Pamlico/Neuse – Aug 30, 2018
Donald, of Custom Marine Fabrication, reports that striped bass have been biting well around the New Bern area. Most anglers have chosen to chase the early morning topwater bite with natural-colored Spook “walk the dog” baits.
A few flounder have been caught along the shoreline on Carolina-rigged live baits, but the flatfish action has been a little slow.
The “old” red drum bite has been decent towards the mouth of the Neuse River. The winds have made popping cork action tough, but anglers fishing the bottom with large cut baits are finding some good fish.
A few tarpon are being reported around these same shoals and on into the Pamlico.
Speckled trout fishing has been slow, but some fish can still be found around deeper holes with structure.
Gary, of Spec Fever Guide Service, reports that citation red drum fishing is great from the lower Neuse into the sound. Some large fish (to 47”) are being caught on popping cork setups with 5-6” Storm Coastal GT soft plastics. Anglers fishing cut baits on the bottom have caught a few fish, too, but with the artificial bite lasting deep into the afternoon, the reaction bite on these fish has been the preferred method.
A nice surprise of late was a tarpon caught and released on a popping cork.
Slot-sized drum can be found around shoreline structure fishing with weedless-rigged soft plastics.
Some flounder can be caught around points on the shoreline, but counts haven’t been huge.
James, of Neuse River Adventures, reports that the trophy red drum fishery is the main target this time of year, and the bite is on. Trips are seeing multiple fish hookups a day, even when battling with the recent strong winds. Finding bait around the shoals and working popping cork rigs with Z-Man soft plastics are providing up to 10-fish days.
If you need to hide from the winds, working docks can produce some slot-sized redfish and flounder.
New Bern still has a strong topwater striper bite, and the overcast days have been better.
Todd, of Neuse River Bait and Tackle, reports that citation-sized red drum have been biting well around the shoals at the mouth of the river. Anglers have been searching for schools of bait and casting large popping cork setups with a 5-6” soft plastic around the edges while looking for busting fish. This method, oddly enough, got an angler a tarpon this week.
Carolina “Lupton” rigs fished on the edges of these shoals at night has also produced some big reds. Having a lot of fresh mullet is key, as bait stealers and rays are all but expected to enjoy some of the baits as well.
Slot red drum and flounder are being caught around structure on the shoreline by anglers using Carolina-rigged live baits.
Dave, of Knee Deep Custom Charters, reports that the citation red drum action has been fair, with the difficulty of finding big baits in the river holding the larger numbers of fish back a little. Anglers are finding some big fish busting on the top, but many fish just haven’t been willing to bite as they normally would during peak season.
A run of northeast winds should push bait in and turn the bite on again.
Anglers working docks and structure along the shoreline are finding some slot-sized red and black drum while fishing with live shrimp on a Carolina rig.
Richie, of Eastside Bait and Tackle, reports that plenty of rockfish have provided anglers with topwater action on “walk the dog” baits. Fishing early and late in the day has been most productive, as to avoid the winds of the afternoon.
A few speckled trout have been caught on topwater plugs around similar structure holding the rockfish. Finding an area loaded with bait has really helped locate the more productive action.
Flounder have been biting well all the way from the creeks and rivers into the sounds. Gulp soft plastics fished on 1/4 oz. jig heads and slowly bounced along the bottom is the classic (and most productive) method. Anglers have had to weed through numbers of short fish, but boats are eventually getting their limits.
Down towards the sound, the “old” red drum bite has been picking up on Carolina-rigged cut mullet.
Mitchell, of FishIBX, reports that the citation red drum bite is where the action is at this time of year. Anglers love the excitement of popping corks fished around bait schools. Large fish (to 47”) are being found on most trips.
The topwater striped bass bite isn’t slowing down, but the heavy focus on the big reds has anglers’ minds elsewhere. Spook and Spook Jr. plugs worked along structure will provide some striper bites.