By: Steve Fifer
In the days following Thanksgiving, we’ve seen a mini Indian summer; temps in the upper 60’s, calm winds, and great inshore fishing. The water nearshore and in the ICW has been in the lower 50’s and the fish are very active. The speckled trout fishing is as good as we’ve seen it since the 2004 winter kill. They are back in good numbers and sizes in all their traditional places such as the creeks feeding the ICW, the marshes like Haystacks, North River, and Middle. The bite has been especially strong in the South River off the Neuse and the New River and its tributary creeks. Most of the natural bait has left the area which means it’s Mirrolure time. The popular styles are (in no particular order) MR-18, MR-17, 52, and TT. They come in dozens of colors but color #808, Mardi Gras, and Electric Chicken are a good place to start. The most effective retrieve is to let the lure sink and slowly retrieve it with gentle twitches of the rod tip. The cooler the water gets, the slower your retrieve needs to get. No bites? Go even slower! Plastic shrimp will catch them either below a popping cork or by themselves. Two tips are attach the lure to your leader using a loop knot to maximize the natural action and fish it with almost no retrieve using tiny twitches of your rod tip. Again, just like a Mirrolure, real slow. The cooler water has really cleared up so the best shrimp colors are translucent or very lightly colored like clear with silver flakes. Redfish can be found in the feeder creeks too but the hot bite has been the marshes along the ICW around Brown’s and Bear Inlets near Swansboro. They are way back in the marsh, so high tide is best time to fish for them. They like gold spoons but it is hard to beat a 4” Gulp shrimp on a very light (1/16th to ¼ ounce) leadhead. In addition to great weather and hungry trout and reds are the bonus flounder that are found in the same places.