PHOTOS: Eastern Hot Spots

Log on for a photo gallery of what you can expect from the feeding frenzy taking place along the Atlantic … Continued

At 6 a.m. in the South Carolina-Georgia low country the sun bumps up like a slow-mo ball in some video game. Now’s the time to work the oyster bars on a going tide for sneaky redfish in inches of water. Take off your shoes; don’t rock the boat when casting or they’ll zip out of there. At day’s end if you want great seafood, and a little partying, Savannah’s minutes away. Outdoor Life Online Editor
Come fall the big reds are popping shrimp everywhere. It’s guide Scott Wagner’s favorite time. “They’re stocking up for winter,” he says. “They’ll attack anything they hear move””especially a fly plopped nearby. It’s wicked.” Outdoor Life Online Editor
Though you can hook bonus cobia fishing grouper off the coast, spring’s the time for sight-fishing them near shore. You idle along hunting until your feet scream “time out,” and that’s usually when a fish appears. You’ve got to cast right now, then sweet-talk the lure or fly to make them open their catfish-whale-like mouths and eat before they see the boat and spook. Outdoor Life Online Editor
Scotty had a tough time here. The cobia humped up a curl of water, grabbed his fly but in seconds came unglued. Then it came and ate again. And it came off once more. We moved the boat slightly, and here it came once more, chomping a third time, unbelievably close, but it stayed buttoned. Then near-disaster struckÂ… Outdoor Life Online Editor
Scott had the fish nearly beat, reaching to bring it in when his reel spool popped off. It clunked off the gunwale into the water but luckily with resistance from the slowly off-spooling line it was sinking slowly. I grabbed the rod, pinched the fly line slowing the fish which was trying for the bottom. Scott scooped the spool, hand- wrapped backing and the loose fly line, then popped the spool back on and grabbed back his rod. Outdoor Life Online Editor
After the circus of moments before Scott nearly embraces a fine cobia off the mouth of South Carolina’s Broad River. This one went back but “ling” or “lemonfish” as cobes are sometimes called, make good eating despite the yuksome stuff they consume; kinda like catfish. You need slick calm water for sight fishing, and when you get one around 50-lbs. to eat, you have some tug game on light gear. Outdoor Life Online Editor
Todd Ballew, one of Scott’s regular clients coaxed Mr. Red while he was “crawling” in inches of water. The fish’s belly grooved the mud, half his tail and back were in the air. Fish like this can be tough; especially in May. Come fall, though, and sometimes they’re as foolish as lust-dumb bucks in full rut. Outdoor Life Online Editor
At day’s end with the light lower, making glare, you can only hope for spotting wakes, or maybe tails. We spooked a couple fish we couldn’t see, then Todd saw some humping water near the spartina grass and fired. It worked. Outdoor Life Online Editor
Reds are hearty-tough fish. Todd’s last one of the day slapped Scott in fine shape as he let it go to find its buddies. You can reach Capt. Scott Wagner for some of this low-country action at 912-308-3700; Outdoor Life Online Editor
Plastics, plastics. Big Fin-S-Fish like this 10-incher are one of the best big striper baits for cow-size mammas in fall or spring. You’d better plan to have a bushel on hand if the bluefish are around, though. They’ll get shredded in short order. Outdoor Life Online Editor
The early morning bite in crazily shallow water turns non-jumping bass in striped pj’s into near tarpon-like acrobats. Now’s the time to throw anything light””even flies””at them , but Mike Laptew’s using””plastics, of course. Outdoor Life Online Editor
Make Laptew’s nice bass ate not the Fin-S-Fish, but a slightly smaller Slug-Go which it obviously thought was an eel, one of the striped fish’s favorite meals. Laptew is known as the Diving Fisherman, and has produced remarkable videos on the secret habits of stripers along the NE coast. Find him at and check out “Stripers Gone Wild.” Outdoor Life Online Editor
We call Capt. Jim White the Prince of Narragansett Bay. Nobody knows this Rhode Island water better, and that includes all the nooks and crannies off the big water and out the mouth into the ocean proper. Capt. Jimmy likes his plastics, too, in fact he wrote a book about them for salt water. Just make sure to use a loop knot when tying those soft jerk baits on. Outdoor Life Online Editor
Not all the plastics need to be big jerks, though. This pretty fish nailed a largemouth bass-size paddletail plastic dressed on a jig head but not worked deep. We were up in the shallows for the early bite and swimming the lures right on top. Pow! Outdoor Life Online Editor
And poppers, too. Those couple of birds in the sky clue OL Editor-in-Chief onto a topwater bite in a back cove off big Narragansett water. The neat thing is that this spot is in the belly of the crowd-plagued Northeast, an oasis of unhammered quality fishing that just keeps getting better. Outdoor Life Online Editor
You wonder where the crowds are, 15 minutes from Providence, RI, New England’s second largest city just south of Boston. We’ll work this upper neck of the Bay until the tide stops and then move down. But not just now. Todd’s about to get clobbered by a striper. Outdoor Life Online Editor
OL Ed-in-Chief, Todd Smith says that some of the back creeks we fished are a lot like largemouth bass fishing, working shoreline cover. Once the sun gets higher we’ll move to a little deeper water, but there are days in fall when the surface blitz goes off and on all day long. Outdoor Life Online Editor
Sometimes that surface action isn’t bass at all. Chopper bluefish corral the bait schools and turn things wild. You want a hard lure then, one that pops or walks like a Spook and can stand broadsides from slashing teeth. Capt. Jim says, get the dÂ…..d picture taken fast so we can get back to casting. You want to fish with Jim? Reach him at White Ghost Charters 401-828-9465; Outdoor Life Online Editor
If the action stops where you were just catching fish, don’t be in a hurry to leave right away. Switch from surface lures to drop baits like jigs or swim cranks and work the area thoroughly. And keep scanning; the fish could surface again not far away. Outdoor Life Online Editor
Capt. Jim loves his stogies. Now that the action’s briefly stopped, he’s likely to puff non-stop, worrying his fish won’t cooperate for us. Nobody’s concerned, though. Not here. Not in fall. Not with good weather like this. Outdoor Life Online Editor
But just on the off chance the fish stay down, Jimmy starts breaking out the old reliable tube rigs “”surgical tubing about two-feet long (some guys use ’em longer). You have a lead sinker (sometimes bucktail dressed) at the head of the rig. A wire runs through the tube and there is sometimes a forward hook, always a rear-end hook. You impale a sand or blood worm twice on the aft hook. You get a lively farandole””more moves than Enron’s Fastow””plus the worm stink. Troll the things and the bass think it’s eels on steroids. Outdoor Life Online Editor
But then the blues come up again and it’s plain crazy. They’re not the biggest choppers; you can tell by the way the birds are moving fast. Jim needs to run the boat way ahead of where they’re headed, circling wide not to put them down. Outdoor Life Online Editor
Bluefish are just flat-out mean. They’ll roar through a bait school, chopping off the tail ends of the small mehanden, then lashing around for the next one. Don’t get your hands near their mouths when un-hooking. They can do serious finger damage. Outdoor Life Online Editor
Poppers or topwater swimbaits are key during a blitz of blues. Often it’s best to take off extra hooks, leaving only a tail treble or single to make things easy when it’s time to un-hook the things. It save damage on your own hands, and often lets you grab the whole plug and shake the fish loose. Outdoor Life Online Editor
Capt. Jim says “Nobody’s bothered using the old striped bass swimming plugs lately here. So he did. Here’s what happened. Now he says the rest of us need to keep using other baits as controls just to see if the swim plugs work better. I don’t think so! Bring out the swimbait box right now, James! Outdoor Life Online Editor
Good thing, too. Todd’s fish turns out to be the best of the day. Wouldn’t I have loved to have nailed her on a big grocery fly. Wouldn’t I have loved to have nailed her on anything. Next timeÂ… Outdoor Life Online Editor
Good thing, too. Todd’s fish turns out to be the best of the day. Wouldn’t I have loved to have nailed her on a big grocery fly. Wouldn’t I have loved to have nailed her on anything. Next timeÂ… Outdoor Life Online Editor

Log on for a photo gallery of what you can expect from the feeding frenzy taking place along the Atlantic coast.