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Elizabeth City from the Locals' Point of View

Cranking Cover – Elizabeth City’s Fishing with Mike

When the bass are moving around a lot like they do right now then one of the best search baits is a crank bait that you can go look for them with. The one I always seem to favor is a small square bill bait made by Strike King that will move through almost any cover with minimum hang ups. The K.V.D. square bill is designed to do just that with ease and if you hit the structure you trigger the strike.

When I am out fishing the bank’s I like to hit all the cover till I get a strike but in order to cover a lot of water you have to use a bait that will travel at the same speed as I do and I can move down a bank quickly. If I have lily pads then I like a fluke, spinner bait or even a frog but in between the vegetation I like to throw a square bill for the fact that I know I can hit the brush or logs with little hang ups and also because I know almost nobody else is doing it. It provides a look that the fish have not seen before and it triggers strikes when it bounces off the wood or brush.

Bass caught on a KVD square bill crank bait.

The key to fishing this bait in the wood is a sensitive rod and perfect lure presentation. Cast the bait beyond the target and make the approach carefully with the lure so that it contacts the structure and reflects off then you pause the bait just after the contact. This is when the strike will usually happen so be ready for it. I try to imagine the lure as it travels down the water column and you have to believe the fish is sitting right next to the wood just like he is supposed to. If you see a great spot and they don’t hit on the first cast make multiple casts to the same spot but using different angles till you are convinced that the fish is not there. Some of my best fish come off of structure that you can’t even see like stumps and laydowns on the drop off so fish the bait all the way back to the boat and don’t be shocked if you get hit with only a few feet of line left.

The offshore guys had a time this week with the big north winds but it looks like they are going to work out for the best. When the wind switches from out of the north the water temps rise at the beach and the fishing usually improves shortly after. With the power issues south of Nags Head the big question is can you get out but the only thing I can say is call your local captain if you want a charter out of Hatteras and try your best to support them. This electric problem has had everyone scrambling down on the southern beaches and I am sure they can work something out and get you fishing. The few guys who did get out this week had real good luck with the mahi and the bill fish are still hanging around if you know where to look for them.

On the beach and piers there is some improvement with the rising water temps with some mullet action as well as blues. The flounder have been hanging around also and they seem to like to be right in the surf in the first drop so you don’t need a big rod and reel to reach them. If you are fishing the piers try right under your feet next to the pilings they love to hang around and ambush prey that hang around under there.

Closer to home we have had a spectacular largemouth bite all year and it has no signs of letting up now. Frogs, Pop-Rs and other top water baits pay off huge this year and I thing it all has to do with the locust season and the large dragon fly population we have in our area but either way it is fun to fish top water. There is nothing like it when the fish hits the bait and the explosion that follows make your heart race and the only problem is not setting the hook too soon. Wait till you feel the fish pull the line then let him have it.

The catfishing has also been good this year with lots of big cats coming to fresh cut eel on bottom rigs and noodles. If anyone gets out this week send me a report to or hit me up on Facebook at Fishing with Mike and let me know how you did.

Mike Sweeney is a local fishing coach and he writes about his fishing adventures in the Daily Advance, Albemarle Times and for the Elizabeth City Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. Click here to book light tackle guide trips for the Albemarle region and Chesapeake Bay for stripers, trout, flounder, spanish mackerel and blues.