Fish Post

Pamlico – March 22, 2018

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Richard, of Eastside Bait and Tackle, reports that the main focus recently is on stripers. With the colder water temperatures, the fish are sticking close to structure, with a majority still being in deeper water. These are a fun class of 18-22” fish, and jigging Stingsilvers or casting Gulp mullet on 3/8 oz. jig heads both work well.

The stripers will continue to bite well on the Pamlico going into spring, as the fish transition to moving towards the banks. When the weather turns for the better, they will start to hit topwater baits such as Super Spooks and Spook Jrs.

A few shad are being caught in the river. Shad darts and 2” grubs are all you need for some action on these fish. Those looking to fly fish can break out small flies.

Speckled trout are in the creeks all the way out to the main river. Fishing suspending MirrOlure MR17s and Gulp soft plastics on lighter 1/8 oz. jig heads will do the trick.


Todd, of Neuse River Bait and Tackle, reports that shad have been the talk around the shop recently. They are being seen in great numbers, and this year has been one of the better ones they have seen in a while. Anglers are finding shad up the Neuse where it begins to narrow, even in the feeder creeks when the fish happen to “wander” off their track. Using small shad rigs and small grubs are working well to get bites.

There are good numbers of striped bass mixed in with the shad. Using chunks of cut shad on bottom rigs or soft plastics around the main river’s ledges will entice these fish. The feeder creek mouths that have good structure are also holding fish.

A bunch of the local striped bass are still being caught by anglers trolling the main river, but the action has moved towards soft plastics. Use Z-Man MinnowZ fished deep around structure (such as dock pilings, rocks, and stumps) on 1/4 oz. jig heads. On the days after warmer weather, look for the striped bass to be hitting topwater baits around the same structure.

There are still a lot of trout out in the Neuse. All the deep water holes the river has, paired with the cold water that was already in place before the big freeze event of the winter, prepared the trout to save themselves. Look in the main river for the trout using popping corks matched with 1/4 oz. Z-Man Trout EyeZ jig heads and a Gulp or Z-Man soft plastic. These are good-sized fish (in the 20” range), and anglers are reporting being able to find 30-40 fish in a day. Some trout are even hitting topwater baits intended for a striped bass.

Kent Thompson, of Graham, NC, with a 5.04 lb. citation speckled trout caught in the Neuse River using a Zoom Super Fluke on a 1/4 oz. jig head. The fish was weighed in at Chasin’ Tails in Atlantic Beach.


Mitchell, of FishIBX, reports that the shad run is going strong. Last week the shad were showing in good numbers, and the upcoming weeks should bring through more of the masses as the water temperatures continue to climb. These little fish always put up a great fight on lighter tackle, and for many anglers they signal the beginning of spring in eastern North Carolina.

The striped bass bite has been consistent on the Pamlico River, with good-sized fish holding tight to structure.

The Roanoke River striped bass bite has been hot as well, but there are a lot of short fish around. In the next couple weeks, anglers will be seeing the larger class of fish move through.


James, of Neuse River Adventures, reports that fishing has turned strong after the cold winter we had. Recent activity includes a good mix of striped bass, trout, largemouth bass, and red drum on any given cast. The action is focused in the main river, and looking for ledges and structure are key in finding fish.

The water temperatures as of recent have been swinging so much based on weather that anglers have to be flexible in their approach. One day, a Bomber or Heddon Super Spook topwater fished tight to structure is getting the fish active. The next couple days, a jig or soft plastic is the only way to get a bite. A safe bet is to start with the presentation of a Z-Man Trout EyeZ jig paired with Z-Man MinnowZ or PaddlerZ soft plastic. Fast action rod tips are a big factor in feeling a subtle bite on the colder days.

Hunter Martin and his father Snookie, of Richlands, with a couple of stripers caught on the Neuse while using Rapala X-Raps. They were fishing with Capt. Ashley King of Keep Castin’ Charters.


Dave, of Knee Deep Custom Charters, reports that spring may be appearing, but the wind has been dominating the weather. Low water conditions on the lower Neuse River have made fishing tough. Anglers getting out will find stripers around docks, rocks, and similar structure. Topwater action has been a blast, with the Storm Cover Pop proving to work exceptionally well on the rockfish.

If topwater fails, throwing a DOA Sna-Koil or TerrorEyz for subsurface action can produce bites. Muddy water has been present a lot recently, and using DOA jerk shads in candy corn color has proven to produce bites.

Trout are also showing a survival from the freeze, with good size and numbers being caught. Throwing a hard plastic suspending bait or a DOA Deadly Combo Shrimp should produce action.

When water temps get in the regular spring mode, we will see a major improvement in fishing activity. Having 62 degree water a few weeks ago and now 47 degrees throws off their patterns.