Mike Marsh Outdoors
Mike Marsh’s book, Fishing North Carolina, shares his best-kept secrets for fishing 100 lakes, rivers, ponds, sounds and piers.
Fishing North Carolina ($26.60),
Carolina’s Small Boat Fishing Guide ($26.20),
Coastal Carolina’s Mackerel Boat Fishing Guide ($22.25)
mail a check or money order to:
1502 Ebb Drive
Wilmington, NC 28409
or visit www.mikemarshoutdoors.com
for credit card orders.
Piedmont Lakes Fishing Report: October-November 2019
What to expect when you head out to fish the lakes of the Piedmont over the next few weeks. Get a clue from noted outdoor writer Mike Marsh.
Randy Moose, (Lyndon’s Riverview Sports, 828-632-7889) said bass will pile up on the points.
“You should cast crankbaits to points in 12 to 18 feet of water,” he said. “Spro Little John 50 and Little John MD and the Rapala DT6 or DT10 are good ones. Any color combinations with chartreuse in them are good choices. If the fish are fussy, try tossing them a lure with some purple or blue flake.”
Stripers will bite on main points. Anglers should cast-net shad in Gunpowder Creek and head for the mouth, fishing them under planer boards on points in 20 feet of water all the way upstream to Rink Dam. Finding the stripers on a depthfinder is the key. Good lures for surfacing stripers include Zoom Flukes or Zara Spooks.
Catfish will bite at 12 to 15 feet in the main lake channel. Night crawlers, shrimp, cut bait and Magic Bait in Chicken Blood or cheese flavors are the best bets. If they don’t bite within 15 minutes, try another spot.
Crappie will be at 12 to 20 feet around docks, brush piles and overhanging trees. Best lures are 1/32-ounce Bobby Garland jigs in Baby Shad or Cajun Cricket colors. The key is fishing with a light rod rigged with 4-pound test monofilament line to increase strikes.
Capt. Gus Gustafson (Fishing with Gus, 704-617-6812) said big crappie bite in chilly water.
“Crappie will be at 10 to 40 feet, but you should not get hung up on depth,” he said. “Try different depths at bridges, brush and boathouses. Lake Norman has more than 20 bridges so bridge pilings are always good spots. I use 1/8-ounce jigs for deep water. The bigger jigs catch bigger fish and get down faster. I use a jig with a soft plastic or marabou skirt and might add a minnow.”
Big blue catfish bite well into October. Best baits are herring, shad, stinkbaits, bream heads, white perch and chicken parts laced with garlic powder. Anglers should work the edges of coves by slow trolling or try anchoring on points. For channel cats, the best method is stabilizing the boat with two anchors and fan-casting lines baited with stinkbaits.
White perch will school at 30 feet in the deep coves where anglers can spot them with sonar units. A small spoon will catch them, but a Sabiki rig with a jigging spoon for weight is the better choice. Fishing a crappie minnow on a double dropper rig will catch perch when lures won’t and crappie will also be in the perch schools.
Spotted bass surface feed early and late on shallow points and along banks with deep drop-offs. Crankbaits and Whopper Ploppers are the best lures. Another good bet for spots is a soft plastic fished at a dock.
In the upper river, largemouth bass will bust buzzbaits and spinnerbaits. Above Buffalo Shoals, hybrids will bite casting spoons and topwater lures. Any of the islands from Duke Power State Park and Mountain Creek upstream should also attract hybrids.
Jerry Neeley (Carolina’s Fishing Guide Service, 704-678-1043) said shooting a jig is the best way to catch crappie.
“I catch big crappie by shooting jigs,” he said. “If find a dock with a pontoon boat, I fish between the dock and the boat.”
Crappie will be shallow, where casting a 1/32-ounce hair jig with a red head and white body will catch them. If water is stained, yellow is a good color. A good compromise is chartreuse. Long line trolling with 1/16-ounce jigs and six-pound test monofilament line also works. In November, two-hook down lines baited with minnows will haul the fish as they head deeper. The key to successful trolling is using electronics to locate the fish.
Topwater bass action will be excellent, with a Rebel Pop-R or buzzbait cast to rocky points and shallow spots in the creeks a great way to get strikes. Any riprap area is worth zipping with a spinnerbait. After the topwater bite ends, anglers should cast flat-sided crankbaits to stumps and rocks. Bass will also hit jigs fished at docks.
Catfish will bite bream heads. Anglers can catch bream in the backs of coves and troll cut bream heads along the bottom in the creeks and South Fork River. In November, Big Allison Creek will be the best place for catfish because of the warm water discharge from Catawba nuclear power plant.
Bryan Rice (Bryanricefishing.com), a pro angler on the FLW T&H0 Marine BFL circuit, said largemouth bass will be transition to winter patterns.
“Late in the afternoon the bass will be chasing shad and other baitfish into the cove pockets,” he said. “A Rat-L-Trap, buzzbait or Rebel Pop-R will catch them when they are feeding on shad.”
A good crankbait is the Bay Rat Lures 1.5 in Natural Shad or Citrus color if the water is clear and a Fire Tiger or G-Ville Shad color if the water is dark. During the peak of the day, anglers should flip docks with ½-ounce green pumpkin jigs. If the water is stained, a better jig color is brown/orange. Fishing a Senko soft plastic is another good idea. Anglers should also roll spinnerbaits on the lay-downs or in the flooded timber.
CAPT. GUS GUSTAFSON
Bait & Techniques:
Seasonal Fishing Features: