COLUMN: Coyote hunters flock to Albemarle

Lexington’s David Fritts and Floridian Shaw Grigsby, both members of the BASS Fishing Hall of Fame, are the headline attractions for this weekend’s Central Carolina Boat & Fishing Expo in the Greensboro Coliseum’s Special Events Center.

Show hours are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday.

Fritts is one of only two bass pros to win the “Triple Crown” or pro bass fishing: the Bassmaster Classic, BASS Angler of the Year and FLW Tour Championship. He won six national tournaments, had 20 top-10 finishes and banked more than $1.37 million.

Grigsby, from Gainesville, Florida, finished second to Fritts in the 1993 Classic on Alabama’s Lake Logan Martin. He won nine major tournaments, had 64 top-10 finishes and banked $2.37 million during a career that spanned more than 35 years.

While Fritts is regarded as one of the best crankbait fishermen ever, Grigsby did most of his damage in much-shallower water. He is one of the best ever at catching spawning bass, developing a great technique of using spinning tackle to skip light baits back into cover for bedding fish.
More than a dozen boat dealers will have their wares on display, as well as dozens of vendors offering fishing tackle and related services.

Carolina Coyote Classic sets records in 11th season

The 11th annual Carolina Coyote Classic, held Feb. 9-11 in Albemarle, set an all-time record with a three-day kill of 334 coyotes.

Team Red Lights won the Coyote Derby and $2,100 with 33 coyotes taken, also a record. Team Merciless was second with 21 songdogs, worth $1,260. The Georgia Boys was third with 19 coyotes, worth $840.

The Georgia Boys had the biggest coyote killed by entrants in the Coyote Derby with a 40.56-pound male.

Team Triggernometry won the Fat Dog Division with a 41.33-pound male, earning $790 plus prizes. Say When was second with a 41.11-pound male, winning $474 plus prizes. Battle Scarred Outdoors was third with a 40.34-pound male, worth $316 and prizes.

Team Triggernometry took the $442 prize for bagging the biggest female coyote, a 39.02-pound animal. Team Parvo Patrol won the “little female” contest with a 12.49-pound animal.

Small-game hunting seasons end next week

The end of small-game hunting in North Carolina is staring at Tarheel State hunters.

Seasons for raccoon, opossum, squirrel, rabbit, quail, grouse and bobcats all end Feb. 29, as well as trapping season.
The only season that remains open is a special, permit-only season for light geese (Blue, snow or Ross’s), which runs through March 31.

Bassmaster Classic returning to Fort Worth

The Bassmaster Classic, the “Super Bowl” of bass fishing, will be returning to Fort Worth, Texas., and Lake Ray Roberts in March 2025, it was announced last week.

Lake Ray Roberts was the site of the 2021 Classic, and it was a showcase for North Carolina bass pros. Hank Cherry of Maiden won by a narrow margin over Matt Arey of Shelby with a 3-day weight of 50 pounds, 15 ounces. The event drew 147,197 fans.

Weigh-ins will be held at Dickies Arena, and the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo that accompanies the three-day tournament will be held at the Fort Worth Convention Center.

Dan Kibler has covered the outdoors since 1985 as outdoors editor of the Winston-Salem Journal and later as managing editor of Carolina Sportsman until his retirement in 2021.