Pamlico/Neuse – March 21, 2019
Donald, of Custom Marine Fabrication, reports that striped bass fishing has been good as the fish follow the shad running up river. The stripers have been feeding hard on the bait in the area, but local anglers are finding the best action on artificial lures that mimic the shad. Rat-L-Traps and soft plastic eels on wobble head jigs both work great. Z-Man soft plastic swim baits on heavier 3/8 to 1/2 oz. jig heads also work well when targeting the fish that are hanging a bit deeper. Finding the fish has been very weather dependent, with streaks of warmer weather having the fish up on the shorelines around structure. Once a quick cold front hits, the schools have pushed a bit deeper and more towards the center of the river. Anglers should look forward to a warming weather trend keeping the fish on the banks where the topwater bite will pick up.
Speckled trout are being caught downriver. Though not a bunch of keepers are being reported, it’s a good sign of fish after our mild winter. MirrOlure MR-17s and popping cork rigs fished slowly in the mid-water column has been working well for anglers looking in the creeks for action.
James, of Neuse River Adventures, reports that stripers have been feeding well in the upper Neuse as they head upriver to spawn. The fish are holding on the deeper ledges and shoreline structure, and they are falling for baits that mimic shad in the area. Z-Man soft plastic swimbaits work well, keeping in mind to stay close to the bottom.
Speckled trout and puppy drum are being reported back in the creeks south of New Bern. There are stripers mixed in as well. Z-Man soft plastics have produced well in these areas and are great when paired with Z-Man Trout Eye jig heads to make the setup more realistic.
As the water warms up over the next few weeks, the fish will get more active, and topwater fishing around New Bern with walk-the-dog style plugs will be the game for local anglers.
Gary, of Spec Fever Guide Service, reports that there is a great speckled trout bite, and it will only get better over the next few weeks. Anglers are catching near triple digit numbers of smaller spike trout as they become more active in the areas creeks. Some pockets of larger, 20” class trout are mixed in, with around a 10 to 1 spike to keeper ratio.
Popping corks and Storm Coastal GT soft plastics worked slowly back in the creeks have both been producing well. Look for the fish to move up onto dark, muddy shorelines on sunny days, and with the temperatures starting to warm, these fish will only get more active.
Striper fishing has been good in the area above New Bern. Anglers are finding fish around deep ledges and river bends that break up the current. As of recent, the water temperature dropped (from flow upstream), and water levels are very high, too. This has made staying on a consistent bite tough, but some stable weather should straighten conditions up.
Steven, of Neuse River Bait and Tackle, reports that rockfish have been biting very well as they head upriver past New Bern. New regulation changes have anglers wary of targeting them, but there are quite a few reports of good-sized fish to be caught and released.
Speckled trout are being caught in good numbers as they work their way out of creeks on the lower Neuse. Many fish are “just short,” but the legal-sized ones are mixed in pretty well. Anglers are having luck while fishing 3-4” soft plastic paddletail baits under popping corks.
In the coming weeks, fishing topwater baits will only get more productive, and lures such as Super Spooks and Spook Jrs are popular every year.
Jennings, of North State Guide Service, reports that the speckled trout bite will continue to be strong in creeks on both the upper and lower Neuse River. The fish made it through winter without a cold stun event, and the early spring numbers show. Z-Man and D.O.A. soft plastics have been out-producing hard baits (such as MirrOlures) as far as quantity of fish. There is plenty of bait holding in the creeks, and bait fishermen are having no problem filling the tank for the day.
Slot red drum have been feeding well at the creek mouths. Anglers fishing Carolina-rigged fresh shrimp and cut bait are getting good number of bites.
Stripers have been biting very well up the Neuse River, and they are a good class of strong, quality fish. Anglers are experiencing fun catch and release fishing, and with so many fish around, anglers are having no problems finding action—a trout or puppy drum for the table is not difficult to find while striper fishing.
Richie, of East Side Bait and Tackle, reports that the area has been slow with recent weather fluctuations, but rockfish are still chewing. Anglers are finding most of the fish around shoreline structure and ledges off the river bank.
Smaller speckled trout are being caught in the creeks downriver on soft plastics and suspending MirrOlure baits.
Mitch, of FishIBX, reports that striper season on the Roanoke River is in full swing, and anglers are finding good numbers of healthy fish. The waters have been high all year due to upstream flow rates, but anglers are making quick adjustments and locating breaks in the current to find the schools working their way upstream. Yee Ha soft plastic swimbaits on 3/8 to 1/2 oz. jig heads are producing well, and color has not been much of a factor.
In the next few weeks, with the water warming, topwater plugs will begin producing fish, and anglers sticking to soft plastics will find speeding up their retrieve to be beneficial.