frequency in other tournaments on the Raleigh-Durham area lake.

Four teams wound up reaching the coveted 20-pound mark, despite a cold front and high winds.

Gerald Williams and David Williams of Maiden topped the field with 21.62 pounds, a haul anchored with a 6.42-pound bass. The two anglers received $8,000.

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April 24, 2013 at 4:11 pm
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Roanoke River striper action centered on Halifax area this week

The striped bass spawn at the upper Roanoke River is two or three weeks away from hitting its full stride, but anglers already are catching fish.

“We’ve been having half-day trips where we’ve caught 20 to 50 stripers,” said Richard Andrews of Tar-Pam Guide Service, one of several saltwater guides who spends April and May inland on the Roanoke.

According to Andrews, most anglers are fishing from below the Weldon ramp downstream about eight miles to the town of Halifax.

“The dominant (size) right now is 16- to 18-inch fish, but we’re catching plenty of 19- to 22-inch fish,” he said. “We’re also catching a few slot fish in the 22- to 27-inch range.”
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April 24, 2013 at 9:59 am
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Crappie expert feels smaller NC lakes need tighter harvest regulations

If the face of crappie fishing in the Tarheel State had a face, it would bear a striking resemblance to Ed Duke of Concord, who, as founder of the Southern Crappie Association and its tournament series, has been a major player in the state’s crappie fishing community for over 20 years.

Through the years, Duke said he’s seeing an alarming trend occurring on many of his beloved lakes, particularly smaller impoundments such as Blewett Falls, northwest of Rockingham.

“For years, Blewett Falls was the premier, unnoticed fishing lake in the Carolinas. It is a small, 3,200-acre reservoir where, if you ever wanted to catch a 3-pound crappie and possibly a 4-pound crappie, that was the lake to fish,” said Duke, who believes part of the problem is smaller reservoirs can’t withstand the fishing pressure they can receive.

“It’s nobody’s fault,” said Duke. “With today’s modern technology – the information highway, all these different web sites and chat rooms – as soon as the fish start biting in one location, the next day there’s a crowd.”
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April 21, 2013 at 8:16 pm
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Bearded hen taken in Columbus County may be NC's biggest ever

A long-awaited opportunity finally ended in success for a Columbus County hunter on April 16 when he killed a trophy bearded hen that’s unofficially the best ever killed in North Carolina.

Revis Long of Lake Waccamaw had watched his one-of-a-kind trophy for many months before he finally took her down on the third day of North Carolina’s spring turkey season with his 12-gauge Franchi shotgun.

Long’s trophy gal sported a 9.25-inch beard, weighed 9.59 pounds, and had an overall score of 28.09 by using the National Wild Turkey Federation’s score calculator. The NWTF maintains a records database for gobblers and bearded hens, and while the overwhelming majority of their records are male gobblers, 229 bearded hens are listed. Officially, the largest bearded hen ever recorded in North Carolina was taken in Rutherford County on April 21, 1998, that weighed 9.43 pounds, had an 8.75-inch beard and a total score of 27.18.

Under the supervision of wildlife officer Keith Rogers of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, Long scored the bird and submitted necessary documentation to the NWTF for processing.
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April 19, 2013 at 7:10 pm
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Deer harvest is down from than 6,000 from 2011 season, Commission reports

The N.C. Wildlife Resource Commission has announced recorded a statewide decline in the 2012 deer harvests over the previous season, with six of nine wildlife districts reporting decreases.

Hunters reported harvesting 167,249 whitetails in 2012, a drop of 6,304 – 3.6 percent – from the 2011 season; it was the fourth-straight decline in the statewide harvest.

However, Evin Stanford, the Commission’s lead deer biologist, isn’t worried and said the harvest reduction shouldn’t be viewed as a major concern.

“At the state level, (the total harvest) was not that far from last year,” he said. “High levels of mortality were very localized in nature. If you look at the overall state decline, it wasn’t that big, although one region did show an almost 20-percent drop.”
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April 19, 2013 at 5:27 pm
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Another 'gamefish bill' is introduced in N.C. state legislature

For the fourth time, a bill to classify three coastal saltwater fish as “gamefish” has been introduced in the state legislature. Proponents are hoping this bill will fare better than the previous three attempts.

The bill, H 983, added April 17 to the N.C. House of Representatives hopper, would halt the sale of red drum and spotted seatrout from all coastal waters and striped bass from all coastal waters except the Atlantic Ocean.

The bi-partisan legislation has as primary sponsors: Tom Murry (R-Wake), Tim Moffitt (R-Buncombe), Michael Wray (D-Halifax/Northampton) and John Bell (R-Craven/Greene/ Lenoir/Wayne). It also has been signed by Brian Brown (R-Pitt), Becky Carney (D-Mecklenburg), Jim Fulghum (R-Wake), Darren Jackson (D-Wake), Marvin Lucas (D-Cumberland), Ruth Samuelson (R-Mecklenburg) and Joe Tolson (D-Edgecombe/ Martin).

The bill is entitled “The 2013 Fisheries Economic Development Act” and has passed a first reading and been sent to the Committee on Commerce and Job Development, of which Murry is chairman.
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April 19, 2013 at 4:32 pm
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Whiting, puffers, bluefish are Oak Island pier fare as anglers await warmer water

Spring came latethis year, but once it got its foot in the door, it has made up for lost time. One place fishermen are really noticing it are Oak Island’s piers. Even trout fishermen can’t hide pier catches; you’re 20 feet above the water, and either you reel fish in or you don’t.

Vance Courson of Ocean Crest Pier said a cold March definitely a setback for fish and fishermen, but with the past couple of warmer weeks, both are beginning to arrive.

“Our catches are picking up,” Courson said. “Fishermen are catching lots of whiting and puffers, plus some bluefish of various sizes and even some false albacore and bonito at night. We are also having an early pompano bite, and Sherrill Mullis of Oak Island caught a citation pompano of 2 pounds, 5 ounces on April 17.
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April 18, 2013 at 8:12 pm
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Shearon Harris bass spawn about to bust loose

Sight-fishing for largemouth bass at North Carolina’s top lunker lake has begun, but access to Shearon Harris Lake still is a problem.

“The bass are moving onto the beds at all area lakes,” said guide Jeff Thomas of Carolina Outdoors. “Harris is getting ready to be a sight fisherman’s delight. The dogwoods are bloomin’, and that means the bass will be coming up.”

Because of a cold, wet late winter and early spring, the spawn at Harris this year won’t be in waves of fish as in the past but all at once, he said.

“The full moon is going to happen Monday, and that means the bass should move to the beds,” he said. “They’ll come at the same time. We’ve had a few sporadic bedders at Harris already, but nothing like what’s coming. It’ll be like turning on a light switch.”
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April 17, 2013 at 8:05 pm
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Thomasville couple wins Adam & Eve tourney on Badin

For those with superstitious leanings, April 13 might be a day of misgivings, but for Neil and Pat McDonald of Thomasville, the date marked the couple’s first victory on the Adam & Eve Trail.

The McDonalds topped a field of 23 teams at Badin Lake with a 5-fish catch totaling 16 pounds, 3 ounces that was anchored with a 4-pound, 7-ounce bass. They caught their fish with plastic worms fishing rocky structure in four to five feet of water. Their victory paid $287.

“We had our limit soon after taking off from the Lakemont Landing,” said Pat. “We’ve had second- and third-place finishes on the trail, but this is the first time we’ve won a tournament.”
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April 16, 2013 at 8:10 pm
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N.C. House passes bill to start hunting 'apprentice' program

The N.C. House of Representatives passed last week House Bill 296 — The Hunter Education/Apprentice Permit — which allows an individual holding a Hunting Heritage Apprentice Permit to hunt if accompanied by an adult at least 18 years old who holds a hunting license in North Carolina, or if the individual is accompanied by an adult landholder or landholder’s spouse who is exempt from the hunting license requirement if hunting on the landholder’s land.

Hunting with an apprentice license would still require following other licensing requirements and hunting regulations.

The Hunter Heritage Apprentice Permit is a product of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s “Strategic Recruitment and Retention Initiative” recently organized by Commissioner Dell Murphy. The bill, introduced by Rep. John Bell (R-Craven/Greene/Lenior/Wayne), is intended to increase participation in hunting by allowing individuals to hunt under the guidance of licensed hunters instead of requiring them to complete coursework.
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April 15, 2013 at 8:24 am
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