Blair Books in Action by Angela Harwood: When the Dogwoods are Blooming, the Crappie are Biting—A Pictorial History

January 2011: Brought home copy of Fishing North Carolina.


My husband is immediately taken with the book, and I begin to feel like I’m being stalked by Mike Marsh.


Mid-January 2011: Jeff purchases an inexpensive john boat with bad rivets.

001_FirstBoatLaunch Party 002

Late January 2011: It is above 50 degrees, so we try out the new boat at Lake Brandt. We’ve known each other since we were in the 7th grade, and I’ve rarely seen Jeff so happy.


This is Jeff’s happy face.

February 2011: Jeff purchases expensive “marine wood” to make new seats for the inexpensive boat. He refuses to paint my seat pink.


March 2011: Based on information I’ve gleaned from reading Fishing North Carolina and a few of Mike Marsh’s fishing articles in North Carolina Sportsman magazine, I decide to upgrade my fishing lures. Jeff tells me I will never catch anything with my new lures.

I call this lure my red guy.


I catch this crappie with my red guy.


And this crappie . . .


Jeff snags this brehm.


August 2011: I admit that I don’t catch fish with any of these guys.


January 2012: Jeff purchases a brand-new boat with good rivets.


We both agree that the new boat feels much more like home.


April 2012:  I am now quoting Bill Dance in regular, every day conversations.

“When the dogwoods are blooming, the crappie are biting.”

“When the dogwoods are blooming, the crappie are biting.”

Well, the dogwoods are blooming, and this is my crappie.


I let Jeff hold my crappie.

June 2012: Thanks to Fishing North Carolina, we find out that Lake Higgins is open until 11 p.m. on Friday nights all summer long.


So we go night fishing.


I catch this catfish after dark. (Jeff’s catfish puts up a big fight and is probably bigger than mine, but it gets away while we are trying to get it into the boat.)


April 2013: A new season of fishing awaits! It’s not too late to purchase your own copy of Fishing North Carolina, available wherever books are sold and at



Blair Books in Action (or Fishing is Dangerous) by Heath Simpson

Heath and Fishing

One spring, I went fishing on a beautiful North Carolina urban lake. I cast out a tiny lure, meant to be food for bigger predators. Under water, something crashed into it with force. I was ready for minnows but not a shark. Fighting and swirling through the water was an armor-plated, primordial gar!

Taken from

Taken from

This fish had a mouth like an alligator. On nature programs, they always clamp the alligator’s mouth shut so I used my hand to do the same. Bad idea! The creature thrashed and sliced grooves in my palm with its razor sharp teeth. Luckily a friend’s medicine cabinet was a block away. In 20 minutes, the blood had clotted, and I went back to fishing. The gar had freed itself.

Unfortunately for me, Blair hadn’t yet published Fishing North Carolina, a fishing guide from expert Mike Marsh. Next time, I’ll be sure to reference this book.

For more fishing stories, check out Growing Gills by David Joy and Brook Trout and the Writing Life: The Intermingling of Fishing and Writing in a Novelist’s Life by Craig Nova. 

Look for another installment of Blair Books in Action next week!

Gone fishing? You should be, with Mike Marsh’s Fishing North Carolina

Fishing North Carolina, by Mike Marsh

Thanks to well-known fishing expert Mike Marsh, North Carolinians finally have a definitive guide for the entire state in one handy volume. Fishing North Carolina is the only book that covers the multitude of fishing opportunities in all of the state’s regions: mountains, Piedmont, and coastal plain. Whatever type of fishing you prefer, Fishing North Carolina has something for beginning and advanced fishermen, longtime North Carolinians, newcomers, and tourists alike. This book will tell you where to go, how to get there, what fishing regulations are in effect, the best time to fish, the best way to fish (from boat, dock, or shore), key species at each locale, and the best lures to use. Sixty detailed maps, descriptions of the fishing, and general information about the locations will help you know whether or not to expect snagged lures or an enjoyable fishing experience for the whole family.

Mike will be celebrating the release of Fishing North Carolina in Wilmington, N.C., this weekend. Join him Saturday, February 12, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, located at 850 Inspiration Drive. Pack up your fishing rods and bait; you’ll want to hit the open seas–or lakes, ponds, rivers–after speaking with him.