Trophy Hybrid Bass on the Cape Fear River

Photo by: Joey Sullivan
Photo by: Joey Sullivan

Area rivers are still high and stained from recent rains, but the water temps are heating up, and with it the action for hard fighting current dwellers.

My brother and I hit the Cape Fear river today for the afternoon bite and the action was steady. It was cloudy for the most part with occasional periods of sunny skies. I started off fishing some fast water and the first fish was a bruiser. After throwing a crankbait over a boulder and slowly pulling it through the hole I felt a vicious strike. The fish instantly peeled off drag, and I had to brace the rod with my off hand to keep the pole from flattening out and breaking off over the rocks my line was rubbing. I maneuvered around the rocks and managed to tighten the drag a touch without losing pressure on the fish and started to gain some line. It probably took five or six minutes of nerve-wracking fighting to get it close, and after a few more runs I netted a 25″, 8lb plus hybrid bass. A nice first fish for the day for sure.

My brother quickly started catching too. He first caught a white bass and then soon enough he also had a citation fish. He was throwing a crankbait as well, and hooked into a nice spotted bass. It was well over 15″.

We both caught our share of carp, fishing corn in small holes here and there, before heading back to the swift water as storms approached from the west. There I caught a citation, 16″ white bass close to 3 pounds, and Joey hooked into a huge largemouth bass right afterwards, but it broke him off after chaffing the line on a rock.

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Joey’s spotted bass
16″ white bass
22″ channel catfish
23″ carp


All fish were released very much alive.

We started for the truck when the storms caught us and we had to load the vehicle in pouring rain, hail and several bolts of lightning right on top of us. Spring is great for fishing and some days will be awesome, but don’t mess with the storms. They’ll sneak up on you quick this time of year. We were fortunate enough to see a turkey and a double rainbow on the drive out too. Quite a lucky day.

We fished and had success with square bill crankbaits, Texas rigs, and Carolina rigs. Inline spinners were unproductive, and poppers as well, which was surprising as they have been quite effective lately. Slow rolling the cranks through the swift water was the key. I’ve been fishing inline spinners and poppers a lot lately and they have been producing consistently, but not today. Always bring an assortment of baits along on spring time trips because your plan may be solid, but the fish just might not agree. Be ready to switch it up.

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