Fish Post

Southport Winter 2013-2014

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page
James Lowe, of Wilmington, with an over-slot red drum he hooked near Southport on a live finger mullet.

James Lowe, of Wilmington, with an over-slot red drum he hooked near Southport on a live finger mullet.

Tommy, of The Tackle Box, reports that anglers are connecting with some speckled trout around Southport in the creeks right now. They’ll bite live shrimp or artificial baits like Gulps, MirrOlures, and soft shrimp imitations, and the action should stay good in the creeks until the temperatures fall significantly. Even when it gets truly cold, some boat basins and other deeper, low-current areas will likely hold specks all year long.

Red drum will be feeding on the area’s flats for much of the winter as well. Targeting areas with darker mud bottoms on sunny days is the way to find the reds, which are often schooled up in big numbers. Fishing lower tides in the afternoons on the warmer winter days is generally the best bet. Gulps and other soft plastic baits or live and cut baits will fool the reds, but anglers should fish very slowly in order to entice bites in the cool water.

Offshore anglers can expect to see some king mackerel action in the vicinity of Frying Pan Tower for much of the winter, and the bite should be on as long as water temperatures remain in the high-60’s in the area. Trolling dead cigar minnows or Drone spoons around suspended bait is the best bet for the winter kings.

Tim Sawyer, of Pleasant Garden, NC, with a 1.6 lb. sea mullet he hooked near Southport while fishing with Steve Allred on the "Top Pair Top Kicker."

Tim Sawyer, of Pleasant Garden, NC, with a 1.6 lb. sea mullet he hooked near Southport while fishing with Steve Allred on the “Top Pair Top Kicker.”

Those making the run to the Gulf Stream should also have some shots at wahoo and blackfin tuna over the winter months, though the action can be inconsistent. Trolling skirted ballyhoo around blue water hotspots like the Steeples and Blackjack Hole is the way to go when anglers make it out.

John, of Dutchman Creek Bait and Tackle, reports that anglers have seen some solid speckled trout action over the past few weeks. Most of the fish have been feeding in the creeks, where anglers are fooling them with live shrimp, Gulp baits, and other soft plastics laced with Pro-Cure Super Gel scents. Anglers may be able to find the specks in the creeks for weeks to come, but eventually they’ll be moving to wintering holes like St. James Marina.

A few red and black drum are mixed in with the specks and falling for the same baits, particularly live shrimp.

Jimmy, of Wildlife Bait and Tackle, reports that anglers are finding some solid speckled trout action in the area right now, with most of the fish coming from the creeks. Dutchman, Walden, and Wildlife creeks have been the hottest spots, with some good fishing in the Lockwood Folly River as well. The specks are falling for MR17 and MR18 MirrOlures, curlytail grubs, and Gulp baits.

The action should hold up through Christmas, when many of the fish will move to the very backs of the creeks and slow down their feeding activity in the cooler water. They’ll still bite further on into the winter as well, but locating hungry fish becomes much more difficult when the chill truly sets in. The fish do tend to be concentrated in small areas over the winter, so anglers who find the fish are often in for some fast action.

Frank Tucker with a 36" gag grouper that bit spanish mackerel in 50' of water near Frying Pan Tower while he was fishing on the "Hookeyplayer."

Frank Tucker with a 36″ gag grouper that bit spanish mackerel in 50′ of water near Frying Pan Tower while he was fishing on the “Hookeyplayer.”

Undersized and slot red drum are feeding alongside the specks, and they’re falling for the same lures along with D.O.A. and Billy Bay shrimp fished under popping corks.

Wally, of Oak Island Fishing Charters, reports that anglers haven’t had many opportunities to run offshore recently, but there should be some action available over the winter when the weather is calm.

Wahoo will be scattered along the break as long as water temperatures don’t get too cold, and anglers can hook them while trolling ballyhoo paired with skirted trolling lures. Blackfin tuna are in many of the same areas and will bite ballyhoo as well, but smaller lures like cedar plugs can be even more effective.

King mackerel have moved offshore and will be looking for meals wherever they can find water temperatures in the upper-60’s and bait suspended in the water column. The area around Frying Pan Tower is typically good when the water conditions are right.