• Fishing

    Joel Richardson catches winter bass by following the baitfish, not the water temperature, even in hot-hole lakes.

    Even on hot-hole lakes, think current, food

    When the water temperature in lakes across the Carolinas starts to plummet as winter approaches, many bass fishermen jump at the chance to fish those reservoirs that, because of the presence of a power plant, have a warm-water discharge.

    “Hot-hole” fishing typically features water that is unseasonably warm, and bass that seek out that water and act like fish on the cusp of spring. Leave the boat ramp and find the warm water; what could be easier?

    January 16 at 10:27pm
    Capt. Rob Bennett finds plenty of quality redfish in the deeper holes in tiny creeks throughout the cold weather months.

    Forget the shallow flats, hunt reds in deep holes

    If you are a hard-core saltwater fishermen and don’t store your tackle after Christmas, there’s a good chance that you love to sight-fish for redfish on the flats back in sounds, bays and rivers along the coastline of both Carolinas.

    January 16 at 12:09pm
    Tommy Adkins (left) and Stephen Lilly (right) caught this big bluefin out of Beaufort Inlet, N.C. The tuna weighed over 800 pounds.

    800-pound bluefin tuna caught out of Beaufort Inlet, N.C.

    Partnering to catch bluefin tuna for 2017, Tommy Adkins and his first mate, Stephen Lilly are having an outstanding season. After catching a doubleheader the first week of January, they hauled in a 106-inch beast on Jan. 11 that was estimated to weigh more than 800 pounds before being beheaded and gutted — and still weighing 626.

    January 16 at 11:28am
    The Sna-Koil is a big lure that offers a unique presentation.

    D.O.A. Lures making push into freshwater market

    Ask any angler across the Carolinas to name a top selling soft plastic lure for saltwater, and you’d be hard-pressed to find one that wouldn’t mention D.O.A. Lures. This Florida-based company has been making lures for the saltwater market for many years, and is widely known as the first company to successfully make a soft plastic shrimp, which many other companies have tried to reproduce.

    January 13 at 8:23am
    All 3 of these spinning rods are 7-feet long, but the ALX Rod (bottom) has much smaller line guides, beginning with the one closest to the reel.

    ALX Rods make very light, very strong, technique-specific rods

    After putting the smack down on some speckled trout recently, my fishing buddy was helping me get my fishing gear out of his boat when he asked me a question about one of my fishing rods that I immediately knew the answer to, even though I wasn’t looking in his direction or at the rod in question.

    January 09 at 9:44pm
    Matt Dale (left) and John Bitner (right), members of the UNC Chapel Hill Bass Fishing Team, know how to catch bass in cold weather.

    How to catch winter bass in Carolina lakes

    With wintertime setting in, dedicated bass anglers know that the lakes across both Carolinas can offer some of the best bass fishing of the year. And it’s some of the most peaceful fishing too, with very few pleasure boaters, skiers, or personal watercraft on the water.

    January 09 at 12:15pm
    Todd Vick said winter is the time to catch crappie on the Waccamaw River.

    Catch Waccamaw River crappie with these tips

    With deer hunting season over, many outdoorsmen have decided to wait out the winter months before doing some fishing once spring rolls around. But those folks are missing out on some of the hottest fishing of the year on the Waccamaw River in the Conway area.

    January 05 at 9:56pm
    Focus on sandbars, and you'll catch plenty of river bass in cold weather.

    Catch more river bass in cold weather with these tips

    This month, bass anglers can find plenty of fish biting in rivers, and knowing a few tips can help them catch their share. It’s generally true that the bite isn’t as aggressive this month as in other times of the year, but anglers like John Long of Columbia, S.C., know how to get their share of bites from river bass in the cold.

    January 05 at 8:09pm

    Most important fish in the sea needs your help

    Atlantic menhaden are referred to as the most important fish in the sea in large part due to their importance in the diet of many marine predators. Managing Atlantic menhaden for maximum abundance rather than maximum yield is a critical first step in marine ecosystems management.  

    December 28, 2016 at 3:43pm
    Targeting main lake points in Lake James this month will help you catch your share of smallmouth bass.

    James’ smallmouth bass will gang up on main-lake points through January

    When it gets cold, serious fishermen don’t stay home; they find a fish to target that likes cold weather. At least that’s the tactic that guide Colt Bass of Colt Bass Fishing uses.

    December 21, 2016 at 4:26pm
    Tim Grein catches plenty of Belews Lake bass on drop-shot rigs during the winter, in part thanks to a warm-water power-plant discharge that keeps bass active.

    Belews’ drop-shot bass don’t know it’s really winter

    While fishermen may shiver because of winter weather, the largemouth and spotted bass in Belews Lake think it’s spring. The hot-water discharge from the Belews Creek Steam Station keeps the water temperature in the 60s and 70s, which makes the bass bite better.

    December 21, 2016 at 4:22pm
    Capt. Charlie Beadon loves chasing redfish this time of year, for good reason.

    Lowcountry reds are there for the picking in early winter

    South Carolina anglers will have no trouble finding redfish in the Lowcountry this month. Getting them to bite, however, will take a little more patience and finesse than at other times of the year. The fish school in large groups through winter; their sheer mass gives them away to even the most-nonchalant angler.

    December 21, 2016 at 4:18pm
    Deep jigging spoons is Tony Alexander’s favorite way to catch January stripers on Lake Murray.

    Spoon-feed Murray’s stripers

    Some folks call it bottom-bumping, some perch-jerking, and some just call it spooning. No matter your preference, the technique of vertically jigging a spoon is definitely something striped bass fans should be doing this month on South Carolina’s  Lake Murray.

    December 21, 2016 at 4:14pm
    Guide Jot Owens targets stripers in the Cape Fear River around Wilmington, N.C., with a variety of hard and soft baits.

    Cape Fear stripers hit the river in good numbers this month

    Once the water and weather cools, striped bass become the primary target of fishermen in the Cape Fear, Northeast Cape Fear and Brunswick rivers around Wilmington, N.C. They are a January favorite even with a moratorium on possessing them throughout the Cape Fear system, where it’s still early in the process of rebuilding stocks. But growing numbers in the three rivers and tributaries around Wilmington find fishermen playing catch-and-release.

    December 21, 2016 at 4:09pm
    Guide Preston Harden seines the water around and under docks and bridges for Hartwell’s winter crappie .

    Lake Hartwell crappie bite is a delicate one

    When winter sets in and water temperatures drop below 48 degrees in South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell, stripers, hybrids and black bass pretty much shut down, with a few exceptions. When that happens, according to guide Preston Harden of Commerce, Ga., it’s time to shift gears and go crappie fishing.

    December 21, 2016 at 4:05pm
    Crappie follow baitfish into deep water at Shearon Harris Lake once the water temperature drops into the 40s.

    Work Shearon Harris Lake depths for best winter crappie fishing

    Guide Greg Griffin of Holly Springs, N.C., can count on two things in January: falling water temperatures and a consistent, deep-water bite for slab crappie on Shearon Harris Lake.

    December 21, 2016 at 4:00pm