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    Eris Jones said time on the water is the best way to track king mackerel movements in the fall, but getting information any way possible is an important first step to a good trip.

    Good information is key to king mackerel fishing success

    Eris Jones and Kevin Norris agree the best tool in the hunt for large king mackerel is current information. If they can’t be on the water, they are talking with fellow fishermen, checking fishing reports,and gathering information as they can. For tournaments, they network with a prearranged group of anglers who share information on where fish and bait are being caught. In the 1990s, cell phones added ar dimension to sharing information as locations for fish and bait could be shared privately on the water.

    October 15 at 7:00am
    A net full of big menhaden will make plenty of king mackerel fishermen thrilled, especially on a tournament day.

    King mackerel fishermen have a handful of productive baits to choose from

    Live baits are the most-productive ones for king mackerel, especially big kings. Some anglers continue to catch kings using a mixture of spoons, sea witches and lures. Some natural baits are used dead — including two that are favorites of tournament anglers. 

    October 15 at 7:00am
    If a school of stripers you’re working has only small fish, fish deeper or look for another active school to find bigger fish.

    Change strategy when you’re catching only small Santee Cooper striped bass

    The fall striper bite on the Santee Cooper lakes is a must-see event for anglers. Typically, hundreds of birds hovering over the water in fall are prime indicators of a surfacing school of stripers. Sometimes, anglers may want to consider leaving fish to find other fish. Here’s why.  

    October 15 at 7:00am
    The Diversion Canal between Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie is a great place to find stripers when weather makes for rough conditions on the open water of the lakes’ 170,000 acres.

    Santee Cooper’s Diversion Canal can be a striper hot spot on bad-weather days

    The Santee Cooper lakes, Moultrie an Marion, span more than 170,000 surface acres of water. While they include many coves, blackwater ponds and creeks where anglers can hide on windy days when the surface gets rough, the best schooling action is usually in open water where there’s no where to hide. But the Diversion Canal connecting the two lakes is a place where the action remains good, even on the worst weather days.

    October 15 at 7:00am
    Capt. Jack Brown’s Electric Chicken fly can be fished in the same places as jigheads with soft-plastic baits of the same color.

    An Electric Chicken with fur, feathers

    Because of the popularity of soft-plastic baits in the chartreuse-pink Electric Chicken color, fly anglers and guides created several flies to mimic the jig’s silhouette and motion.  

    October 15 at 7:00am
    A live shrimp fished under a popping cork is guide Ricky Kellum’s No. 1 after-dark trout tactic.

    Night moves are right moves

    Guide Ricky Kellum always has a stock of trout candy, aka live shrimp, when available, but the pinfish that have taken root on AR 398 make it nearly impossible to float one long enough for a trout to see  — at least during daylight hours. But according to Kellum, the reef is also a hot spot on a cool, fall night, and a supply of shrimp is the go-to trout killer.

    October 15 at 7:00am
    Guide Ricky Kellum likes to fish a topwater bait along crab-pot lines for New River speckled trout.

    Topwater is nothing New in NC

    Guide Ricky Kellum points to his home waters, the New River in Onslow County, N.C., as his go-to spot for targeting topwater trout in October. His favorite bait is a Super Spook Jr. with a chartreuse head and white body, a bait that fooled an 8-pound trout in the New last year.

    October 15 at 7:00am
    Guide Justin Carter, who caught this 10-pound trout in South Carolina’s Wando River earlier this year, said the river’s clean, clear nature is great for specks.

    Work specks on the Wando

    South Carolina’s Wando River has long been known as a trout hot spot. Unlike most coastal rivers in either state, the Wando doesn’t really go anywhere. This prevents a lot of run-off from entering the river, particularly during tropical-storm season, so the river stays clearer than surrounding areas. 

    October 15 at 7:00am
    A portable stand that can be moved and easily strapped on a tree allows hunters to immediately set up on a newly discovered rub line.

    Get a move on with portable tree stands

    Using portable stands such as climbers or Loc-On style stands when hunting rub lines allows hunters to be mobile and move to where the bucks are.

    October 15 at 7:00am
    Lee Lakosky erects a “fake” rubbed tree to attract the attention of wandering bucks.

    Plant a rub tree to draw in big bucks

    Lee Lakosky, co-host with his wife, Tiffany, of The Crush television show, has developed a way to hunt rubs that is unique and very beneficial, particularly for bow hunters. 

    October 15 at 7:00am
    Being accurate at relatively long ranges will bring hunters the confidence to make shots across fields.

    Stretch out your comfortable shooting range

    Matt Willis said hunters don’t have to take long-range shots at deer to successfully rifle hunt agricultural fields, but it sure can help. 

    October 15 at 7:00am
    Orchards filled with fruit-bearing trees like apples can attract plenty of deer during the early part of deer season.

    Fruit orchards can be deer magnets

    Robert Johnson said often-overlooked food sources that will draw deer are fruit orchards, with apples and pears being excellent. These crops are not always easy to hunt, but they can provide excellent hunting. Small clusters of fruit trees can be heavily hit by deer.

    October 15 at 7:00am
    While does and smaller bucks may enter a field well before dark, it’s often better to find areas where deer stage back in the woods if you’re after a big buck.

    Find staging areas outside of fields

    Matt Willis said successfully hunting agricultural crops depends on knowing routes deer take from habitat beyond the borders to the edges of the field. 

    October 15 at 7:00am
    Jeff Kirkley’s 122-inch piebald buck, killed last fall in South Carolina, is an unusually large specimen of a whitetail deer with coloration that is a genetic anomaly.

    Mature piebald bucks have Ph.D’s

    Piebald and albino deer are unique in any environment. Few hunters taken a white deer, and even fewer a big, piebald buck.

    October 15 at 7:00am
    Tyler Campbell of Mebane, N.C., took this huge archery buck in October 2015 after discovering the buck’s core area.

    Finding buck’s core area led to tagging 2015 trophy

    Tyler Campbell of Mebane, N.C., killed one of North Carolina’s top archery bucks on Oct. 25, 2015, when he sent a broadhead through an Alamance County 11-pointer that scored 1562/8 net Boone and Crockett Club points.

    October 15 at 7:00am
    Photoperiod is the key to the timing of the deer rut, but other factors can speed up or slow down the arrival of bucks actively chasing does.

    Timing South Carolina’s deer rut

    Deer biologists would love to be able to say that on Oct. 1, the rut will peak in 23 days, but it’s not that simple. Biologists often examine fetuses and can pinpoint very accurately the date of conception, but not every doe enters estrus on the same day.

    October 15 at 7:00am