Shallow Water Fishing on the Tar River

Shallow Water Fishing on the Tar River

The dog days of summer have arrived and the rivers that were once flowing rapidly have slowed to a trickle it seems. The floating docks now rest on the hard, dried ground and many boat ramps cannot be used by larger boats. This is the time when small aluminum jon boats, canoes, and kayaks reign supreme.

The Tar River is known for it’s low water levels during the summer months but it’s not the only river that can be waded across or fished on smaller rigs. The conditions were perfect last weekend so my father, brother, my nephew, and I decided to hit the water and see what we could do. We put in two small boats and began our drift downstream. The water was incredibly clear and many fish were spotted causally drifting under our boat. In some places the boat bottomed out and a push or two with a paddle was required. However, just because you can see the sandy bottom of the river doesn’t mean great fishing cannot be found there.

Our setup was simple. A few ultra lite road and reels, some crickets with a long shank #6 hook, and a bobber. It didn’t take long to find a deep hole, relatively speaking. Many species of fish tend to find gravitate to these pockets of deeper water and with a live cricket, you never know what you will catch. It’s a simplistic, yet incredibly effective, way of fishing. Before 9:00 am we had caught our fair share of bream, shell cracker, a few bass, and crappie or two. We even put a few of the larger fish on a stringer so we could fry them that afternoon, per my nephew’s request. We had such as good time that I slipped away one evening this pat week with my wife and we nearly repeated the success we had a few days prior.

Great fishing can be found across our great state, and this time of year most of the attention is on the offshore fishing which is astounding. However, don’t forget about these overlooked honey holes where there is great fishing to be found with simple setups. There is something satisfying about catching slab sized panfish all morning from a canoe that I’m certain I’ll never stop enjoying.

Andrew Walters