Fish Post

Pamlico/Neuse – September 12, 2019

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Donald, of Custom Marine Fabrication, reports that citation red drum fishing has been good from the river out into the sound. Many anglers have had success while targeting the fish at night with Lupton rigs and fresh cut mullet. Popping corks matched with large soft plastics has been producing fish as well, though winds make the artificial bite difficult.

Speckled trout are still being reported along the banks for anglers fishing smaller popping cork rigs with 4” Gulp soft plastics.

Puppy drum are in the mix, though the numbers have not been the greatest.

Liam Calabria (age 11) with a 41″ red drum that fell for Carolina-rigged cut mullet. He was fishing near Oriental with his father Anthony and friends Jason and Jacob Johnson.

Gary, of Spec Fever Guide Service, reports that citation red drum fishing has been continuing. Anglers are working bait balls around shoals in 4-12’ of water. Keeping the boat quiet and moving on drift or trolling motor has helped keep bite numbers up, as these large fish have been sensitive to noise throwing them off their patterns. Popping cork rigs have been the most productive setups when matched with 5” soft plastics and heavy class Temple Fork rods.

Speckled trout and puppy drum are mixed in smaller groups along the shorelines. Popping cork rigs and Storm soft plastic baits have been doing great when targeted towards grass banks and ledges outside of creek mouths. This type of fishing has been a great back-up plan for those windy days that are too rough in the middle of the river to target citation drum.

A few keeper flounder are along these same grass banks, and they’re hitting soft plastics on 1/4 oz. jig heads worked along the bottom.


James, of Neuse River Adventures, reports that anglers are catching speckled trout in good numbers from the lower Neuse and Bay rivers. Soft plastics under popping corks and live baits are getting hits while working grass banks and structured shorelines.

A few stripers are around these structured areas up towards New Bern.

Puppy drum are holding on flats along the shoreline. Carolina-rigged live baits have been the most successful for slot-sized fish.

Keeper flounder are around, but it has taken much sorting through smaller fish to produce a few larger fish.

Citation-class red drum are traveling along deeper shoals jutting out into the main river. Large popping corks are the most popular setup, and the best tactic has been running from shoal to shoal and searching for bait and feeding fish.

Stephen Griffin with a bull red drum caught with a DOA Airhead soft plastic under a Blabber Mouth popping cork in the Neuse River near Oriental.

Jennings, of North State Guide Service, reports that citation-class red drum are feeding on bait balls in the lower Neuse. Casting large popping cork rigs around baits balls (especially if the baits are flipping) in the morning and evening hours has been generating some strikes.

Bluefish and spanish mackerel are feeding on these same baitfish, and they will readily hit casting jigs.

Speckled trout fishing has been good for anglers targeting deeper areas along the shoreline. The fish aren’t moving much with the hot water temperatures, so working different areas has helped pinpoint fish.

A few puppy drum are in the mix, and they’re hitting soft plastics and Carolina-rigged live baits.


Stephen, of Neuse River Bait and Tackle, reports that citation red drum fishing has been ongoing in the river. Anglers are reporting good numbers of bait balls from the sound up past Oriental. Not all of these bait schools are holding the big reds, but targeting the bait balls around ledges and shoals has been the most productive (as the reds travel along these areas).

Trout fishing has been strong, with anglers catching specks using a variety of lures. MirrOlure MR-17s, soft plastics on jig heads and under corks, live baits, and topwater plugs are all having success. Targeting structured areas of shorelines and ledges just inside the creeks has been helpful in locating schools.

Puppy drum and a few striped bass will be holding in these same areas, and both species have been actively attacking baits.

Flounder are in deeper areas (mostly 4-8’ of water), and they’re hitting live baits.

Anglers fishing fiddler crabs around docks and channel markers downriver are catching some sheepshead.


Richie, of East Side Bait and Tackle, reports that anglers working the grass banks around Belhaven and Rose Bay have been finding a lot of short flounder.

Speckled trout are in the same areas, with many of the trout being more concentrated in the deeper holes. Live mud minnows and shrimp fished on a cork rig, as well as soft plastics, are all producing bites.

Striped bass are scattered further upriver. Anglers can raise their odds by working hard lures and soft plastics around areas of structure along the shorelines.

Citation-sized red drum are being caught from the mouth of the Pamlico Sound down to Bay River. Large popping cork setups and cut baits are local favorites when seeking out a trophy red.


Mitchell, of FishIBX, reports that old red drum fishing has continued to be successful from the lower Pamlico River into the sound. These fish are running along the ledges of shoals in 4-15’ of water. Targeting bait balls in these areas with large popping cork rigs and Yee Ha soft plastics has been producing bites. Some anglers soaking Lupton rigs at night are finding similar successes, with fresh baits and chum slicks helping the bite ratios.

Speckled trout and puppy drum are along shorelines and just inside creek mouths. Soft plastics on 1/4 and 1/8 oz. jig heads have been great when working the bottom half of the water column.

Flounder are being picked up as well, though the number of larger fish has not been great.