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    Topwater plugs like this Spook are great postspawn baits in late May at Kerr Lake.

    Sample Kerr Lake’s postspawn topwater bite in late May

    One of the best postspawn bass bites in late May at Kerr Lake fires up offshore of small islands along the west side of Nutbush Creek between the Hibernia and Henderson Point ramps, and on the lake’s northern shoreline from Eastland to Butchers creeks. 

    May 15 at 7:00am
    Keeping your baitcasting reels in smooth, running order is a key to casting and catching more fish.

    Try “boil-and-oil” cleaning tip for smoother casting

    Keeping reels working smoothly helps increase casting distance and helps bass fishermen catch more fish.

    May 15 at 7:00am
    Cut the pelvic fin from a redfin pickerel and you’ve got a bait that will catch plenty more fish.

    Catch fish, then cut bait when targeting redfin pickerel

    The traditional baits for catching redfin pickerel are the pelvic fin and the top or bottom half of its forked tail. 

    May 15 at 7:00am
    Cut a hole in the lid of a bucket, affix a plastic door, and you’ve got a perfect container for redfin pickerel.

    Catch redfin pickerel by the bucketful

    The best way to keep and carry redfin pickerel is in a plastic pail with a tight-fitting lid. 

    May 15 at 7:00am
    Ray Atkinson caught these two nice redfish pickerel from the backwaters of the Lumber River near Fair Bluff.

    Don’t carp about redfin size

    The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Angler Recognition Program awards outstanding catches with a suitable-for-framing certificate featuring the artwork of Duane River.

    May 15 at 7:00am
    Get a bait to a cobia as soon as possible after you see him and you have a better chance of a hookup.

    Quick thinking leads to more cobia hookups

    May and June offer great opportunities for fishermen who dream of hooking up with a powerhouse, 50-pound cobia just off the beach. But anglers must act fast if they want to get a hookup, because no matter how lazy these fish appear when cruising along the surface, they become less and less catchable every minute a boat is on the scene. 

    May 15 at 7:00am
    Cobia are tough to pattern in the spring because they’re always on the move, and the same fish aren’t in the same spots every day.

    Don’t count on finding cobia in the same spots every day this month

    Guide Jot Owens begins seeing cobia off Wrightsville Beach in May, and on a typical day, he will head to the Masonboro Inlet jetties first thing early in the morning and then start running the beach looking for pods of bait and free-swimming cobia. But he can never count on them being in the same place day after day.

    May 15 at 7:00am
    Big, soft-plastic lures, especially swimbaits like D.O.A.’s Original Big Fish Lure, can be killers when pitched to cruising cobia.

    Big 2015 cobia catch hurts 2016 season

    Because 2015 was such a fruitful year for North Carolina cobia fishermen, they’ll have a big payback to make in 2016.

    May 15 at 7:00am
    Although the great majority of dolphin landed wind up on someone’s dinner plate somewhere, a tagging program is providing fisheries managers with tremendous information about dolphin, their lifestyles and habits.

    Catch-and-release dolphin? Really?

    Catching a dolphin and releasing it may sound like sheer lunacy to some bluewater anglers, but there is a sound reason to let a few go each year. 

    May 15 at 7:00am
    Dolphin grow at a tremendous rate, rarely living a half-dozen years and reaching maturity less than halfway to their first birthday.

    Dolphin grow fast, die young and taste good

    Few organisms in the ocean can match the fast life cycle of the dolphin fish, coryphaena hippurus. Dolphin reach sexual maturity at four to five months, where it takes a king mackerel three years to spawn. The world-record dolphin, 87 pounds was believed to be slightly less than five years old. By comparison, the world-record king mackerel, a 93-pound fish, was thought to be closer to 25 years old.  

    May 15 at 7:00am

    Rigging a Dink Ballyhoo

    1) Using a thawed, small/medium, high-quality ballyhoo, remove the bait’s eyes with an arrow shaft.

    2) Use cutting pliers to remove the bait’s pectoral fins.

    May 15 at 7:00am
    Late-season gobblers on public lands respond to some of the same tactics that fool private-land birds.

    Private land or game land, late-season turkeys take a different approach

    Guide Karl Helmkamp said many hunters who don’t have access to private lands will give up on game lands after the first couple of weeks of turkey season, and that is a mistake. 

    May 15 at 7:00am
    Guide Karl Helmkamp lets his strutting jake decoy, Biggie Smalls, do his stuff.

    Dead rapper or plastic turkey decoy, Biggie Smalls still has his charms

    Not many turkey hunters are fans of The Notorious B.I.G., but if they could see guide Karl Helmkamp’s Biggie Smalls strutting jake decoy in action, they might reconsider. Complimented by Helmkamp’s mastery of the diaphragm call, as seductive as his namesake rapper’s smooth lyrics, Biggie is as smug as plastic and feathers can be and has lured many an unsuspecting gobbler to an early death. 

    May 15 at 7:00am
    Sunflowers, the favorite food of migrating doves, must be planted soon to be ready for Labor Day weekend.

    Last chance to plant sunflowers for September dove hunts

    Dove season makes most hunters break out their shotguns and camouflage for the first time in the fall, and while most opening day dove shoots are as much a social event as a hunting situation, the hunting will get serious in a crop field with several thousand winged migrants. 

    May 08 at 9:00am

    Cover

    Dolphin make a big push into North Carolina’s offshore waters in May, with big fish showing up off Cape Fear.

    May 01 at 7:00am
    Brush up on your brush tactics to catch Kerr Lake largemouths in May.

    Beat the bushes for Kerr Lake bass

    After a battle with largemouth bass virus that infected about 40 percent of its population before running its course, John H. Kerr Reservoir’s largemouth bass have recovered, as fishermen discovered the past couple of years. And while the spawn ends for most North Carolina chub chasers on most lakes by the end of April, there’s still plenty of reason to visit John H. Kerr Reservoir, aka Buggs Island, in May.

    May 01 at 7:00am