Fish Post

Pamlico/Neuse – September 26, 2019

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Donald, of Custom Marine Fabrication, reports that speckled trout fishing has been steady in the creeks off the lower Neuse. Gulp and Z-Man PaddlerZ soft plastics fished under popping corks have been working great.

A few puppy drum are in the creeks, and they’re hitting the same soft plastics.

Striped bass are holding near areas of shoreline structure, with soft plastics on 3/16 oz. jig heads as the top producer.

Citation red drum have been hitting large soft plastics downriver, though strong weather patterns have anglers reporting that finding good bait has been tough.

Wade Moore with a 45″ bull red that fell for live bait under a popping cork in the Neuse River.

Gary, of Spec Fever Guide Service, reports that trophy red drum fishing continues to be stellar, even with the strong northeast winds that have dominated the forecast. Many recent trips have been targeting the large fish (up to 50 lbs.) with fly rods and Pop ‘N Fly rigs.

On afternoons the winds have made the river too messy, hitting the banks and creek mouths with soft plastics is producing keeper speckled trout. Just based on the numbers seen all summer, anglers expect the trout to start schooling up well in coming weeks and anticipate a great fall bite.

Puppy drum are along the banks in the lower areas of the Neuse, though their numbers have been more by-catch by those tossing soft plastics on 1/4 oz. jig heads.

Striped bass are in the creeks and along heavily-structured shoreline areas.

Jordan Williams, of Raleigh, NC, with a 48″ red drum caught on a DOA paddletail under a Blabber Mouth popping cork. He was fishing in the Pamlico Sound with his brother Matt Williams and friend Justin Shover.

James, of Neuse River Adventures, reports that citation-class red drum are being caught along edges of shoals from Oriental out to the sound. Large popping cork rigs and Z-Man soft plastics are producing good strikes when locating fish around bait schools.

Speckled trout are being caught with smaller popping cork setups worked along the banks.

Puppy drum and smaller flounder are mixed in with the trout, and they’re hitting soft plastics on jig heads worked along the bottom.


Jennings, of North State Guide Service, reports that citation red drum fishing didn’t skip a beat after the last storm. Trophy class fish (up to 43”) are hitting the classic large popping cork rigs around shoals in the river.

Speckled trout fishing is great when anglers choose to switch gears throughout the day. Fishing holes around creek mouths with soft plastics is landing limits of fish.

A few striped bass and puppy drum are in these same creeks, though the bite for both has been scattered.


Stephen, of Neuse River Bait and Tackle, reports that citation-class red drum (up to 49”) are hitting Z-Man and D.O.A. soft plastics fished under the popular Blabber Mouth popping corks. Running the shoals in search of bait schools has helped in pinpointing the fish.

Anglers fishing fresh cut mullet at night are landing fish along these same ledges.

Large speckled trout (up to 28”) are hitting Z-Man Jerk ShadZ fished under popping corks in the area’s creeks, but MirrOlures have been generating the most action.

Rat-sized red drum, striped bass, and bluefish are holding in the creeks, and they’re all hitting soft plastics.


Richie, of East Side Bait and Tackle, reports that speckled trout are being caught everywhere, with anglers also finding good-sized fish (up to 22”). Targeting grass banks and ledges in the area’s creeks with Z-Man soft plastics under popping corks has been productive, and the new Mardi Gras-colored MirrOlure is also having great success. The hot spots have been around Bath, Swansquarter, and the mouth of the Pungo River.

Puppy drum are mixed in the counts, with most fish being caught near structure in the creeks.

Anglers fishing Carolina-rigged live baits have reported a few small flounder landed along the shoreline, and striped bass are always a possibility when casting soft plastics along structured shorelines.


Mitchell, of FishIBX, reports that trophy red drum fishing has been great in the lower Pamlico region. The fish have been staged along the ledges of deeper shoals in 6-10’ of water. Spotting and marking baits in these areas has been a helpful part of finding good strikes. Popping cork rigs provide the most action, and therefore are a favorite of area anglers.

Reports of big reds caught on bait are scattered, with the bait bite more productive in the late evening hours.

Speckled trout numbers have been great, and the bait pushing into the river is getting the trout to school up a little better than recent weeks. Targeting deeper grass banks and structured areas around creek mouths have both produced fish.