My time in NC is nearing a close now--this weekend is the second to last time I'll have time to fish here. After a tumultuous week (not the election, some family stuff) I decided to keep it close to home and headed out to the spillway at the Falls of Neuse reservoir.
The last time I was there, the water was very high but I managed to hook into (but not land) some white bass, so I set up an alert after inspecting the USGS site for when it drops back to normal levels. It turns out the flow rate is entirely controlled by humans, because it has quite sharp, sudden changes in flow. I got an email notification Thursday night saying that the gage height was below 2 feet, so it was a perfect day Saturday (chilly, but sunny) to head out.
It was interesting being there right after they lowered the flow rate--there was lots of dead sunfish, bluegill, shad, even a few small crappie on some of the concrete to the side of the spillway where the water suddenly drained off of. I got my start by snagging some dead bluegills and putting the heads on a circle hook, since I'd hooked into some BIG catfish that way in the past.
Eventually I hooked into a nice channel catfish on that setup, but noticed the locals kept netting shad and tossing them in a puddle on the walkway to use as bait. So I just started taking the shad from the puddle after some guys left and fishing a second rod with them rigged up through the lip with a single split shot. Turns out, that was the ticket. I caught a few more small channel catfish, and a lot of really fat bellied white catfish. (White catfish are generally bullhead sized, so the ones in the pictures were nice specimens--we don't have them in IL, though.)
Some stuff from my last trip to the coast also attached:
The big bruiser of a shark (maybe 10 feet long) that easily peeled off a ton of line and then broke my 60 pound mono line. I was not equipped to handle him, and was not expecting him to bite! Included is a video of me and some kids feeding fish heads to him and his buddies after dark. (I had my gear parked next to a fish cleaning station on the Bogue Inlet pier) Also caught pufferfish, bluefish, etc. Wish I knew at the time that the puffers in the NC area were not only not poisonous, but apparently great eating.