Captain Jot Owens Fishing Report

Southeast NC Inshore Fishing Forecast/Report February 2018

Published on February 2nd, 2018 by Captain Jot Owens | Click for more | Add Your Comment

February in Southeast NC is one of the tougher months to get out and fish, the weather windows are much smaller and the temp can be downright cold some days. But it’s not all doom and gloom, fishing can be great during February especially when we have mild runs of weather. This year has been no different just some the up’s and down’s have been pretty aggressive; Snow and teens one week then seventies and rain! Target the back side of milder trends in temps and you’ll catch fish!

Cape Fear River Striped Bass are one of my favorites for winter fishing in our area. I look for the Stripers on drop offs, around pilings and creek mouths. Working baits like Berkley Gulp five or six inch jerkshads and Berkley Havoc grass pigs should get you a bite or two from a Striped Bass. I prefer white and chart pepper neon for the jerkshad and pink, swamp gas and chartreuse silver flake in the Havoc grass pig. I rig my jerkshad and grass pigs on swim bait 7/0 hooks, in 1/4oz weight. Mid water crank baits work too, try lures that dive from three to eight feet deep for best results, Rapala X-raps work well. If the crank bait starts to hit the bottom let it float up a bit or trust me you’ll lose it to a structure! Don’t forget that the Cape Fear River Striped Bass fishery is a closed fishery and is catch & release only; you must release all Striped Bass. Keep your eyes out for tagged Stripers there are a lot of tagged fish out there.

There is one fish that can be caught very easily during the winter months; if you find them! This Redfishing can be some of the best of the year for catching numbers of fish; the deal breaker for this fishery is you have got to good weather, calm seas and bright sunny skies for the ocean schools. I use Berkley Gulp Ripple Mullet in colors Pearl/chart tail, New Penny and Rootbeer gold/chart tail; also the Berkley Gulp 2” & 3” Shrimp work well too. Also MirrOlure Catch 2000Jr lures work well for winter Redfish. On warmer light wind days you can also find some nice schools of Reds in shallow water oyster flats and rocks. The Reds will sun on these dark colored bottom areas for a little extra warm up; this is also where you’ll see some bait fish doing the same thing (warming up). Work these baits slowly in front of the Redfish schools; not right through the school, all this will do is spook the Reds and will make it very hard to catch them. If the Reds are hungry they break away from the school and eat your bait!

With the late fall we had, water temps are a bit higher this winter than past winters and the Speckled trout bite has been a good pick most of the winter! Here are some ways I like to target Speckled trout into later winter months. A lure that always comes to mind for winter Speckled trout is the MirrOlure in the 52M, 52MR and TT series. MirrOlure color codes I prefer are: 11, 21, 26, 51, 704, CFPR, CH, EC, HP AND Capt. Jot Custom color (only found at Tex’s Tackle shop). Most any local tackle shop can help you with these color codes (a lot easier than spelling them all out here). Working MirrOlures slowly in deeper water breaks and drop offs can produces some very nice trout. If the water gets a bit dirty due to winds or rain/ice/snow, give Berkley Gulp 3” shrimp, fire tail shrimp and Jerkshad a try. Rig the Gulp or Saltwater Assassin Sea shad’s on lighter jig heads, here too for the trout so you can work them just a bit slower due to the colder water temps. Don’t rule out a nice Gray trout mixed in during the winter while speckled fishing. Look for the bigger trout to be sitting close to the current, but just off and out of it. Remember these fish are not going to burn calories they don’t have too swimming against the current. Don’t forget Speckled trout is closed at this time until June 15th 2018; you must release all Speckled trout.

Tackle run down: PENN Battle II & Conflict II Spinning reels sizes 2500, 3000 & 4000 for the Redfish, Speckled trout and Striped Bass. PENN Battalion in 6’6” & 7’ medium and line Spiderwire Ultra-cast in ten or fifteen; Berkley Pro Spec Fluorocarbon leader for leaders.

Thanks for reading, stay warm or cool and good fishing to ya!

Capt. Jot Owens
PENN Tackle Elite Staff
www.captainjot.com
910-233-4139

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March 2017 Fishing Forecast

Published on March 2nd, 2017 by Captain Jot Owens | Click for more | Add Your Comment


Can you believe it’s already March??? I have to say this winter has not been to bad overall, fingers crossed we make it through April mild and that would be a great start to the summer! The fishing has already been a little better with the milder weather; it really is looking good for this spring! Here are the fishing opportunities for March that I like to target.

In March the Redfish finally start to move around a little more than they have all winter. Not that they don’t move around in the winter; they just start to show up in place’s they like more during warmer times of the year. This is the time of the year you need to get out and find where the Redfish are going and showing up. In the cooler months I’ve seen crustacean patterns work better for Redfish; due to the fact that these baits are a little easier to catch, than say baits like fish patterns. A good handful of our local shrimp has wintered over because of the mild winter weather, also some of the little baitfish stayed too. All of this will make for a better March fishing scenario for sure!

On warmer days the crustaceans and baitfish will move more; these are the days you need to look for Redfish during March. Working scented baits like Berkley Gulp and Gulp Alive in patterns two and three inch shrimp, two inch peeler crab and 3” ghost shrimp should get the Redfish to bite. These baits don’t have paddle tails so you can work them very slow, which is still very important because the water still be pretty cool in March. Find those banks where the sun can warm up shallows just a little more than other places. Look for dark bottom banks and places with less current these are the areas where the water will be warmer and the Redfish will be feeding. Remember to keep your eyes peeled in the shallow water areas for Reds, March can be a very good sight fishing month; just make sure you work the baits a little slower with a fluorocarbon leader for those clearer spring waters.

March can be another mouth when Cape Fear River Striped Bass fishing will pick up. The Striper size is very mixed during early spring. In March the Stripers will start to move in to a little bit shallower waters, I look for the Stripers in three to eight feet of water during early spring. This is when you need to also shallow up your presentation, go lighter with you tackle. I prefer Berkley Gulp jerkshad and Berkley Havoc grass pig lures; I use colors pearl, chart pepper neon and new penny (swamp gas). Using swim bait hooks size 6/0 in 1/4 to ounce should put a Striper on the end of your line! You can also cast mid-water crank baits that dive three to eight feet, don’t let the lure drag the bottom to much or you will lose your lure to a stump or log! Look for Cape Fear River Stripers around mud-flat edges, bulk-heads, creeks and shallow reed-grass edges on sunny warmer days.

Don’t count out a nice Speckled trout during the month of March! But what is a trout going to hit in March? This is when you need to know where to start; what lures to try? One of my favorites is the good’ole MirrOlure; it’s been around a long time and it is still catching fish, but its cold so work them SLOW! The patterns I prefer are the 17MR, 18MR, 52M and 52MR. Colors; MirrOlure makes a lot of different colors but here are some of my go too colors around Wrightsville Beach area waters. MirrOlure color codes: 11, 21, 26, 51, 704, CFPR, CH, EC, HP AND Capt. Jot Custom color (only found at Tex’s Tackle shop). Any local tackle shop can help you with these color codes. Best depths to use these lures; 17MR use these lures in two to six feet of water. 18MR, 52M & 52MR use these lures in four to fifth-teen plus feet of water.

There is another kind of fishing I like to try in March but there is no saltwater involved. I like to hit the upper Northeast Cape Fear River and Sutton Lake the do a little Large-mouth bass fishing. If you want to try something different try some bass fishing, they are a lot of fun to catch on lighter tackle. Most of the time I use heavy sink worms from Berkley Powerbait in colors black, red shad and blue-flick. Work these worms very slowly off banks and stump beds. If you like to fly fish, try slow sinking small minnow patterns along the grass flats in Sutton Lake on cloudy or foggy days.

Tackle run down: PENN Battle II & Clash Spinning reels sizes2000, 2500 & 3000 for the Redfish, Large mouth Bass and Striped Bass. PENN Battalion rods in 6’6” & 7’ medium and med/hvy action; line Spiderwire Ultra-cast in ten and fifth-teen pound; Berkley Pro Spec Fluorocarbon for my leaders in twenty to thirty pound.

Thanks for reading, get outside and I hope March fishing is good to you!

Capt. Jot Owens
PENN Fishing Tackle Elite Staff
www.captainjot.com
910-233-4139

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