By: Steve Fifer
The fishing locally is the stage where it will take shift to fall weather patterns to change the routine, but that doesn’t mean the fishing is bad. It’s actually real good! Inshore, the Turning Basin area is the best place to look for keeper-sized flounder and drifting with live mullet is the best way to catch them. This is where a larger bait (5-6”) gets the attention of those big ones. The marshes, bays, and feeder creeks in the lower Newport River and Adams Creek are the best place to look for redfish. They like incoming tides where they can get back into the shoreline reeds and oysters and root around for the shrimp and crabs that live there. A popping cork and shrimp combo is very effective as it will minimize snagging. Walking-type surface lures like Skitterwalks, Spook Jr’s., and Top Dog Jr’s are also good especially in low-light conditions. These same areas, along with the ICW west towards Swansboro, hold speckled trout, black drum, sheepshead, and flounder. They’ll all eat a live shrimp rigged carolina-style. The black drum and sheepshead really like fiddler crabs fished the same way. Along the beaches and up to the Cape schools of spanish and bluefish are chasing small glass minnows and can be really picky when it comes to biting a lure. You’ve got to use something that is almost the same size or they’ll ignore it. The smallest Clarkspoon, Stingsilver, or diamond Jig work great, but the real killer is the Don’s Glass Minnow jig. Try tying them in tandem using 40# mono. You can cast at schooling fish or just troll the rig on your regular spinning outfit. Bottom fishing at the AR’s, and nearshore live bottoms and ledges is still good but the bigger fish are in a little deeper water right now; 75’ to 90’. The various porgies, grunts, and sea bass will gobble up any dead bait on a bottom rig. The better quality fish are caught jigging, however. Use a jig heavy enough to bounce along the bottom while you drift. In most cases, about 2-3 ounce lures are all you need.
It’s big red drum time in the lower Neuse right now. The bite has just started and will be good for the next month or so. More on this fishery next week.