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Take advantage of fewer anglers on the water

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Mike Sweeney
Columnist

Thursday, February 16, 2017

This time of year a lot of bass fisherman are sitting on the couch thinking a few more weeks will bring the bite and they can finally break the cabin fever that has them so antsy.

What some of use diehard anglers know is the first wave of spawning bass are beginning to head shallow and look for an ideal spot to lay their eggs.

I love to go fishing for the big girls this time of year because I am usually all alone on the water and now is when they begin to move shallow.

Most anglers think that you have to wait till the sun stays out longer and the water begins to hit the mid 60s in order for the bass to spawn.

They are right but what experience has taught me is you miss a lot of fish waiting on the sofa this time of year so as soon as the sun begins to warm up I begin the hunt.

Where to go is the key to finding the fish and what to look for is the most important factor.

On our rivers you want to look for protected areas like cuts and small creeks that is out of the cold north wind. The water color in our rivers allows the sun to warm up the water faster so the bass will begin to move into the shallows to scope out their territory for the spawn.

This pre-spawn pattern can be had while searching for the best spawning grounds because in every little cut and creek on the river there is a road they travel back and forth between the beds and the deeper water in the main river.

That is what you are looking for when it comes to fishing this time of year.

When you approach the cut do so quietly and work every little point and laydown while moving back into the area. Once you get a bite take a minute to notice the details like water temp, depth, clarity and the structure you got the bite on.

Was it a point, wood, vegetation or bend in the channel that the fish was on? Try to duplicate this place in other cuts and creeks on the river and soon a pattern will emerge from your efforts. So let’s get off the couch and out on the water sooner this year and you will be amazed what you can find once you put your time in.

What’s biting, where...

The fishing report for the offshore fleet is good when they can get out and fish. The wind is brutal this year and it is rough out on the big water but when they do get out the payoff is usually pretty good.

The yellowfin have been on the prowl and feed but the Bluefin have started to show also. It is a hit or miss with these giants but you cant catch them from your living room so get out and bring home a slab.

On the beach we have some puppy drum and black drum around Hatteras but mostly skates up on the northern beaches. We do have some rumors of puppy drum around Oregon Inlet but no pictures to back it up.

In the sound the stripers have been absent for the most part except around Manns Harbor Bridge and a few in Coinjock but other than that it is a slow year.

We have been catching some crappie and white perch on the drop-offs in 5-to-10 feet of water and up in the creeks in the brush.

The ponds are heating up with the warmer days and sun out they began to move towards the banks so if you are a pond guy now is the time to cash in on some of the biggest fish of the year.

You want to throw spinner baits, flukes and crank baits because they are chasing shad up in the shallows and if the bite is not there back off and throw a jig on the drop offs just in front of the banks.

If anyone gets out this week send me a report and some pics to fishingwithmike921@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook at Fishing with Mike and we will pass on your success.


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