Fish Post

Pamlico – May 24, 2018

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Donald, of Custom Marine Fabrication, reports that the strong winds have put a damper on anglers searching for the topwater striped bass bite, but working creek mouths and structure around the river banks have worked well on the calmer mornings. Rapala Skitterwalk and Heddon Super Spook topwater plugs always tend to produce for local anglers.

Speckled trout have remained in the area as well, with most fish still in the middle area of the water column. Water temperatures have fish moving out of the creeks and into the river around ledges and structure.

A few flounder are being reported by anglers fishing Carolina rigs with live mud minnows.

Puppy drum are being caught downriver on Carolina-rigged cut baits fished on the edges of flats, along the banks, and back into the creeks.

There have been reports of citation drum in the lower river as the fish move in from the ocean, but the numbers haven’t been enough to specifically target them yet.


Gary, of Spec Fever Guide Service, reports that speckled trout are biting well in the creeks around Oriental. Topwater plugs have been working well early in the day before the winds have picked up, but Storm Coastal 360 GT soft plastics rigged weed less are still producing most bites.

Red drum are biting around docks and other structure on the shoreline of the main river. Soft plastics rigged weed less are working great and have allowed anglers to work large areas without the snags that come with fishing the Neuse.

Some “old” red drum are starting to show up on the river. Fishing popping corks with a 4” Storm Coastal GT shrimp has picked up a few bites on these special fish.

Striped bass are hitting topwater baits around structure all over the river. Finding the bait has really been key in helping anglers searching for the stripers.

Bluefish are always a bonus species for the area, and they provide great reaction bites for angers fishing artificials.


James, of Neuse River Adventures, reports that topwater fishing for striped bass has been good around New Bern. Some of the spawning fish have started coming downriver and are following schools of bait. Drop-offs around the creek mouths and structure have concentrated some of these schools. On days when the weather doesn’t cooperate for topwaters, fishing Z-Man soft plastics on 1/8 oz. jig heads has worked when searching for fish.

Speckled trout are biting around grass beds and fallen structure along the shoreline. Casting a popping cork with Vudu shrimp has been working great.

The redfish bite has really picked up with all the bait moving into the area. Using Z-Man MinnowZ rigged weed less or with a small weight has found results.


Robert Strickland, of Fuquay-Varina, with a 27.5″ striper that fell for a Zara Spook Jr. near New Bern. He was fishing with Capt. Kevin Dewar of Three D Charters.


Todd, of Neuse River Bait and Tackle, reports that fishing on the Neuse River has started to improve with days of little wind and higher water temps. Topwater fishing has been good with water temperatures holding consistently around 70-75 during the day and dropping to 66-69 at night.

Stripers are committing to “walk the dog” style lures such as MirrOlure Top Pups and Heddon Super Spook Jrs. Fishing structure—such as stump beds, layovers, and docks in 6′ or less water with a good consistency of baitfish—has produced a majority of the fish.

The bite has really been focused around the “gray light” right before sunrise when anglers have needed to use their ears to listen for fish feeding even before they can see them. On overcast days, the bite has lasted a bit longer into the late mornings.

Good numbers of redfish are showing up on the lower end of the Neuse, but most of them are still back in the creeks. Fishing weed less soft plastics works great as there is a lot of grass in the creeks, but the grass usually thins out around the creek mouths. Utilizing a cigar or oval style popping cork has helped anglers to stay out of the grass.

The river has started to produce a few citation-sized red drum (to 51”) on topwaters and popping corks. It is still early to see the big push of reds that comes later in the summer, but it’s a good sign to see some caught early.

A few flounder are being caught around the creek mouths and ledges in the main river. Storm Coastal GT lures have been working great on the main river, along with Gulp shrimp and Z-Man PaddlerZ. Anglers have been making sure to hold as much bottom contact as possible.

Anglers are still catching plenty of speckled trout on shorelines of the lower Neuse. Cigar style popping corks with a 24” leader and Vudu shrimp or DOA shrimp works really good to trigger a bite. MirrOlure MR17s are also a hot ticket item for most anglers trying to catch trout.


Richie, of Eastside Bait and Tackle, reports that speckled trout have been the main target of anglers recently. Casting MirrOlure MR17 suspending lures in the creek mouths has been working well in finding bites. The sunny days are still bringing a few fish to the surface, but the inconsistent weather hasn’t allowed anglers to target that topwater bite.

Good numbers of rockfish are being caught upriver along the banks. The topwater bite is what anglers have been looking for, and fishing Super Spook Jr. or similar topwater plugs on the calmer days are providing a few bites. Some fish are being caught with Z-Man soft plastic jigs in the main river drop-offs and creek mouths.

A few puppy drum are being caught in the flats along the main river. The bite hasn’t been consistent, but anglers fishing Carolina-rigged baits have had the most success.

Some flounder are being reported, but with the weather, not a lot of anglers have been targeting the flatfish. Look for the flounder to be on ledges and use 1/4 oz. jig heads paired with 4-5” swim baits.


Mitchell, of FishIBX, reports that striped bass fishing in the rivers continues to be phenomenal. The Roanoke River is loaded with fish all the way through, with anglers finding it hard to make a stop and not get a bite. Swim baits and jigs have both produced equally well on these schools.

The Pamlico River stripers are in a post-spawn mode, with fish beginning to push back down the river. These schools are working the baitfish along the banks as they go, which has allowed anglers to have great fishing with topwater plugs. Storm Chug Bugs and Heddon Spooks are both a local favorite and allow for anglers to quickly “search” for the feeding fish.