Pamlico/Neuse – October 11, 2018
Donald, of Custom Marine Fabrication, reports that striped bass have been actively feeding, but the foul water and lack of usable boat ramps has made access difficult. Anglers getting on the water should continue to search for bait working along shoreline structure. Early mornings can still provide some topwater action on walk-the-dog plugs. For anglers using soft plastics, adding scent has been key in getting more action in the heavily tannic water.
The citation drum bite continues to be strong downriver. Most people anticipated the storm pushing the fish out, but with multiple double-digit fish days, it’s looking like the bite is still on. Popping corks with large paddletails fished with 1/2 oz. jig heads is a standard rig for these big fish.
As the water cleans up, anglers should also expect to see the speckled trout bite pick up.
Gary, of Spec Fever Guide Service, reports that the citation red drum bite is still going strong and there is no sign of slowing down in sight. Many anglers expected to see large bodies of “dead” water and bait after the storm, and neither have seemed true in the lower Neuse. The classic popping cork setup is still producing some double digit fish days. Storm Coastal GT 360 soft plastics fished under the larger corks have been the hot ticket this year.
Slot-sized red drum are around shoreline structure and docks. Carolina-rigged live baits work well for this type of fishing, as well as weedless-rigged soft plastics.
Good numbers of speckled trout are being reported around creek mouths. Smaller popping cork rigs work great for these fish as they begin their pattern of moving back into the creeks.
Stripers have been found early on topwater plugs around schools of bait along the shoreline.
Some good reports of flounder have come from as far upriver as New Bern. The bite up there seems to have affected the freshwater fish with all the brackish water, but saltwater species have been just fine.
James, of Neuse River Adventures, reports that the area around New Bern is still recovering from the storm. A lot of really dirty, brackish water is in the area, and the bait that stayed has been scattered.
Anglers should anticipate seeing the striped bass bite return as the water begins to balance back out. The topwater action should then be strong as the water stays warm deep into the fall.
Speckled trout should start showing up in the area, and they will be found around some of the drop-offs off the river shoreline. This year may see the bite begin a little further downriver with the mass influx of freshwater upstream.
As with any time of year, lathering up baits with Pro-Cure scents will help in getting bites from some of these skittish fish.
Todd, of Neuse River Bait and Tackle, reports that the “old” red drum bite in the lower Neuse has been good. Popping cork rigs fished around the shoals has produced bites from sunrise into the afternoon. Not as much debris has been encountered as expected, and the bait seems to have stuck around.
Puppy drum have been caught around docks and natural shoreline structure on soft plastics and Carolina-rigged live mullet.
The flounder have been stacked up on the shoreline as well. Some larger fish (to 4.5 lbs.) have been feeding on all the bait pushed up into the shallows.
One thing the storm has seemed to turn on is the speckled trout bite. There have been anglers catching upwards of 40 trout in 2 hours, with a decent number of fish creeping into the 19-20” range. Topwater plugs have worked early on the shallow flats just outside the creeks. As the day has worn on, anglers have found more success by moving off the shoreline and working areas in the 3-6’ range with popping corks and MirrOlures. The slow and steady retrieve has seemed to be key for these fish at all hours of the day.
Upriver, anglers are reporting a lot of dead water around New Bern and especially into the Trent River. Expect that fishery to be a bit touch and go in coming weeks as the waters work their way into balancing out.
Richie, of Eastside Bait and Tackle, reports that stripers have still been feeding around shoreline structure, and anglers looking for the topwater bite have found action early in the mornings.
Good reports of flounder are coming from areas around the Pungo by anglers Carolina-rigging live baits and slowly bouncing soft plastics along the bottom.
Some speckled trout are beginning to show up around shoreline drop-offs and structure. A lot of short fish are being reported with this first wave, but it’s good to see these early signs of action. Popping corks with soft plastics have been a good setup for the trout.
Mitchell, of FishIBX, reports that citation red drum continue to feed well from the lower end of the river into the sound. Some monster fish (to 47”) are still loving the action of the classic popping cork setup. The bite seems to have taken no steps back, as the fish continue to feed well into the afternoon on most days.
Anglers are still focused on fishing the drop-offs around the shoals. Locating bait has been really helpful in finding productive areas, and all the extra freshwater upstream has seemed to have pushed even more bait into the area. Expect this bite to continue on into the coming weeks as the weather steadies.