Pamlico – April 12, 2018
Richard, of Eastside Bait and Tackle, reports that striper fishing has been decent, though most fish have been caught well up the Tar River. Anglers are catching the stripers while trolling Rapala deep diving plugs in water depths of 10-18’. Fishing soft plastics like Z-Man PaddlerZ in white or shiner colors on 1/4 oz. jig heads are producing the most bites.
When fishing the artificial baits, targeting stumps and other structure near the bottom is key. On the warmer days (that have seemed far and few between this spring), look for stripers along the shoreline. Working these grass edges and creek mouths with Spook and Spook Jr. topwater baits makes for good fun (if the fish are cooperating). Most stripers caught have been in the 14-18” class, but there are larger fish around.
Some speckled trout are being caught and released by anglers fishing MirrOlure MR17s and MirrOdines in broken glass color. The trout are mostly still in the creeks, and they’re staging anywhere from the mouths all the way back to the black mud of the shallows.
Todd, of Neuse River Bait and Tackle, reports that the speckled trout bite in the area has been strong. Even though the wind has kept anglers off the river on some days, the nicer weather days make up for it.
Trout in the 14-22” range are being caught in most of the creeks and around shoreline structure of the Neuse River. Soft plastics fished on a jig head, such as Z-Man PaddlerZ and Gulp mullet in white and electric chicken colors, are working well. The same soft plastics can be fished under a popping cork with a 14-17” leader for a different look, and topwater “walk the dog” style baits are still getting bites on the warmer days. Keep in mind that with all the changes in weather, being flexible in your methods will provide the chance of more hookups.
Some slot-sized puppy drum have shown up in the area. The red drum are being found in good numbers not usually seen this early in the season, and they’re taking baits that anglers are fishing for other species.
Striped bass are still one of the main targeted species this time of year. Even though the spawn has a majority of the fish well up river, there is still a resident population of stripers in the New Bern area. These fish can be anything from the “schoolie” sized 14” fish to overslots in the 27-29” range. The stripers are mainly holding in the creeks and along creek mouths throughout the region.
Fishing artificial eels on wobble head jigs and jerk shad soft plastics rigged weedless will both work well in producing striper bites. Recent reports seem to suggest going with a larger swimbait (5-6”). These resident fish tend to hold tight to structure, and on warm days they run up and down the shorelines following the schools of bait.
Water temps in the river have been anywhere between the mid 50s to low 60s (on days with less wind).
Gary, of Spec Fever Guide Service, reports that good numbers of trout are being seen in all the creeks from Oriental up through New Bern. These fish are holding over darker bottom, shallow waters (under 4’ deep). The trout have varied in size from 13-20,” and even some bigger fish are mixed in. Storm Coastal 360 soft plastics rigged weedless are working great. White is always a color that produces fish in the region, but gold and gold metal flake have also generated a good share of bites.
A few red drum are being caught in the same creeks as the trout. Fishing weedless soft plastics has worked, but taking a soft plastic shrimp and fishing it under a popping cork has also produced bites.
In addition to the typical target species, area anglers have also hooked up with some bluefish and gray trout. Both species are falling for soft plastics.
Dave, of Knee Deep Custom Charters, reports that speckled trout fishing has been improving daily on the Neuse River and its feeder creeks. Seeing that some quality fish survived this crazy winter is encouraging for the season ahead.
The trout have been mainly in creeks, as they’re still clinging to the warmer water. They have been hungry, and feeding them a D.O.A. Deadly Combo Shrimp either up on the shore or out in middle will entice bites. When fishing this setup, snap a few twitches of the rod to make the noise, and then let the bait sit. Repeat this formula until the cork takes off.
The red drum bite has been mixed in with trout and stripers. The reds are mostly in areas of heavy structure, and rigging up a D.O.A. weedless hook with a 4” jerk shad can drag them out without getting snagged.
Striped bass are still being caught in the river, and they’re falling for the same D.O.A. jerk shads fished tight to structure. Striper season will be over at the end of month, so be sure to switch over to catch and release at that time (if you haven’t already).