I recently retired from the Silicon Valley rat race and am now a grampa in-residence at my son's house in Harnett County. My son is a firefighter at Fort Bragg and works 24 hour shifts. My daughter-in-law grew up here and I am taking over day care duties while she completes her nursing degree. Both my grandkids love to fish so I'm getting ready to get them out on the water.
I just finished an all day float from a private launch 12 miles upstream of Lillington (no kids on this recon) and hooked a nice Blue Catfish near Raven Rock. My flatback canoe got hung up in a few spots, but it was easy to hop out of the boat and line it on to deeper water. I'm really glad I didn't bring the outboard as it would have been useless ballast along that stretch of river. I am very disappointed in the lack of canoe access in my area. I'm going to run from Lillington to Erwin to recon that stretch, but it already looks too rough for a four year old. What to do? I was so excited to be close to a good fishing river and I've got the kids all pumped up too.
There are some pay lakes in the Lillington area as well. I can try to find out where. You also are not all that far from Shearon Harris lake. There are also Fort Bragg lakes and fishing areas. Little River comes to mind at Bragg or you could go to Fayetteville and launch on a nice stretch of the Cape Fear.
Thank you all for the warm welcome and tips on local fishing. Right after I posted my intro, my dog got real sick and ended up in ICU at the NC State Veterinary Hospital. They saved his life, but it cost me a whole lot of time and money. I'll be contacting individuals for more information on Avents Ferry, Little River and the Cape Fear near Fayetteville. All sound like good possibilities that would allow me to go out with the little ones. My granddaughter is 8 yr old and has no problem managing the front seat on lakes. However, my personal passion is targeting Blue Cats near Raven Rock. Best tasting catfish I've ever eaten! Getting there is challenging, but good fishing, scenic beauty and getting buzzed by a bald eagle hooked me but good.
Since my last post, I went back to Raven Rock twice launching from Cape Fear River Adventures next to Howard's BBQ. The first trip took too long to motor up river and required several out of boat episodes to drag the canoe over rocks and rapids. Since then, I've upgraded to a bigger electric paddle and invested in a pair of hip waders. I'm getting to know the river better and am still searching for depth charts and aerial photos taken during low water conditions. I've rigged the Minn Kota to strap down the tilt release so it can bounce over rocks. With a block added to the transom to brace the shaft at vertical, it works well and I can also lock the shaft at dead ahead and steer with a paddle. I'm hoping to find a route that will allow me to solo a smaller boat up river and drift back. Since all my fishing buddies work and can't go out during the week, I'm saving money for a solo flatback canoe or something similar. Yesterday, I heard mention of a float tube contraption with foot rests which is intriguing because it allegedly fits in a backpack. Bottom line, my 3 man flatback canoe is too big for me to solo on my favorite stretch of river and an old back injury rules out kayaks.