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Cape Fear, Raven Rock

Started by Onslow, September 03, 2019, 07:23:42 am

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Onslow

September 03, 2019, 07:23:42 am Last Edit: September 03, 2019, 07:29:10 am by Onslow
I wanted an overnight trip in the Piedmont or Foothills of NC over the holiday weekend.  Shuttle coordination, user friendly access points, and hopes for catching a ton of fish, all factored into the selection process.  I ended up selecting the Cape Fear because of the rumors I've heard, legal camping, boat ramps.  I regret not selecting the Ararat or the Yadkin. More on that later.

Set the alarm for 5 AM Sunday, collected myself and my son. Brian joined us for the trip as well, and we all made the 2.5 hour trip to Lillington.  Shuttle took a about 35 minutes for this 17 mile trip.

Brian had about 80 pounds of gear in his Jackson Cruise, which I might add, is one of Jackson's most versatile boats recreational SOTs.  The Coosa and Cuday simply lack internal storage, and are too damned big and heavy.  I had about 35 pounds of gear in the nose of my Disco 119. My son's yak has no internal storage, so I was carrying his gear as well as mine.
 
We put in at Buckhorn dam just before 10. Certain times of year, Buckhorn produces stripers, but after flailing for 30 minutes below the dam, we proceeded down the river.  I learned later that Buckhorn dam, and the islands between the dam and Buckhorn rapid should be a carp destination, @Fin.



Buckhorn rapid guards the river downstream. This rapid is almost as technical as Double Shoals on the New below Fries.  The rapid looks like a class I shoal in the pics, but this is a large river, and the total drop of the rapid is about 8' over 200 yds.







The area above the rapid was populated with anglers, but the water was decent there, and immediately below the rapids.  Little did we know that for the next several miles, the water rarely exceeded knee deep, and flowed over a relatively flat quartz bottom.  We did find a few pockets of deeper water near the banks, and plucked up some spots.  I caught about 7 on day one which was a very poor showing.  I was expecting about a 50/50 largemouth/spot ratio.  No largemouth were caught or seen on day one. Quite a few carp and catfish were observed, but mostly carp. The lack of largemouth was a huge disappointment.  I did manage to get a solid hit from a 30 plus inch channel cat while stripping a clouser 10' from the boat,









As we neared  Lanier Falls, about 6.5 miles in, some deeper water was encountered, but the fishing did not improve.  The deep rock bottom undercuts were probably home to some monster flatheads that keep the area thinned out.

Lanier Falls appears to be at some sort of geological collision point.  The river bottom is quartz, and the falls appears to be dam caused my molten rock.  The smooth rounded rocks would certainly create some stiff hydraulics at higher flows, but today, it made a great place for swimmers, and rock lizards.  Once again, this rapid is much stronger than what pics would indicate.





We ended up setting up shop near Fishtrap falls.  Twas a very cool spot.





Burritos were prepared.



Soaked up the surroundings briefly before calling it a day.  I slept in the open air, Caleb made a shelter, and Brian did the hammock thing.







Drinking a quart of AM coffee was much more satisfying than fishing.  The water came straight from a creek.



Some Raven Rock park pics.  Numerous grottes and outcroppings were present for about 3 miles at the park area.





The bites were slow to come Monday morning.  Once past Hecter Creek some deeper water was encountered.  Plucked a couple spots from the water, had a hit from a 17 incher, and a follow from an 18 incher.  These were very nice fish to be Kentucky Spots.  I also lost a 3 pound largemouth due to getting wrapped up in brush, one of two noticed during the whole trip. About noon, I did see one about 22" swim withing feet of the canoe.  That being said, the fishing was horrible.  The water became slack towards the end of the trip, and this moved us to paddle quite a bit. 

It is a pity the NCWRC stocked spotted bass in Avents Creek, Parker Creek, and the Upper Little River.  This stocking has ruined the bass fishing in the CF watershed down from Jordan Lake, and Moncure.  It is just a matter of time before they show up in the Deep and Haw.  Once was recently caught in Swift Creek in the Neuse watershed.  No one knows how it got there. [

















Sapperpatten

Well it looked like a good float at least.  I hit up the Neuse this weekend twice and could not pull a bass in either.  I have not ventured into the Cape Fear with my kayak yet, but have always wondered what/how the fishery is.  I have heard stories (from mainly cat fishers) of very large LMB in the Cape, but I have yet to produce... I have also hear of great carp fishing as well.  I have personally targeted Gar in the river to zero success.  I might have to hop in their this weekend and see what I come up with and compare results...pending Dorian, of course.

Also, how do you like your SoloStove?  I have one, but have yet to give it a try.


Onslow

Quote from: Sapperpatten on September 03, 2019, 08:37:34 amWell it looked like a good float at least.  I hit up the Neuse this weekend twice and could not pull a bass in either.  I have not ventured into the Cape Fear with my kayak yet, but have always wondered what/how the fishery is.  I have heard stories (from mainly cat fishers) of very large LMB in the Cape, but I have yet to produce... I have also hear of great carp fishing as well.  I have personally targeted Gar in the river to zero success.  I might have to hop in their this weekend and see what I come up with and compare results...pending Dorian, of course.

Also, how do you like your SoloStove?  I have one, but have yet to give it a try.

Compared to other rivers I've fished in the Piedmont, the bass fishing sucks here.  I noticed the gar, but they are not very large.  The Neuse below Falls is a great gar spot, as well as the float Ramseur Dam down to Hinshaw Rd. I suspect there are many gars on the lower Deep around the House at the Horseshoe area. I'd go behind the dam in late April & May at darkthirty AM, for white bass, striper, and carp water levels permitting.  It was too wet this year.

FYI, the Lillington to Erwin float is great.  Not sure about the fishing.  Lots of rapids from the midpoint onward.  Bass tend to hold in the rocks just like trout below rapids.  I've even caught them in chutes.

I enjoy cooking with the Solo Stove.  It does create soot, but I'm not priss who is revolted by soot.  My only complaint is the pot holder portion is a bit large for my coffee maker, and it can be difficult to light unless one has a long lighter.  As far as simmering goes, if you use 1/2 wide sticks once the tinder is going good, the heat from the coals will keep it hot enough to simmer for 5-10 minutes.  I've been using this stove for the last 6 months on a regular basis.


Stone-Man

Nice report and great flicks  even if the bite was off.
Speaking of spots.  Jesse Tolliver and I fished Watauga lake on Thursday and we must have caught 20 spots from 5 to 6 inches. Which leads me to think that there must have been a very prolific spawn last spring.
 Do the biologists want to get rid of the spots  ??

  JT

Onslow

Quote from: Stone-Man on September 03, 2019, 12:48:42 pmNice report and great flicks  even if the bite was off.
Speaking of spots.  Jesse Tolliver and I fished Watauga lake on Thursday and we must have caught 20 spots from 5 to 6 inches. Which leads me to think that there must have been a very prolific spawn last spring.
 Do the biologists want to get rid of the spots  ??

  JT

Spotted bass are very prolific spawners much like bluegill. I've also heard they're bad to eat eggs out of other species' nests.

Yallerhammer

It's hard to have a bad time floating a river, even if the fish aren't cooperating.

Those damn spots have been illegally stocked all over up here by idiots and tournament fishermen, and they've about ruined every good smallmouth lake around here. And the damned blueback herring that the same idiots stock with them have about ruined the walleye and white bass fishing.
Women want me, doughbellies fear me.<br /><br />Little Debbie Prostaff

Dougfish

A bad fishing day floating is better than a bad fishing day wading. IMHO.
I picked me up a faux Solo stove that I haven't tested yet. Thanks for the reminder.
"Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change? " <br />-Oddball, 1970


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