Winter Fishing Report – Jordan Lake, Gaston Lake, Kerr and Shearon Harris

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The fishing has been very good on three North Carolina lakes this winter. Jordan Lake, Gaston Lake and Shearon Harris Lake have all been steadily producing quality fish.

After Christmas, we got on Gaston Lake and reproduced nearly the same results as in November. Striped bass were still chasing baits trolled slowly in twenty plus foot of water. We had success with sassy shads, swimbaits and Bama rigs. Four colors of leadcore and we were in the zone. We just had to stay under two miles per hour.

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Then, in early January, we got on Jordan Lake and started catching striped bass in lots of different areas. Fish are hitting slowly trolled artificials, swimbaits and also are taking metal jigged vertically. The mix of fish has been good as well with nice largemouth bass, white bass, white perch, crappie, yellow perch, catfish and even carp. Small baits are again producing far more fish than anything bigger than the small shad on the lake in abundance right now.

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Just use stout hooks.

Harris lake is fishing very similar to Jordan lake. Main lake points and current breaks anywhere adjacent to baitfish and deep suspended target fish. Fish slowly and patiently; you could be waiting for 1 or 2 bites a day, but they could be giants. Bass are present and feeding early and late in the day in twenty feet of water.

Kerr lake was fishing really good last fall and early winter. I got on the lake in late December, and we caught fish, but they were all shorts. I haven’t been back or heard much from locals there in weeks.

Here are a few from this morning on Jordan lake. I was on the water three hours and caught my personal best largemouth and a very big striped bass minutes later.

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The winter bite is the same as it usually is this time of year each year. You just have to fish steady and believe the bite is coming. And when it does be ready. Use your electronics and don’t fish areas without bait and marks on your sonar. Make note of the depths you’re in when you catch and stay in those depths.

Good luck!

Jordan Lake Bassin’

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I had a couple hours after work the other day and decided to hit Jordan Lake for the last hour bite.

The weather has been back and forth, but I’d been noticing north winds on the lake when I drive to work in the mornings, and with days getting shorter, I figured I could find some shallow fish. Didn’t have much time, and I would be in the yak, so I opted to leave the stripers alone and go after largemouth bass instead.

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I found them feeding almost straight off after getting to a place that’s always been productive for me this time of year. I saw a small pod of threadfin-shad busting the water, actually leaping out, and after throwing a small crankbait, I was hooked up.

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The fish weren’t full-on busting, but at times small pockets of surface busting cropped up and I was able to take advantage. The fish were mostly small, until I had the double-hookup (feature photo). Those bass were the biggest of the outing; it was just a fluke they were caught paired. I wish I could explain the excitement of this sort of phenomena occurring on freshwater lakes to non-anglers. It’s easy to get flustered and make mistakes, but if you calm yourself and focus, you can catch fish after fish til you leave; really non-stop action.

I caught everything on a small crankbait and a small spoon and had to really burn the baits to get bit. After trolling a bit when the fish seemed inactive, and only getting a few more bites, I headed to the ramp.

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Down East Bass & Alligators for Mother’s Day! (VIDEO)

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So the family decided to get together and fish for Mother’s Day Weekend. We opted to chase largemouth bass but didn’t bargain for the alligators.

Especially those in excess of 10 feet long.

We wanted to hit the grass flats and chase drum and trout, but heavy rains the week prior to our outing and high winds changed those plans. Then we thought we might hit a slow moving black-water river, but the gauges rose all night long the night before, so we again made an audible.

Greenfield Lake it was. It was small, close to us in Wilmington, and would be far more protected from high winds than anything else we could think of. This is a really beautiful place. The fishing pressure it gets is obvious, so I don’t really recommend it for a trip as far as angling, but as far as a place to see some really cool wildlife, both reptilian and avian, it’s a must see.

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There are bass, gar, bowfin, perch, bream, crappie, pickerel and catfish, but they obviously see everything off the Wal-Mart shelf daily. So we caught fish, and some nice ones too, but it was a serious grind. This was my best bass of the day; a 4 pounder that ate a weightless senko.

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As the morning began we drifted slowly and quietly through Cypress trees covered in everything from Bayberry to Poison Ivy. Wax Myrtles and Azaleas surround the lake too, but the Old Man’s Beard hanging from all the Cypress and Sweet Gums is what really catches the eye here.

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We had been told that there were rumors of a big alligator here; like a 14 footer. Let me rephrase that, we figured after what we’d been told; there might be an alligator in these waters, like maybe a small one with an exaggerated size to keep people from the small city lake. But we didn’t expect to see close to 10 alligators with 2 of them around 10 plus feet.

But that’s what we got. Here is the video of an 8 plus foot alligator I saw after a few smaller ones.

Then I encountered a bigger gator. This one was easily in excess of 10 feet! Two videos of him follow…

So yes, I probably did cross a line while filming these alligators. It could be said it wasn’t smart to get so close (even though the videos in no way show how close I really was). But I was ready to get away from them at a moments notice, and I kept them in my sight the entire time I was close. When they submerged I stopped filming and got out of the immediate area. I’ve also kept reptiles, both native to NC (when I was a permitted NC wildlife rehabilitator) and exotics in my lifetime (including large constrictors). I am also keenly aware that the intelligence these prehistoric creatures have far surpasses what science would grant them based on their brain size. I knew when I was filming when they were aware of me, when they were ok with me, and when they were tired of my presence. Body language does reveal a lot in the animal kingdom.

I also knew these gators have been in this location a long time and they have never had an incident, even though there are houses all around the lake, and visitors in the waters on a daily basis (there are even kayaks and pedal boats available for visitors to rent in this small lake loaded with alligators).

So I certainly don’t encourage anyone to get as close as I did to a big alligator; no more than I encourage anyone who doesn’t feel able and comfortable to kayak fish in swift water, or to go rock climbing without experience and knowledge. But I do encourage people to get out there and experience stuff like this at whatever level they happen to feel comfortable with. I know my life was enriched by experiencing this yesterday and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Here a few pics of Mom catching her bass.

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