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Butch Foster likes to use marker buoys to mark the spots where he gets strikes while trolling at White Lake. Marker buoys are big help
145 Views - Posted: February 15 at 7:00 am

White Lake has very little bottom structure to attract or hold concentrations of fish concentrations. The lake is also so shallow that a depth finder cone is extremely small in diameter. Even side-scan sonar can have difficulty in making out fish signals in shallow, vegetation-filled water. Therefore, Butch Foster resorts to old-school technology when trying to locate fish.

When he gets a strike, Foster tosses out a marker float. By circling an area while trolling or casting, the locations of the various strikes can be marked using floats in different colors, which make it easier to duplicate the trolling or casting direction that was most productive.


A pair of needlenose pliers is invaluable when removing tiny treble hooks from the mouth of a toothy critter like a pickerel. Pliers can save your skin
157 Views - Posted: February 15 at 7:00 am

When fishing at White Lake, anglers should have a mechanical means of safely removing small, sharp treble hooks from fish. Using a hemostat or pair of pliers is the best way to remove a lure because it keeps bare fingers safely away.

Chain pickerel have rows of sharp teeth, and yellow perch have spines on their gill covers and fins. A yellow perch is very animated and has few places for an angler to grab it safely because of its sharp defenses. A lure with treble hooks rattling around its mouth makes either of these fish even more difficult to control safely.


Carol Marsh caught this bluegill trolling a Shad Rap across 1,092-acre White Lake. Passing the acid test - Despite acidic nature, White Lake is a good fishery for bass, perch, pickerel
247 Views - Posted: February 01 at 7:00 am

For the past several years, Butch Foster of Southport has been making regular fishing trips to White Lake. Normally, Foster specializes in taking saltwater anglers far out into the ocean — he owns Yeah Right Charters — but he is also an avid freshwater fisherman, using a skiff to access some of the inland lakes in southeastern North Carolina.

“I come to White Lake because it reminds me of the lakes I used to fish when I lived in the Piedmont,” he said. “It doesn’t have the numbers of bass of High Rock and doesn’t have any crappie. But the bass are big and fat, and the yellow perch take the place of the crappie I loved to catch.

“I hope we catch some yellow perch. They are one of the best eating fish in freshwater.”


Chris House of Wilmington shot this drake ruddy duck or “butterball” on a New River diver hunt. Fill out a bag limit with oddballs, butterballs
168 Views - Posted: January 15 at 7:00 am

While most of the ducks on the New River are lesser scaup, other oddball ducks can help fill out a daily bag limit of six that can only include two scaup.


A good retriever can make a duck hunt on the New River even more enjoyable. Bumpers boost canine confidence
127 Views - Posted: January 15 at 7:00 am

One of the most enjoyable aspects of hunting ducks on big, open waters like the New River is watching a trained retriever making a long, difficult retrieve.


Holman Byrd’s scaup (left) and canvasback decoys were made from cedar and tupelo; he also uses cork, which he says is indestructible. Indestructible decoys? Make your own
203 Views - Posted: January 15 at 7:00 am

Diving ducks come into the decoys flying extremely low, often barely above the surface of the water. When using large decoy spreads, low-flying waterfowl like scaup and canvasback can draw fire from hunters that riddles decoys with shot. That’s one reason Holman Byrd makes many of his own diving duck decoys.


Biologists say that copepods, aka “anchor worms” commonly infest red drum during cold-weather conditions, but they are not harmful to the fish’s health. Anchor Worms
432 Views - Posted: January 15 at 7:00 am

Infestations by parasites that anglers call “anchor worms” become more prevalent in red drum during the winter. Lee Paramore, the NCDMF’s red drum biologists, said they do not appear to harm the fish.


Juvenile redfish won’t migrate very far from the backs of coastal creeks during the winter, because they’re attracted to warm water. Puppy drum are homebodies
350 Views - Posted: January 15 at 7:00 am

Most of the red drum that David and Tammy Baxley and their charter clients catch during the winter are too short or too long to keep. However, it only takes one fish between the length of 18 and 27 inches to fill an angler’s limit.


A brace of lesser scaup, aka bluebills, is a distinct possibility for hunters heading to the New River. Go take a dive! Big, open-water hunts for diving ducks is what North Carolina’s ‘coastal’ New River is famous for
525 Views - Posted: January 01 at 7:00 am

North Carolina’s New River of the east is a wide, salty estuary, quite a contrast to the winding, freshwater New River of the state’s northwestern corner. Among the shortest of coastal rivers, it flows from Jacksonville to the Atlantic Ocean.


Creeks in Topsail, Surf City area are winter hotspots for drum. Drum up some December fish - Topsail, Surf City anglers have special opportunity to catch red and black drum as December weather cools
601 Views - Posted: December 01, 2013 at 6:00 am

It was typical winter morning, with a bite to the breeze that made even weatherworn Capt. David Baxley cinch down his acrylic headgear and pull up the hood of his sweatshirt like a scarf. Launching from a ramp in Surf City was a snap because it was in a protected area, but when Baxley headed south along the Intracoastal Waterway, the wind chilling a forehead brought on a brain freeze as easily as a snow cone during the summer. Hunkering down behind the windshield, he jammed the throttle down even more.


Steven Herring drags his boat out of the Ashes Creek Reservoir. Small, lightweight, rugged craft are a great way to access impoundments. Greentree impoundments are ‘nut’ havens
481 Views - Posted: November 15, 2013 at 6:00 am

A greentree impoundment takes advantage of acorns, of one of the primary food sources of larger puddle ducks, including wood ducks, mallards and black ducks. Hard mast, including nuts, bracts and awns, along with soft mast, such as berries and fruits, occur in bottomland hardwood swamps. A greentree impoundment is flooded seasonally, after deciduous leaves have fallen and the hardwood trees have gone dormant.


One third of the Lodge Road Impoundment is planted in Japan millet this season, with the rest in native vegetation that waterfowl eat. Man-made and manipulated duck foods
440 Views - Posted: November 15, 2013 at 6:00 am

The Lodge Road Impoundment has 21 acres of fields in the shape of an “I” that were ditched and planted in small grains several years ago, partly with the help of funding from Ducks Unlimited. However, the plantings have had limited success.


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