Morehead City Winter 2012-2013
Tim, of Chasin’ Tails Outdoors, reports that the speckled trout and red drum bite remains hot at the area’s rock jetties, with Cape Lookout and Fort Macon producing the most fish in recent days. Live shrimp have been the most productive baits, but they’re getting tough to find and anglers have since switched to live mud minnows, Gulp baits, and MirrOlures. Anglers should see some of the largest trout of the year while casting dark MirrOlures at night around the jetties as the water continues to cool down over December and January.
Cut shrimp fished on bottom rigs is also producing action with puppy drum, black drum, and sheepshead around the rock structures.
Anglers weighed in some fat specks caught in the surf in recent weeks (several 5-7 lbs.), but the surf bite has fallen off a bit. Some larger fish are still falling for MirrOlures in the evening hours around Oceanana Pier, however.
Inshore, there’s been a decent trout and drum bite around the “Ash Pot” across from the Morehead port wall, where MirrOlures, Gulp baits, and other soft plastics have been producing action.
The bite is still going in the marshes as well, and the Haystacks and Eastman and Bell Creek areas have been some of the best producers lately. MirrOlure MR17’s have been top choices for anglers casting in the shallower marsh waters.
Anglers are also connecting with some trout (many 18-20”) while working MirrOlures from shore around the Broad and Gales Creek bridges.
Offshore, anglers have been hooking up with some solid gag grouper around AR-285, with even better action at spots in around 100’ of water (like the 210 and 240 Rocks). Cigar minnows are producing most of the fish, and anglers have only a few weeks left to keep grouper before their season closes January 1.
Gulf Stream trollers are still connecting with wahoo and blackfin tuna while trolling ballyhoo around the Big Rock and other blue water hotspots in the area.
Not many reports of king mackerel have come in lately, but anglers often catch some of the largest fish of the year over the winter at deeper spots east of Lookout Shoals like the Atlas Tanker.
Paul, of Freeman’s Bait and Tackle, reports that the wild speckled trout bite that anglers saw around the surf zone, jetties, and marshes for nearly a month this fall has slowed down. It’s likely the recent warm spell has pushed the fish back from open water into the creeks. Some ideal weather—gradually cooling—could turn things back on in the same open water spots. However, the red-hot action happening in November is likely a thing of the past, and anglers will have to do some searching to find hungry fish.
MirrOlures, Gulp baits, and other soft plastics along with live shrimp and mud minnows have been the tickets to trout bites so far this year, and they should continue to be reliable offerings if the bite picks back up.
Thomas, of Dancin’ Outlaw Charters, reports that the wahoo bite remains good when boats make it out to Gulf Stream hotspots along the break like the Big Rock. Blackfin tuna are feeding in the same areas, and though they haven’t been as numerous as they were in the fall, the average size has been excellent lately.
The blue water action should remain similar as long as the Gulf Stream keeps water in the 68-70 degree range pushed in along the break.
Bluefin tuna haven’t shown up around Cape Lookout yet, but there’s plenty of bait out along the shoals, so anglers are hoping fervently that the giant tunas make a showing this winter. If and when they do, horse ballyhoo paired with large skirted trolling lures are the best bets to tempt them to bite.
Chris, of Mount Maker Charters, reports that anglers are finding some decent speckled trout action in the backs of shallow creeks inshore right now. Live shrimp and a variety of artificial lures will tempt bites from the specks, and they should be in the same areas for much of the winter.
The trout bite has slowed down around the Cape Lookout rock jetty, but anglers are still catching good numbers of puppy drum and some black drum there on fresh and live shrimp and artificials.
The puppy drum are feeding in the shallow water closer to shore, so higher tides may be necessary for anglers in boats to get to the fish.
Some upper slot drum were also feeding around nearshore structure like AR-315 and 320 last week and taking an interest in bucktail jigs tipped with Gulp baits.
Gulf stream trollers are still finding action with blackfin tuna and wahoo. However, the warm water edge has been offshore of the Big Rock lately, so it’s been a long run. The tuna and ‘hoos should be feeding all winter long wherever anglers can find warm water.