Pamlico – May 10, 2018
Donald, of Custom Marine Fabrication, reports that topwater fishing for striped bass has been the main target for area anglers. Walk-the-dog style baits are getting these schools to bite early in the mornings and at last light. Mid-day, anglers have switched their methods to target the deeper holes with artificial eels on wobblehead jigs and rattletraps.
Some flounder are being reported by anglers fishing live mud minnows on a Carolina rig. Using the lightest possible weight to hold bottom has kept anglers from spooking these fish in swallower waters.
A few red drum are being caught on live mud minnows around docks in the Oriental area.
Gary, of Spec Fever Guide Service, reports that speckled trout fishing has been great in the lower Neuse River. Good-sized fish have been hitting weedless, rigged soft plastics very well. Topwater baits have produced some bites, but artificial lures such as the Storm Coastal 360 GT has been the main producer on trips. The trout have been hanging in structured grass lines along the main river shoreline.
Red drum have been feeding on the roaming schools of bait in the main river. Carolina rigs with cut bait have gotten bites, but a weedless jig allows anglers to work a stretch of river quicker in search of the schools.
Upriver, the stripers continue to bite soft plastic baits fished on 1/4 oz. jig heads. A good number of these fish are in the 18-24” range, and with the forecasted northeast winds, anglers anticipate the schools to head downriver.
James, of Neuse River Adventures, reports that stripers are biting in the New Bern area. The fish have held tight to structure and don’t tend to scatter much with the changing conditions. Deep holes around docks and felled trees are a great spot to start looking for the fish. The topwater action on these fish has begun to pick up, and the fish moving from upriver should provide anglers with great early-morning action. Heddon Super Spook Jr. and MirrOlure Top Dogs have a great “walking” action that gets these feeding stripers crazy.
Scattered speckled trout are biting in the area’s creeks around grass edges and drop-offs.
Todd, of Neuse River Bait and Tackle, reports that the warm weather and high winds have had fish moving all around the river in a spring transition. This has especially scattered the speckled trout. The trout are moving out of their winter creek homes and feeding on ledges in the creek mouths and main river. Topwater “walk the dog” style baits (such as MirrOlure She Dogs and Rapala Skitterwalks) have worked very well in the mornings before the wind picks up. Around mid-day, anglers are getting production out of Z-Man Trout Tricks and MinnowZ soft plastics.
With the rising water temperatures, more slot-sized red drum have moved into the area. Fishing Carolina-rigged live mud minnows and finger mullet are both working extremely well. Oval style popping corks with artificial shrimp are getting bites from anglers not patient enough for the “bait and wait” style of fishing. The key with reds recently is finding the bait, as the schools have held close to their natural forage. Kayak anglers fishing structured areas close to local ramps have done very well on finding these schools of drum. The kayakers tend to not scatter the bait when approaching their targeted spot.
Flounder are being reported in the main river around grass pockets and drop-offs on shallower (less than 6’) banks. Fishing a chartreuse-colored 4-5” Gulp jerk shad rigged weedless or on a 1/4 oz. jig head has produced a good number of fish.
Stripers are being caught on cut bait and soft plastics upriver around Smithfield and Goldsboro. As the spawn comes to a close, these fish are going to push down river and feed heavily along the way.
Ken, of Eastside Bait and Tackle, reports that speckled trout have been biting well on the river and in local creeks. Fishing the mid-water column with suspending lures (such as the MirrOlure MR17) around grassy areas is getting the best action.
Good numbers of lower-slot puppy drum have begun to run out of the creeks into the main river. Anglers fishing blue glimmer-colored Z-Man MinnowZ on 1/8-1/4 oz. jig heads are having the best success. The fish have been hanging low around drop-offs and ledges with structure.
A few flounder are being caught on ledges as well, and they prefer Gulp Mullet soft plastics on the heavier 1/4 oz. jig heads dragged slowly along the bottom.
Large numbers of 14-22” rockfish are being caught along the river banks. Fishing Super Spook Jr. and Rapala Skitterwalk topwater baits early in the mornings is providing anglers a great reaction bite. Once the sun gets higher, the fish have tended to move down in the water column and are being caught on soft plastics.
Mitchell, of FishIBX, reports that striped bass fishing in the rivers has been excellent. Triple digit fish days on keeper and over-slot fish have been very common, with bites coming from both Carolina-rigged cut baits and soft plastics. Z-Man jerk shads rigged weedless has helped anglers from losing tackle to the dense structure the stripers hold up against.
The schools in the Pamlico River have been providing anglers with great topwater action that should only get better as the water temperature continues to climb.