Had Another Front Page on Ncangler this week!

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My buddy Scott and I hit Jordan Lake again on Sunday for the afternoon, and the fish were really active.

The weather was crazy, with the tropical system quickly passing to our west, the winds were up and down, cloudy one minute, sunny and humid the next. But, the bite was on.

I was trolling KVD 1.0’S all afternoon and caught a ton of fish. Lots of perch, (including a double) largemouth bass, crappie and even a catfish, however, most were smallish.  But after we paddled across the lake, when the wind reached a point from the southeast that pushed the waves to white-capping (trying to escape) we found an area virtually unaffected by the weather and saw a couple bald eagles retreating to a tree approximately 200 yards from our position. Scott loves photographing birds and so we split up for a bit.

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photo: Scott Kroggel
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photo: Scott Kroggel

He got photographs of eagles and egrets, while I tried to figure out how to fish that side of the lake. After an hour or so, the wind lightened and we were drifting back across the lake, and over a hump; that’s when the bigger bass, maybe 3 pounds plus, hit the slightly moving tiny crankbait. It doubled the rod over and started shaking its head so violently, I was sure it was a striped bass. The fight lasted probably 4 or 5 minutes too, this bass was a really hardy character, which allowed Mr. Kroggel to get some really cool pics….

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photo: Scott Kroggel
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photo: Scott Kroggel

….which led to the front page on Ncangler.com Monday morning. I even had a violently-ill crappie stick a hook in my finger for this effort!! The audacity of that pound for pound superior fighting fish! Actually, I boat flipped it green and paid the price lol.

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photo: Scott Kroggel

Anyhow, I was really happy my friend was able to receive some validation, only a few months after starting to perfect a new craft. And great fishing made it that much better. To many more adventures…

It was a perfect Sunday.

 

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Kayak-In Camping

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photo: Scott Kroggel

My good friend, Scott Kroggel and I decided to do some kayak-in camping Friday night.

I escaped society a few hours before he did and went ahead to find a spot and gather firewood. I launched at Ebeneezer boat ramp on Jordan Lake around 4pm and cruised across Beaver Creek towards an area I had in mind.

We weren’t really going to fish, but I knew with cooling temperatures the fish would be shallow, especially in the evening, so I made sure to bring a few dozen crappie minnows along.

After unloading gear and gathering plenty of dry wood for the night’s fire, I sent a minnow soaring across the water on a float. The water was calm, as winds were light and out of the east, and after a few moments the bobber plunged under the water’s surface and I had the first fish on. The small largemouth bass fought hard, and was returned to the lake after a quick photograph.

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That bass was followed by another a few minutes later…

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Then, there was a lull in the bite and I decided to do a little exploring. I always enjoy figuring out what sorts of inhabitants use the same woods I do.

It’s good to see tracks from whitetail deer all around the lake again. EHD seems to be backing off from central NC’s deer herd. I hope for good. The sunset was really nice.

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It wasn’t long after the sun dove beyond the horizon that I started fishing again. I brought a red light-up bobber and soon enough it was dancing wildly across the water.

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From that point on, schools of crappie came through every five or ten minutes and while most were small, there were some slabs….

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photo: Scott Kroggel
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photo: Scott Kroggel
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photo: Scott Kroggel

Scott is becoming quite the photographer, and he spent a good portion of the evening perfecting his craft. Some of these pics are really cool.

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photo: Scott Kroggel
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photo: Scott Kroggel

Six Species Slab Smackdown

 

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So this afternoon was a no-brainer to go after some slabs.

I wanted fish tacos and I was lucky enough to find the ingredients today. The weather was what I call perfect for fishing. Light winds, overcast, rainy-at-times and cool with constant approaching weather.

I got on the water around 2:00 and started catching fish right off. There was bait on top of the water, but I never saw any surface activity. I launched and headed into the back of a cove I’ve had plenty of luck in over the years and hit a keeper striper before I could get all three lines out.

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I had two rods spooled with leadcore already out and was dropping back a crankbait in the center of the spread when the first rod doubled over. It was a decent fish and fought hard, digging deep repeatedly in 20 fow. I lip-gripped the striped bass and brought it into the yak. It was about 21″, so I took a quick pic and released it. I was only planning on keeping whites or crappie.

I trolled through the area a while and picked up a few small catfish before landing the first white bass. I thought it was a striper, as usual with the bigger whites. It was almost 14″ (feature photo) and hit the ice. Then, I trolled right back through the same spot and hit a nice crappie, just about 12″ and it too joined the white bass.

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Then, the sun popped out, the temperature went up and the bait and fish vanished. The wind picked up a bit too, so I trolled across the lake and hit a different area. Once there, I found fish on structure and started jigging after a few passes with no takers. I caught several bream, with one nice one first. I thought about keeping them, but turned them back.

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Then, I caught another striper, it was short and also quickly released.

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Right afterwards, as the the bait sunk back to the bottom I pulled the first time and felt a huge bite. I was sure I was hung then felt the shaking and new I was on a nice fish. It dug good and shook its head several times before I turned it upward and was able to bring it to the side of the yak. Awww. Anyway it was nice fight…

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The afternoon started getting late and I was headed back to the ramp and the wind died. The clouds covered the sky again and I decided to tie on a chugbug. I love those things. Rivers, lakes wherever. I chucked it along a bank a few times and had one blow up. I figure it was a maybe two pounds, but it was fun for the sixth species of the day.

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After that the wind started up again and I split. Only kept the crappie and white bass but it was just enough. I love overcast calm days on the water.

 

Early Spring Freshwater Fishing Report 2017

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I decided to put together an early freshwater fishing report.

This fishing report will be a mix of what I’ve done over the last few weeks, as well as links to active fisheries and other reports I find useful. I hope it’s helpful and inspires you to get out fishing soon.

We had our first spring back in late January and the patterns were about what I would have expected to work in mid to late March. On area lakes like Gaston, Kerr and others, fish like striped bass, largemouth bass and crappie were scattered in small schools and starting to feed heavily in fairly shallow water. I was even starting to catch them trolling reaction lures like crankbaits and small hairless spoons.

But now, over the last few weeks, everything has changed. The fish that were feeding in ten to twenty feet of water throughout the day are now staging in water over thirty feet deep and negative. You can find success on calm days jigging spoons on lakes like Jordan, Harris and Falls. But it seems to be a time-specific thing, almost like summer where the bites only really come early and late…go figure. There are reports of bass hitting the banks as well. But as you can see from the dates the news isn’t great.

So I opted to try a few rivers over the last couple of weeks. I first tried the Haw, but the fishing was very slow, so I backed out of the shallows and found white bass, catfish and crappie by jigging in water around twenty feet deep. I did keep a few though…

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Then, I hit the Eno and the fishing was slow there as well, though I did have one double. I only caught seven white bass and one crappie, but again a few healthy specimens joined me for a hot oil bath. These fish, as you can see from the pics below, were hitting tiny in-line spinners and they would only hit the brown feathers that day. I spoke with other anglers who were having decent success with green grubs slow trolled along the bottom for crappie.

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Now, it’s almost time for me to start on the striped bass run, but with the chilly and windy weather of late, I haven’t been out much. I did get to the Cape Fear one day last week and caught one striper (feature photo) and several carp off corn. The fish were lethargic though and I released all of them.

Here is the link to the shocking surveys as of March 9th from the NCWRC. They focus on the Cape Fear, Roanoke, Neuse and Tar rivers. Shad are still showing up in decent numbers but the stripers are slow. The 2017 season on the Roanoke has started and you can find regs for all four rivers the fish run up on the linked site as well. This is a great resource, especially this time of year as you plan your river trips.

So get out there and be safe, the fishing should start to improve as we get out of this crazy week of weather. Who knows, next week it might be summer out there. Look for the trends and fish them!

Published Again!

Wide Open Spaces has published my first article for their site.

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Photo by: Tom Sullivan

 

I signed contracts last week and the guys at Wideopenspaces.com wanted an article in a week’s time. So I sent them two within 24 hours.

Click the link below if you’d like to see their awesome website, and read a few tips on finding big crappie on your local lake right now.

http://www.wideopenspaces.com/forget-winter-maintenance-get-catch-crappie-now/