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Bass Fishing In North Carolina

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Guide to fishing for spotted, redeye, smallmouth and largemouth bass in North Carolina

By Rick Seaman

Bass fishing At Daybreak

North Carolina Bass Fishing

Bass fishing lures

Bass are one of the most sought after of all the game fish. Its appeal spans cultures, age groups and genders to tap on the heart strings of anglers everywhere. Visit the Bass Knowledge Center for additional, valuable information about bass and bass fishing. Join us in our endeavor to offer information about bass fishing on your favorite bass lake in North Carolina.

Bass fishing basics video.

Bass fishing in North Carolina is a beloved pursuit, cherished by anglers of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels. Few experiences rival the thrill of hooking into a largemouth or smallmouth bass, making it a timeless pastime that transcends cultural boundaries. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a novice angler eager to learn the ropes, mastering the art of bass fishing can be immensely rewarding. That's why this page is dedicated to offering invaluable insights and tips on bass fishing, providing a comprehensive guide on everything from bass fishing techniques to essential bass-catching strategies. Whether you're seeking advice on selecting the perfect lure or honing your casting skills, we're here to equip you with the knowledge and expertise needed to excel on the water. Dive into our wealth of information to discover the secrets of successful bass fishing and unlock the full potential of your angling endeavors.

Bass Fishing Favorites

Largemouth Bass Fishing In North Carolina

North Carolina Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass are the most abundant, and most pursued bass in North Carolina. They are available in most warm-water lakes in the state, they tend to thrive in most water conditions and grow to bragging size in relative short order. Often called big mouth bass, or wide mouth bass, they are savvy predators that feed on most things that live in their territory. Bass in the 5 to 10-pound range are common in North Carolina. The state record largemouth bass is over 15 pounds. Some notable bass fishing destinations in North Carolina include Lake Norman, Lake Waccamaw, Jordan Lake, and Falls Lake.

Finding & Catching Bigmouth Bass

Anglers can target big mouth bass in various lakes, reservoirs, and rivers. Spring and early summer are typically the best seasons for targeting largemouth bass as they are more active and feeding in the shallows near shoreline cover. Start with topwater baits, as they cover the water most efficiently. Reaction baits like crankbaits and spinnerbaits are the next choice. For finicky bass, plastic worms and jigs may entice a bite as you can move them very slowly around cover. In the heat of summer and the cold of winter bass move to deeper water, usually following the baitfish. Jigs, drop shot rigs and spoons are a good approach for bass holding in deep water. Vary your retrieve speed and action to find what the bass like today!

Smallmouth Bass In North Carolina

North Carolina Smallmouth Bass

While smallmouth bass don't grow as large as their cousin the largemouth, they make up the difference with tenacious fights. Known for long battles and spectacular jumps, smallies grow fat and strong but rarely exceed ten pounds. Their range and locations are often with or nearby the largemouths. The state record smallmouth bass is 10 pounds. These feisty fish are known for their acrobatic fights and can be found in certain rivers and streams, such as the French Broad River and the New River. Smallmouth bass prefer cooler and faster-moving water, making them a popular target for fly fishermen and those who enjoy wading in scenic mountain streams.

Spotted Bass In North Carolina

North Carolina Spotted Bass

Another bass species that adds excitement to North Carolina's fishing scene is the spotted bass. These fish have a similar appearance to largemouth bass but with distinct markings and a reputation for their aggressive nature. While not as abundant as largemouth bass, spotted bass can be found in select lakes and rivers, particularly in the western part of the state. Lake Hickory and Lake James are known for their spotted bass populations and offer exciting opportunities for anglers.

Redeye Bass In North Carolina

North Carolina Redeye Bass

North Carolina is also home to the redeye bass, a lesser-known but highly prized species among bass fishing enthusiasts. Redeye bass, also known as "black bass" or "coosa bass," can be found in certain rivers and streams in the western part of the state. They are known for their vibrant colors, feisty fights, and their preference for clear, fast-flowing water. The French Broad River and the Nantahala River are popular destinations for targeting redeye bass.

Whether you're after largemouth, smallmouth, spotted, or redeye bass, North Carolina's diverse bass fishing opportunities provide something for every angler. From the large reservoirs to the remote mountain streams, the state offers a range of fishing experiences for both novice and experienced anglers. With its beautiful scenery, abundant fish populations, and a variety of bass species to target, North Carolina is a top destination for bass fishing enthusiasts.

Fishing Boats For Rent In North Carolina

Best Bass Fishing Lakes In North Carolina

Big NC Bass
Luke Gearing age 15, caught this
nice bass in Raleigh, NC where he
teaches a fishing school.

Find fishing water in NC and chances are you found an opportunity to catch some bass. All the major lakes in North Carolina have healthy populations of bass. These lakes include Apalachia Lake, Badin Lake, Belews Lake, Blewett Falls Lake, Buckhorn Reservoir, Chatuge Lake, Cheoah Lake, Falls Lake, Fontana Lake, Graham-Mebane Lake, Harris Lake, High Rock Lake, Hiwassee Lake, Hyco Lake, Jordan Lake, Kernersville Lake, Kerr Lake, King Mountain Reservoir, Lake Benson, Lake Cammack, Lake Crabtree, Lake Gaston, Lake Glenville, Lake Hickory, Lake Higgins, Lake James, Lake Mackintosh, Lake Mattamuskeet, Lake Nantahala, Lake Norman, Lake Rhodhiss, Lake Sutton, Lake Tillery, Lake Townsend, Lake Waccamaw, Lake Wheeler, Lake Wylie, Mayo Reservoir, Mountain Island Lake, Moss Lake, Phelps Lake, Randleman Lake, Roanoke Rapids Lake, Salem Lake, Santeetlah Lake, Shearon Harris Reservoir, Tar River Reservoir and W Kerr Scott Reservoir.

Bass in North Carolina

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass

World record: 22 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 15 lbs 14 oz

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass

World record: 11 lbs 15 oz

State Record: 10 lbs 0 oz

Spotted Bass

Spotted bass

World record: 9 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 6 lbs 5 oz

Redeye Bass

Redeye bass

World record: 8 lbs 12 oz

State Record: 1 lbs 14 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

Top 5 bass fishing lures for North Carolina this year

When bass are shallow, spinnerbaits, crankbaits and top water lures are the most productive. As they move deeper, worms and jigs are among the top producers.

The state record largemouth bass was taken from a private pond.

The state record smallmouth bass came form Hiwassee Reservoir.

The state record spotted bass came from Lake Norman.

North Carolina Bass Caught by Joshua Lyalls

Joshua Lyalls caught this 8 lb, 8 oz bass from West Kerr Lake in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

Catch big bass!

Bass fishing book



Bass fishing information by state.

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The lifecycle of bass

The more you know about the seasonal migration of bass, the more likely you are to be looking in the right area next time you visit North Carolina bass fishing lakes. Visit the bass fishing page for more in-depth information about bass activities.