Logan Ennis of Red Oak, NC was fishing near the 14 Buoy off of Morehead City on Jan. 2, 2023 when he caught the new North Carolina state record white grunt.
Ennis’ fish weighed 4 pounds, 13.6 ounces. He caught the fish on a Daiwa Saltist 35HG reel mounted to a Star Rod jigging rod. He was using squid as bait. The fish was 17.5 inches long (fork length), with a girth of 16 inches.
Chasin’ Tails Outdoors weighed the fish and helped Ennis contact the Marine Fisheries headquarters to confirm the measurements.
The NC Division of Marine Fisheries certified the fish as the new record, besting the previous record of 4 pounds, 8 ounces, which was caught off Cape Lookoot in 1969.
Some new bass fishing regulations are in order for two Arkansas lakes beginning Jan. 1, 2023.
Anglers in Arkansas should note some new bass regulations which began on Jan. 1, 2023. The changes are for two lakes in the Natural State.
On Norfork Lake, regulations for all three species of black bass have been changed. The new law states that largemouth and smallmouth bass must be at least 13 inches long to keep. The length limit on spotted bass (sometimes called Kentucky bass) has been dropped. Anglers can keep spotted bass of any length.
The Arkansas Game & Fish Commission encourages anglers on Norfork Lake to keep smaller, legal-sized bass of all three species. While this may seem counterproductive and a shift from a long-standing, nationwide push to release bass to fight another day, this lake is currently overpopulated with small bass, which stunts the growth rates of all fish.
The same problem has led to a change in Sugarloaf Lake’s largemouth bass slot limit, which has been removed. Anglers can now keep any size bass from Sugarloaf Lake. AGFC has stated that the slot limit has left this lake, like Norfork, full of stunted bass.
A third lake that anglers should take note of is Lake Monticello. This lake has been renovated and is currently slowly refilling to full pool. It is open for anglers, but all gamefish must be released immediately.
For full information on fish and game regulations in Arkansas, click here.
Stuart Vandyke of Eutawville, SC set the new bowfishing South Carolina state and world record for catfish on Jan. 6, 2023 when he arrowed an Arkansas blue catfish that tipped the scales at 84 pounds, 12.8 ounces.
Vandyke’s catfish was 54 inches long, with a girth of 37 inches. And this fish tale has some twists and turns that make it a little more interesting than breaking a world record is to begin with.
First of all, 15 days earlier, Vandyke’s friend David Ard set the bowfishing world record for the same species with a fish that weighed a little more than 80 pounds.
Add to that, another of Vandyke’s friends that was in the boat with him on Jan. 6 took the first shot at the record fish, but missed. This gave Vandyke an opportunity, and he took full advantage of it.
Once his arrow pierced the fish, he knew it would be big enough to vie for the record. He and his friends wrestled it aboard, then called a friend with a certified scale. They weighed the fish and got it entered into the Bowfishing Association of America’s record book, ending Ard’s short-lived status as world record holder.
Catfish in the daytime, catfish at night. They’re biting all hours at Santee right now.
The summertime catfish report on the Santee Cooper lakes shows many blue cats being caught. Capt. Kyle Austin’s anglers are catching plenty of them at night, which helps beat the heat. But the daytime bite hasn’t been bad.
Capt. Jason Wolfe of Wolfe’s Guide Service has a two-part strategy for summertime cats on Santee. First thing in the morning, he likes to anchor down in fairly shallow water. He baits up with cut baitfish, casts out a spread of six to eight rods, sets the rods in the rod holders, then waits.
Wolfe suggests anglers leave the rods in the rod holders until the rod is doubled over. Many anglers try to set the hook, which he said is a mistake. The circle hooks he uses will do their job once the fish commits. And the action of his Catch the Fever rods coupled with the reel’s drag will allow the catfish to swim away long enough for the hook to embed itself in the corner of the fish’s mouth.
As the fish continues to swim away, the rod finally doubles over. Sometime the drag begins to sing, letting you know that a true fighter is on the line
As the sun gets up and the day begins to warm, the catfish leave the shallows, so Wolfe does too. He heads for deep water, usually on the main section of the Lower Lake. Here, he replaces his weights with Drifting Stix, then casts all his rods again. And once again they go in rod holder.
Now, Wolfe suggests his anglers kick back and watch the rod tips. As they drift over humps and deep holes, the bait is being presented to catfish of all sizes. When one takes the bait, you’ll know it quickly.
Pay attention to saltwater ponds while on vacation — they often hold big flounder.
Whether you live along the Carolina coastline or are just visiting for vacation, don’t overlook the saltwater ponds that are abundant in some areas. Many vacation resorts feature ponds that either visibly connect to the inshore waters or have a series of hidden culverts that bring water (and fish) into and out of the ponds.
Many of these ponds hold flounder. Some of these fish get into the ponds and never leave, gorging on baitfish every time the tide flows in. So even though the waters are relatively small, some hold big flounder.
The typical baits work here — finger mullet and mud minnows on Carolina rigs are great. But bucktail jigs are just as good when worked slowly and methodically. Many anglers stand on the bank and cast toward the middle, but those in the know make long casts that land much closer to the shoreline, then work the bait or lure slowly as it runs parallel to the sea wall or bank. Just like when fishing a freshwater pond for bass, few fish live in the middle of a pond, with most constantly patrolling the shallower water near the banks.
This type of fishing is good because it doesn’t take up a whole day, so if you’re on a family vacation, you can do it while grilling or while other family members take showers for a night out. Or you can do it as a family without having to hire a charter or dedicate a certain amount of time to it.
It’s laid-back fishing that can pay big dividends. Try it next time you head to the coast.
North Carolina’s saltwater fishing report is a hot one.
Anglers along the North Carolina coastline have been catching a variety of species of fish for the past few weeks. The fishing forecast looks to be just as good for the immediate future.
This past Saturday, the fishing fleet out of Pirate’s Cove Marina in Manteo dodged the tropical storm, and their anglers brought back yellowfin tuna, dolphinfish, wahoo, sea bass, and a pile of tilefish. They also released two billfish — a blue marlin from COUNTRY GIRL and a sailfish from OBSESSION. The day before, it was much of the same on the meatfish, and a white marlin was released from HAPHAZARD. Nearshore anglers out of Manteo caught lots of Spanish mackerel and ribbonfish.
In the Williamston area, anglers fishing with Capt. Scooter Lilley of CWW Inshore Charters have been slaying the speckled trout in the past week to 10 days. With breaks for stripers, catfish and largemouth bass in the freshwater, Lilley’s saltwater trips have put limits of specks in the boat numerous times. They’ve released a lot of trout (40 in one trip for two anglers) and kept some for the fryer. They’ve also caught some redfish, and an occasional catch-and-release flounder.
In the Atlantic Beach area, anglers are catching everything from cobia, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, red drum, sheepshead and speckled trout. Many reports of catch-and-release flounder, including a 28-incher caught by youth angler Tucker Kane, have also been coming in to the folks at Chasin’ Tails Outdoors Bait & Tackle.
Anglers in Hatteras are having a field day with a variety of fish. Red drum on the beaches have made up many reports coming into the Red Drum Tackle Shop. Madison Thume caught a 33-inch cobia from the beach. Other reports include speckled trout, blues, sea mullet and Spanish. One angler also recently caught a 3-pound, 7-ounce pompano that he weighed in at Red Drum. Sand fleas and shrimp have been the bait of choice for many anglers here.
The fishing is good, so get out there and enjoy it!
South Carolina anglers and hunters will love this new app from SCDNR!
Anglers and hunters in the Palmetto State need to have the appropriate licenses for whatever fishing or hunting they’re doing. Purchasing them used to be a hassle. You had to find a store that sold them, then fill out the paperwork (by hand, like cavemen!), then haul that little folded up scrap of paper in your wallet, just hoping to never lose or ruin it.
Then came online purchasing. That was much easier, but you still had to wait on the license to come in the mail. After a while, they allowed you to print the license from your home printer, as long as you had one.
But now, it’s even easier. SCDNR now has the Go Outdoors South Carolina App, which you can download to your phone. The app allows you to view your current hunting and fishing license, apply for lottery hunts, register and renew your watercraft, report turkey harvests through SC Game Check, upgrade to a hard license (sort of like a credit card), and purchase SCDNR gear.
But that’s not all. The app also has a “Digital Backpack” that has loads of information, like tide charts, sunrise/sunset times, feeding times, and the Hunter’s Toolbox, which shows real-time harvest data for the state. You can also find all the regulations, boat ramps, and a whole host of other information.
Whether you’re an Apple or Android user, hit up your play store and download the Go Outdoors South Carolina app today.
Chris Douglas from Carolina ALL OUT TV joined up with Capt. Brandon “Gator” Freeman of Gators Outdoor Adventure and Guide Service (843-409-9162) for a day of fishing for redbreast and bluegill on the Lumber River.
And after catching their share of these hard-fighting fish, they pulled over to the banks for a good old-fashioned shore lunch. Fried fish doesn’t get any fresher than this!
Enjoy the video, and check out Carolina ALL OUT for even more outdoor adventure videos.
Santee Lakes Catfish Club tournament winner accused of cheating by fellow angler
The Santee Lakes Catfish Club held its second tournament of the 2021 fall season on Saturday, Oct. 9 out of Blacks Camp in Cross, S.C. By all accounts, the fishing was tough, with many teams weighing in less than the three-fish limit at the end of the day.
To make things worse, the tournament was tainted by accusations of cheating, leveled at the winner by another club member who allegedly saw evidence of wrongdoing. Rob Unkle of All Slimed Up Guide Service took the win, weighing in a total of 76.38 pounds.
Dennis Glover and Mike Rivers with WTF weighed a total of 58.13 pounds, taking second place. Reigning club champs David Kingsmore and Bradley Tucker of Team SC CATS brought 51.47 pounds to the scale, good for third place. A weight of 51.25 pounds put Capt. Jason Wolfe of Wolfe’s Guide Service in fourth place.
But what was that about cheating? Well, to be fair, Rob Unkle passed a lie-detector test which was administered before naming the winners. But there was a matter that shined some doubt on his conduct.
Three catfish spotted in Unkle’s bait tank day before tournament
Aside from fishing, Unkle also sells bait to other anglers. The day before the tournament, one of the other anglers showed up to purchase some bait. And in the large bait tank, this angler saw three catfish, including a flathead he estimated at about 18 pounds. The angler alerted tournament director Ralph Willey of what he saw. Willey then made sure a certified polygraph examiner would be on site for the weigh in.
While the tournament was going on, a tournament official went to Unkle’s place. The three catfish which were observed in the bait tank the day before the tournament were no longer there. Unkle said he sold the fish. Then at the weigh in, Unkle weighed in three catfish, including a flathead that weighed about 18 pounds. He took a polygraph and passed, and was awarded first place.
On the Santee Lakes Catfish Club Facebook page, Willey stood by the tournament results.
Club president issues statement on the situation
“Friday evening I was contacted by a club member expressing concerns of potential cheating within our tournaments. These concerns were not taken lightly and I immediately started putting things in place to ensure a level playing field for all participants in yesterday’s tournament. We performed thorough live well checks and a polygrapher was retained. 1st and 2nd place winners were tested and both passed. Awards were made based on those results.
As SLCC club president, I am not judge and jury. I have to remain impartial and use the tools available to me to provide fair competition. Unfortunately, I can’t control the court of public opinion and I’m disappointed that this event has shed a negative light on our great club and its anglers. Cheating, if proven, will NOT be tolerated. Not only will the team be banned from our club, law enforcement will be brought in. In this case, solid proof is not available and I stand by the actions taken and the decisions made. I welcome anyone having concerns to reach out to me personally so I can address them,” said Willey.
The Santee Lakes Catfish Club gets back in action on Nov. 13. This tournament will be held out of Hill’s Landing and RV Park, with fishing taking place on the upper lake. Livewell checks and registration will be conducted 6 a.m. to 6:45 a.m. Scales will open at 3:30 p.m. Click here for more information about the Santee Lakes Catfish Club.
The catfishing community in the Carolinas lost a popular member on Sept. 12, 2021. Jason Kevin Henderson was known by many as a great catfish angler, but most importantly as a great person.
Along with his brother Clay, Jason was a part of Drifting Stix, a company that makes products for catfish anglers. And he won numerous fishing tournaments and championships. He was passionate about angling, and about helping other anglers succeed.
I only met him once, on a fishing trip at Santee last year. At about 6 a.m., his first words to me were a light hearted joke, and before we ever left the dock, I felt like I’d known him my whole life. He was a laid back guy that just put others immediately at ease, and made them feel like life-long friends.
Aside from fishing, Jason was a loving son, husband, dad, brother, cousin, uncle, nephew and a friend to many people.
If you never fished with him, you missed out. If you never met him at all, you missed out even more.
The Southeastern Catfish Club and the rest of the catfish community came together to launch a money-raising effort to help Jason’s family with funeral and other expenses. If you’d like to donate, visit https://app.easytithe.com/app/giving/afo