Pamlico/Neuse – December 13, 2018
Donald, of Custom Marine Fabrication, reports that recent runs of northeast winds have pushed the speckled trout further up the river towards New Bern. Nice fish from 16-20+” are biting soft plastics fished under a popping cork and MirrOlure suspending lures. With the colder temperatures, most fish are being caught off the main river and up in the creeks.
Stripers have been biting well around New Bern by anglers fishing around structure (and deeper holes with structure along the bottom).
Through the winter, anglers will have their focus on striped bass. Both resident and spawning fish will be caught from the creeks south of New Bern up into the Trent River and well up the Neuse. The tackle used to catch fish greatly varies this time of year, and it seems not any one method stands out. Slow trolling deep diving plugs, casting soft plastic eels on wobble head jigs at structure, and jigging bucktails around pilings all seem to catch fish.
Gary, of Spec Fever Guide Service, reports that there is a strong speckled trout bite, and it is only getting better over the next few weeks. Anglers are catching a great class of 18-23” fish while fishing with soft plastics and popping cork rigs throughout the creeks.
Striped bass are feeding well around structured shorelines towards New Bern, and they are primarily hitting soft plastic swimbaits.
As the water cools, the trout will continue to bite, and most fish will come from clearer water over dark mud in the backs of creeks. Fishing slow and having a light action rod (such as Temple Fork Outfitters) is key to feeling the subtle “tap” that is the winter trout bite.
Stripers stay active in the winter, and the river has a resident population of fish that hang around structure all months of the year.
Jordan, of Neuse River Bait and Tackle, reports that speckled trout have been biting well as they work their way up into the creeks. It has been a great class of fish that anglers are finding, with a good number being close to citation-sized.
Recently, it has helped anglers to slow down their approach as they work baits back to the boat. Casting soft plastics under a popping cork, throwing and twitching MirrOlures, and even trolling swimbaits behind the boat are all having success.
Stripers are being caught around structure along the river up to New Bern. Anglers have ben focused on some of the larger docks and fallen trees in the area, as well as structured shoreline.
All winter long, the speckled trout will continue to bite. Anglers will find the fish pushed far back into the creeks, and fishing s-l-o-w is key in getting bites. Suspending lures will be very popular over the next few months, as they allow the angler to take a lot of time retrieving the lure while staying near the middle of the water column.
Striped bass stay active in the winter, too. Anglers will find action while trolling deep diving plugs and casting soft plastics on jig heads.
Kent, of Eastside Bait and Tackle, reports that the bite in the Pamlico River has been a bit slow in its upper reaches, as the salinity levels seem to be lower than normal.
A few rockfish are being caught by anglers slow trolling Smithwick and Yo-Zuri deep diving plugs over holes with bottom structure.
Speckled trout have been further downriver in the region, with the best action coming from around Belhaven and Swanquarter. Fish have been up in the creeks and sitting in deeper holes later in the day, and then moving into the shallows on sunny days. MirrOlure MR-17s and the Yo-Zuri 3D series plugs have both been working great.
The winter fishery on the Pamlico stays active as anglers search out speckled trout, rockfish, and white perch. The trout will push far back into the creeks and be caught by anglers with patience, as working suspending plugs back to the boat at a snail’s pace is key in getting bites. On warmer days, anglers will catch fish with soft plastics such as Z-Man Trout Tricks and Down South baits.
Rockfish will stay active throughout the winter, and with the fish schooling up, trolling is often a great method for finding the fish. Once anglers find a school, casting and jigging soft plastics also catches fish.
Mitch, of FishIBX, reports that the speckled trout bite has been great in the region. A majority of fish being caught are good-sized, and though pockets of smaller “spikes” are around, the catch numbers are way up. The trout are scattered from the creek mouths all the way into the very backs of the creeks. Weather has played a factor in what depths the fish are being caught each day.
Stripers are scattered throughout the river, but they’re mostly around structure (such as docks and stumps). Soft plastics are a great search bait for the winter stripers.
Anglers fishing over the next couple months will still see plenty of action on speckled trout, with most fish being caught in the backs of creeks. Warm, sunny days may see the fish move shallow for warmth, but for the most part, they will stay suspended in deeper holes. Suspending baits and soft plastics both work well year round for trout.
Striped bass are not as affected by cold water and will stay active through the winter. The Pamlico River has an excellent bite on these fish all year, and in winter they will school up as they prepare for the spawn. Structure usually plays a strong factor in finding feeding fish.
Jeff, of Albemarle Fishing Charters, reports that striped bass have been biting well from the sound up to the mouths of the rivers. Anglers looking to cast lures are finding fish around pilings while throwing Rat-L-Trap lures. Anglers are also having success while jigging Gator and Hopkins spoons around deeper pilings in the 12’ depth region, as well as slow trolling around the bridges with 2 oz. bucktails and Stretch-20 plugs. It’s been a healthy class of 18+” fish being caught.
As winter settles in, continue to fish structure until the stripers begin to school up to feed on the push of menhaden up the sound and into the rivers. This is when anglers see the pattern switch as the fish push up the rivers with the bait. Until that time, slow trolling shorelines with structure is a great way to search for fish. Slowly dragging 3/4 oz. Rat-L-Traps and Gulp Swimming Mullets on jig heads both tend to get bites.