N CAROLINA: Look Reds in Creeks with Dark Colored Bottoms

Well folks, as soon as the weather got warm, it got cold again, but wait here comes another (little) warm up? And then cold again; welcome to North Carolina winter weather! There are good things to this up and down weather, if you time it right the fishing can be good on the warmer weather times or just as it starts to cool off again! I can tell you not much has changed since my last report/forecast. I’m going to give a little more detail info on what I’m doing this time of year to keep y’all reading my reports!

The Cape Fear River Striped Bass fishing has been pretty steady for much of this winter and I’ve seen a hand full of very nice Striped Bass come form the river; a few over fifthteen pounds and one or two over twenty pounds. The most important tip I can give you for these fish is as its gets colder (water temps) you really need to slow down your presentation while fishing. I truly slow down just how fast I work my lures and it really will get you more bites when the water is colder.

Here are the ways I fish for Cape Fear River Striper’s. Try Berkley Gulp Jerkshad in five and six inch size; in pearl & new penny colors. Work these baits slowly and always rig them weed-less; there are many hangs in the Cape Fear River. Try a Moaner swim bait hook with the Berkley Jerkshad; this is a great hook at a great price. www.moanerhooks.com I use the weighted Stroker hook in 1/4oz 5/0. If you would like to cast hard baits, try casting X-raps in color green back or glass-ghost or MirrOlure 17MR or 27MR’s. Look for Stripers on drop-offs, dock pilings and reed-grass lines.

As the waters cool down it gets a little harder to catch Redfish, but they are still here! One very good tip I can tell you about winter Redfish is; when you find a school that won’t bite for you, take some time and try to get a bite. Most of the time if you get one Red to bite the others will fire off too! Warmer, sunny and lower wind days can be the key to catching these inshore winter Redfish.

Look for these Reds in creeks with dark colored bottoms and oyster rocks; anywhere the water may be a bit warmer. Scented soft plastics like Berkley Gulp should do the trick to get these Reds to hit. Patterns in Gulp like Shrimp in sizes 2″ and 3″ are my go too, colors that seem to work the best are pearl, sugar spice glow, molting and new penny. Try lighter jig heads like 1/16 and 1/8 when winter fishing; lighter jig heads help you to work the lure much slower and still look natural as possible. I always use fluorocarbon leader when I’m fishing cold water fish; the water is almost always clear during the winter months!

When the weather warms up a bit during the winter months, you can sometimes find a good Blackdrum bite up in some of the local creeks. I find these Blackdrum in creeks from Topsail down to Bald Head Island. Look for creeks with dark mud bottoms and good oyster rocks running down the edge of a hole in the creek. These are the places on warmer days you will find red and black drum. Try smaller well scented baits like Berkley Gulp 2″ shrimp on very light jig heads. You can also try light Carolina rigs with small pieces of shelled shrimp, take the shell off the shrimp; trust me! Cast down the edges of these holes and drop offs in creeks.

Fishing gear I use:

Gear used: Redfish, Blackdrum and Striped Bass: reels PENN Conquer 2000 and Battle 3000 & 4000 spinning reels. Rods PENN Legion or Regiment in med 8 to 15# class. Line: Spiderwire Ultracast ten and fifth teen pound. Fluorocarbon leader material, Berkley Pro Spec Fluorocarbon in tints Gunsmoke for clearer waters and Tannic for river or stained waters in thirty.

Thanks for reading and good luck fishing!

Captain Jot Owens
Jot It Down Fishing Charters
p: 910-233-4139