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.

17 hours ago

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

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

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

Lake James smallmouth biting live shad and bright artificials

There’s a chill in the air this week at Lake James, not too many boats on the lake, and plenty of smallmouth bass that are biting. Those three factors add up to some great fishing, according to guide Colt Bass of Colt Bass Fishing.

“The fishing is going to be good until we get a hard, hard cold front and winter weather,” said Bass, who lives in Collettsville. “That’s when they’ll go a little deeper on the main body of the lake.”

September 23 at 10:28 pm

Some coastal North Carolina rivers closing to gill nets Thursday

Some rivers and creeks in the central coastal area of North Carolina will close to anchored, large-mesh gill nets at 5 p.m. Thursday due to interactions with Atlantic sturgeon.

The action closes Management Unit C under the state’s Atlantic Sturgeon Incidental Take Permit, which includes the Pamlico, Pungo, Neuse and Bay rivers and their tributaries. The closure impacts all anchored, large-mesh gill nets, including those set under a Recreational Commercial Gear License.

The closure will remain in effect until Dec. 1.

September 23 at 12:01 pm

Hit the shipwrecks for Carolina Beach flounder

The nearshore reefs and shipwrecks out of Carolina Beach are hotspots for flounder right now, and Capt. Dennis Barbour of Island Tackle and Hardware has been having a lot of success in those areas right now, and while flounder aren’t the only fish biting, he said that has been the most consistent fishing for the past couple of weeks, and he doesn't see any reason to think that will change soon.

Capt. Barbour said two keys are essential to a successful flounder trip, and the first key is anchoring. “If you don’t anchor properly, you’re not going to be able to cast as well without getting hung up and losing a lot of tackle. You want to anchor so that you’ll have good bottom to cast to, and the ability to work your bait along the bottom without your hook getting hung in the wreck,” he said.

September 21 at 7:02 am

Cooling water is good news for Carolina bass anglers

Largemouth bass in lakes all across both Carolinas are starting to move into shallow-water creeks, following the pods of bait that move up once the water begins cooling off this time of year. It's a recipe that can result in stellar fishing for anglers like Clemson University angler Jacob Reome, who said this is the season he looks forward to every year.

"When the air temperatures start dropping at night like it has been lately, that really starts to cool the water down, even if it's still getting warm throughout the day, and that gets the baitfish moving into those creeks and shallow water," Reome said.

September 17 at 7:01 am

Top 3 redfish lures

While the redfish bite has stayed steady all summer, it’s been heating up even more lately. The waters around Morehead City are cooling off as air temperatures have starting dropping a little earlier than normal this year. Bait is plentiful, and redfish will spend the next month or so gorging themselves on this abundance, knowing that it won’t be long before the bait leaves the inshore waters.

With so many baitfish around, anglers can catch redfish on a variety of lures. They all look similar to some type of bait that is currently present. Brandon Key spends much of the year fishing in freshwater, but this time of year, he switches to redfish in the Morehead City area, and he fishes exclusively with three types of lures.

September 16 at 7:02 am

Bass fishing tricky this month, but these tips will help

When I was a kid learning to fish, I dreaded September. I used to keep a log of every fish I caught all year, and in September, the number of fish I caught would drop by half. I fished Falls of the Neuse Lake most often, since it was only a few minutes up the road from where I grew up.  I’d mix in smaller lakes and ponds, especially after school when time was short.

What was going on? I remember the water just seemed dead, and it was still hot. There were virtually no fish on the offshore places where I’d caught them all summer, and nothing happening beating the banks. Sound familiar?

September 13 at 7:02 am

Grouper tips hold recipe for success

To be successful, grouper, tackle must be very specific and virtually bulletproof. The name of the game is to immediately pull heavy, strong fish away from structure that can destroy leaders.

To improve their chances, experienced anglers use braided line that has virtually none of the stretch of monofilament and has revolutionized grouper fishing. Captains out of Ocean Isle Fishing Center use 80-pound class rods and conventional, star-drag reels spooled with 150 yards of 80-pound, green Power Pro, splicing in a short section of clear, 100-pound mono simply to bridge the gap between the braid and the swivel on their grouper rig.

September 12 at 7:01 am

Saltwater ponds are great flounder holes

Flounder are one of the most popular gamefish along the coast of both Carolinas, and many anglers overlook some of the most abundant flounder spots in either state, but those who fish for them catch plenty on live bait and artificial lures. Saltwater ponds hold a number of different species, including flounder. Many of these fish find their way into saltwater ponds when they are small and can easily swim through the tiny culverts that often handle the incoming and outgoing tide, and once they get in, they never feel the need to leave.

These fish are relatively free from predators once they reach maturity, and the fishing pressure is usually very light in comparison to the well-known fishing holes up and down the coast. They are not particularly difficult to catch, but most anglers pass right by them to get to one of the boat landings in hopes of catching flounder elsewhere.

September 11 at 2:58 pm

Angler lands 156-pound tarpon from Jolly Roger Pier

Jolly Roger Pier in Topsail Beach was the site of a flurry of tarpon activity last weekend as the silver kings chased mullet along beaches. The largest fish came on Sunday, Aug. 30, when Justin Avery of Creedmoor decked a tarpon that measured 78 ˝ inches long with a girth of 35 5/8 inches. The Bonefish and Tarpon Trust weight calculator estimated the fish at 156 pounds.

Avery, who had hooked and lost a tarpon on Saturday, came back Sunday with full intentions of redemption. Although technically pin-rigging for king mackerel, he admits that a tarpon was his target.

September 08 at 12:01 pm

September means Outer Banks white marlin, and this is how to catch them

For saltwater fishermen who visit the Outer Banks regularly, September is a magical time. People from all over the world elbow their way to our docks, fill the motels, and mostly fill all the available boats.

The reason? A silvery-blue billfish that rarely reaches the 100-pound mark and is known by the name “white” marlin.

September 06 at 7:01 am

September can be tough for bass, but these tips will help

There’s no month that can be tougher on bass fishermen than September, but fortunately, there’s no month when bass can change as much as they do from Labor Day until the approach of October.

There have been years at Buggs Island where I caught fish the first of September in 25 feet of water on a jigging spoon, and by the end of the month, I was catching ’em on a 7A Bomber. That’s how drastic the change can be, and it’s why you put in your time this month — waiting for that change.

September 05 at 1:01 pm

Get froggy for bass

This time of year, a good chunk of many bodies of fish-holding water are covered in surface weeds. Lily pads and alligator grass are two of the main surface plants that can make bass fishing difficult. Any lure with a treble hook is useless in these circumstances, and even weedless-rigged soft plastic worms foul easily on the retrieve. This water is ripe for bass though, so anglers don’t want to pass up a shot at catching fish here. Thanks to a certain lure, they don’t have to.

The best lure option—and perhaps the only lure option—for this situation is the hollow-body frog. These frogs are designed to ride on top of the vegetation, and the hooks point up and back into the body, keeping them from snagging onto the weeds. It is, by fishing lure standards, a super weedless option, and almost anyone who has retrieved one across floating vegetation has stories of massive water explosions and lures getting knocked 3-feet into the air. Unfortunately, many of those same anglers complain that they’ve never been able to consistently land the bass that have been sending their frogs skyward. Three tips from a few fans of hollow-body frogs can help those anglers increase their hookup ratios when using these lures.

September 04 at 1:01 pm