Speckled Trout - The past two cold fronts have really had an influence on our water temperature and trout fishing. The marshes are starting to fill up with spike sized fish, with the occasional few nice coming out of the mix. Anglers should now be turning their focuses towards the rivers and creeks of the area. Live baits like mud minnows and shrimp continue to be great baits. Floating them these baits on slip corks, starting almost on bottom, then working your way up until you find the bite is the best way to fish them in a deep water column. This is also one of the best times of year to break out the artificials, especially the mirrolures. 18mr and 17mr baits are our favorites for this time of year. In an area with a lot of current 18mr baits are great, their weight helps them fall in your target area without getting swept. 17mr’s are a great from now on when the water temp is in the mid 50-60 range. Zoom Super Fluke baits, shrimp imitations, swim baits. The new Coastal Storm Shrimp and mirrolure soft plastics have been our go-to baits over the past week.
Red Drum - The surf is the name of the game right now. Reds are schooling heavily across the barrier islands of your area. From the beach, anglers should be looking for sloughs in the surf and shoals that tend to be favorite areas for reds to sit. It is important to remember that most of the time reds are going to be in or just outside of the breakers on the beach. Making incredibly long casts on surf style combos might produce a few fish, but not consistent numbers. Wading out with a 7’6” to 8’6” spinning rod and casting down the beach until you find these schooling fish will produce the most quantity of reds. Using heavier jig heads and picking calmer days with north winds will help anglers put eyes on the fish as well as better and longer casts. Z-Man Minnowz in bright colors like white or pink are always surf candy for reds. The Z-Man baits are super durable and can withstand the abuse of surf fishing and multiple redsfish. Scenting the baits with procure saltwater inshore is a great way to help improve your number of strikes and hook ups. On the inshore side of things you can find smaller puppy drum hanging around the same structure and marsh areas as you would in the summer months. You also might find yourself a small school of them as the days keep cooling and the water temp falls.
Flounder - Just about anywhere you try to catch a trout or redfish right now you will find a flounder. They are impossible to escape as a by-catch right now. If you plan to target them specifically, going a little heavier on your jig head size with a 3/16oz or 1/4oz will help put the bait on bottom and in front of the flat fishes mouth. Using a buck tail and fishing early and late segments of the rising and falling tides will give anglers the best number of fattys. Our best suggestion as a place to get this done would be to fish the docks down the ICW. Any sort of GULP! jerk shad, shrimp pattern, or swimming mullet on a jig head or buck tail will give anglers the right bait to tempt a flounder.
Black Drum - Black Drum are feeding in deep holes and around bridges. The deep holes that they are feeding in could be the holes in the marshes to holes in the rivers and creeks. Fish usually are schooling with the same general size of fish. So usually you can tell pretty quick the class of Black Drum you are in. Live shrimp on small scaled down Carolina rigs are the best bait for the larger Black Drum, but any size black Drum will also fall for frozen cut shrimp on a bottom rig.
Pogie's Fishing Center in Historic Downtown Swansboro has all of your fishing needs to ensure you have a succesful fall!