Bluegill - Big Bluegill

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 Not sure what all the contributing factors are but 2014 has been an amazing panfish season to date in Coastal North Carolina......Despite getting hit by a wave of tornadoes in late April and a brush by a CAT 2 hurricane on the 4th of July......this year has been productive since New Year's Day........I've already experienced quantity records for Black Crappie and the Summer bite continues to be incredible........I topped 3,000 Crappie earlier in July and sit at 3,151 as of 8/1/2014 with 617 of those fish at 13" or larger......Even July has been productive for Crappie with 417 crossing the decks........I'm also on a record pace for Bluegills but the remainder of 2014 will be very busy at work so the jury is still out........As of 8/1/2014, 3,619 gills have been caught this year on the Albemarle with 1,470 10" class fish or better......It has been a blast getting several new folks out with me to wet a line and of course our traditional Abney Family Vacation was special again this year......Here's a few pictures I put together to look back on this great season........Let's hope the rest of the year is just as good......

 All the rivers on the Albemarle have healthy populations of Black Crappie.....Anything of 13" or better is a River Slab in my opinion.....most fish are in the 10 to 12 inch class with fish up to 16" routinely caught in these waters,

99 percent of the speckled perch in these rivers are Black.......very few White Crappie in the rivers of the Albemarle......

A Solid Crappie Daily Double from Early May on the Albemarle......

Even in the heart of the Summer we find quality fish in the shallows on flooded cuypress....

May delivered as usual....

I love it when the Big Gills and Crappies are packed in together....usually occurs in early May...

Quality Coppernose dominate our brackish water rivers.....

A Classic Coppernose Daily Double....

Memorial Day weekend produced this nice pair.....

Caught in the same area a big bull shark was caught last summer....

Remember this region is only 10 miles from the Atlantic Ocean....

My nephew Dan caught his personal best gill back in June at 1 pound 12 ounces......a great fish that will probably go to Tim Overbaugh....

My Avatar picture comes from the most productive water I fish for large bluegills.......

I owe my success in this body of water to all the information I got from a man almost 90 years old....

This monarch gill comes from a location that I save every year for just 4 to 6 trips to minimize pressure and optimize the trophy gills that reside there......an amazing place to fish and I'm usually sleepless the night before......Going back there at least one more time this summer....

And finally earlier this week after work on Tuesday......I crossed paths with my best gill of 2014 and what a tribute to the waters I fish year round.....A great season and I still have five months......incredible fishing this year for sure........

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Interestingly enough, I may have misspoke about how much further the Albermarle is. I just pulled up the NCPAWS ramp map and looked at the Windsor ramp on the Cashie River; that's right at 2 hours, almost as close as Mason's Landing at the upper end of the Pamlico. Have you fished the Cashie? Recommend it?

I tend to think of Alligator River or the norther tribs as "Albermarle" and those are a bit further, but I guess the Cashie is a finger...

Yep......the Albemarle Sound is close to 90 miles east to west and the Cashie is almost at the western edge.....only the Roanoke River spills in further west. I fish Cashie a couple times a year but more so for trophy Black Crappie than gills Andy.........It is one of the few locations east of I-95 with a 10" minimum for Crappie thus it holds some slabs.....it's deeper on average than most of the other rivers supplying this estuary.....it is a very scenic location and is surrounded by hardwood lowlands south of Windsor......I will upset some of the locals but out of the twelve rivers I fish I would place it 11th with the Roanoke being 12th.......it is a beautiful place to fish with nesting bald eagles and it is probably the cottonmouth capital of North Carolina........

None of the quick shots from Raleigh are exactly secrets, either. It's a few minutes either side of 2 hours to the tide line on all 3 major rivers and everyone knows the closest spots. With kayaks, the trick is finding the creeks where parking and access is permitted but not many people know of it. In a powerboat, you can motor in to some remote spots even if you have to put in miles away. In the yak, you can get further in, back past some things that will cause bigger boats trouble, but you have to start reasonably close.

I have a few remote spots that I can do well at in numbers, but I have not found a good consistent big fish producer.

Jordan has a 10" limit on crappie and you can anchor right under the highway bridge and catch a limit of 10.0001" fish on a lot of days while you listen to the traffic and sniff the exhaust.

Despite an amazing day on the water yesterday, I'm still 202 sunfish behind my 2014 total of 5,332....but with these El Nino' conditions and Christmas break ahead I may get close to that number before the month is over........got a few weekends and a week off  for Christmas.......half to see what happens......I really didn't think it was achievable until moderate weather continued throughout November.........I've done well on Crappie again this year but a little more than a thousand behind last year's total of 4,093........We have really been fortunate to avoid a significant hurricane in the last twelve years.......the fishing is definitely been great in recent years in part due to that...........

With 64 solid gills on Saturday I just need 138 to match last year's total but with a few days off for the holidays and the mild weather at least I have a shot.........

Glad this was a banner year for you Jeffrey I'm hoping next year will be as good or even better GOOD FISHIN....

Thanks Dick........it has truly been a great run in this region......one of the most significant things is the fact that we have avoided the significant fish kills that come from big hurricanes that turn over the marsh locally......Winter is my least favorite for personal reasons but I'm still able to snag a few when I get out there........

Hi

Hey James......welcome back and Happy Holidays!

I've done the Jordan thing and it's not my cup of tea........little too busy and a lack of respect for others.........I like the more remote settings  

Got a few twists for my 2015 journal.......not sure how I'm going to present the information yet......

It's funny to look back........we had a CAT 2 hurricane brushing the Carolina coast last year during the 4th of July Weekend and I ended up getting more rain this year from a stationary front......just short of seven inches between Friday night and Sunday afternoon.......you can't make this stuff up........but the bite was fantastic despite all the rain and most of it hit at night allowing us anglers to prosper........all and all a great weekend.......

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