Fish Post

Pamlico/Neuse – July 18, 2019

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Donald, of Custom Marine Fabrication, reports that anglers have been catching good numbers of speckled trout in the lower Neuse. Soft plastics under popping corks is the go-to rig when casting along the shoreline and looking for pockets of trout staged in holes.

A few red drum are mixed in the same areas, and they’re hitting Carolina-rigged live baits and topwater plugs.

Flounder fishing has been decent, though anglers have been reporting many of the flounder being just short of keeper-size.

Striped bass fishing has been slow, with a few fish being caught around shoreline structure in the creeks and creek mouths around New Bern.

Capt. Ashley King, of Keep Castin’ Charters out of New Bern, with a striper he caught on a topwater Zara Spook while fishing the Neuse River.

Gary, of Spec Fever Guide Service, reports that speckled trout fishing is hot on the river, with trips finding large numbers of fish (some days numbering to 75+). The majority of the trout are in the 16” range, with large (up to 25”) fish mixed in. Storm soft plastics fished under corks have been the go-to rig this season, as having the ability to work long stretches of shoreline has been key in locating the smaller schools. Topwater plugs are getting action early, though the bite has been short-lived and doesn’t last long after sunrise.

A few stripers are mixed in the daily counts, more often found in areas with thick structure or docks.

Flounder fishing has been picking up, and anglers have been pleased to catch a few while working baits slowly along the bottom in these deeper holes.

Slot-sized red drum have pushed onto the flats and corresponding holes to feed on bait schools as they work their way upriver. Soft plastics worked in these areas have been most successful.

Many anglers are wondering about the citation red drum bite that can start as early as the end of July. A few fish have been caught around large bait schools, but it seems that most fish are out in the sound. With the arrival of more bait into the river, the appearance of more fish will come.


James, of Neuse River Adventures, reports that speckled trout fishing has been very strong in the lower Neuse River. Anglers casting soft plastics under popping corks along shoreline ledges are finding double-digit numbers of trout, with the early morning bite being best. There are many short fish in the area, but a move of even a few yards can make a difference in the size of fish being caught.

Legal-sized flounder are on the same ledges and grass banks as the trout, and they’re hitting soft plastics fished on 1/4 oz. jig heads.

A few small groups of bluefish are in the river feeding on bait schools that work their way in from the sound. These fish aren’t picky with baits, and they will readily hit soft plastics, casting jigs, and live baits.

Striped bass are staged around shoreline structure and creek mouths, and they’re being caught with both soft plastics and hard baits.


Jennings, of North State Guide Service, reports that red drum are starting to show in good numbers for anglers fishing Carolina-rigged baits in the lower part of the river.

Speckled trout fishing has been great. Soft plastics under popping corks have been a top producing rig, and topwater plugs are getting hit early in the day.

A few legal-sized flounder are being caught with Z-Man jerk shads along grass banks.

Black drum and sheepshead are further upriver, and they’re hitting Carolina-rigged shrimp around structure and docks.


Stephen, of Neuse River Bait and Tackle, reports that speckled trout (up to 7 lbs.) are being caught along the river banks with live mud minnows, Z-Man SwimmerZ soft plastics, and Gulp baits under popping corks. Topwater plugs have been getting great action in the mornings, with most bites coming off areas close to the bank.

Puppy drum are hitting cut mullet fished along docks and shoreline ledges.

Legal-sized flounder are falling for Z-Man soft plastics around creek mouths and on the deeper grass banks with 3’+ of water.

Anglers fishing bottom rigs with shrimp and crabs are catching black drum and sheepshead.


Richie, of East Side Bait and Tackle, reports that speckled trout are being caught from the deeper grass banks on the lower Pamlico River. Gulp and Z-Man soft plastics fished under popping corks have been successful when searching the banks for what are now small groups of fish.

Red drum are feeding on Carolina-rigged live and cut baits.

Flounder are being caught with soft plastics and live baits around wind-swept points and grass banks.


Mitchell, of FishIBX, reports that most of the saltwater bite has been focused on the lower Pamlico region, with speckled trout being the most common target. Topwater Skitterwalks and Spook Jr. plugs are getting hits from the early stages of sunrise until the sun gets too high. Starting later in the morning, the fish push into deeper holes.

Striped bass are hitting topwater plugs early when worked around the structured shorelines. Some fish are being caught upriver, but anglers are reporting the fish being scattered and mixed in with freshwater species.

A few flounder are scattered along the banks, and they’re mainly hitting lures worked along sandy bottoms.