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Wrightsville Beach, NC area Fishing Forecast-October 2017

October is the month when ‘Fall’ fishing really gets in full swing!  So many great fishing opportunities during October; Big Redfish, Gator Specked trout and Jumbo Flounder!

As the waters cool down from the fall air the Redfish really get active and this is the time to catch some good numbers in shallow water.  The mullets will be in full run by early October and the Redfish take full advantage of this!  Casting top-water lures along marsh grass banks and oyster rocks in creeks and along the ICW will sure to put a Redfish on your line.  Try these top-water lures; MirrOlure’s Top-pup or Top dog Jr.  Remember work these lures with good side to side action (walking the dog) for a sure strike bite action!  Also you can cast live finger mullets on rattling or popping corks for these shallow water Redfish as well.

The bigger Reds start to show up in the ocean on hard bottoms and around the inlets during September.  You never know when you might hook one of these hard fighting fish.  When I fish for bigger Reds, I use fresh cut or live menhaden and mullet.  I use fish finder rigs with 7/0 or 8/0 circle hooks and eighty pound Berkley Big game mono leaders. Don’t forget to keep your drag tight when using circle hook so they will do their job.  One tip I can give you when fishing for Bull Reds, is don’t use to light of tackle for these bigger Reds.  If you fight them to long, there is a chance you can tire them out to much and kill them.  Try a med/heavy rod and a reel with at least thirty pound mono or braid, this will help you get the fish in quicker; with a better chance of a good release.  Check to see if the Red has a yellow tag in its back; there are a fair amount of tagged Big Reds out there.

Speckled trout are not too hard to catch, but knowing what lures to use and when can really make a difference in how many you catch.  I prefer to use grubs and hard baits in deeper waters (six to twenty feet) like MirrOlure 52m & 52MR’s or 18MR series.  The grubs I prefer are Berkley Gulp 3” shrimp, the new 3” Ripple mullet and Saltwater Assassin Seashads in 4” size.  When I’m targeting Speckled trout in shallower waters (two to six feet) I prefer lures like the MirrOlure 17MR and 22MR (catch 2000 jr): on very calm mornings try a MirrOlure She pup top or Top pup top water lures will catch’em.  It’s so exhilarating to see a big fall Trout hit a top-water lure!  If you would rather use live bait, try live mud minnows or live shrimp; rig the live bait on a light Carolina rig for deeper water or a float rig for shallow waters.

During October you can catch very good size and numbers of Flounder.  I catch most of my October flounder around the inlets, creeks and channels (deeper is better) that lead to the inlets.  Casting lures like Berkley Gulp Jerkshad in sizes five and six inch should put some keeper Flounder in the cooler for you.  If you would rather use live bait; try a Carolina rig with a three to six inch mullet in the same areas.  Try an Eagle Claw L42 1/0 size hook for your flounder Carolina rig.  Just remember to take your time when you hook that door mat Flounder, they are great at getting off the line and have a good landing net close by like an EGO rubber mash net.

Spanish mackerel and False Albacore fishing can be great during October.  The Spanish and False Albacore run the biggest all year during the fall.  You can cast or troll for them and the fly fishing can be great as well.  The Spanish and False Albacore will be around the inlets and near shore artificial reefs.  Look for jumping/busting fish and diving birds; that is where you will find the Spanish and False Albacore.  Casting small spoons or jigs on light spinning tackle will put some fish in the boat for you.  If you would rather troll, give a Blue Water Candy Daisy Chain a try on top and a #1 planner down deep with a Clark spoon.  If you would like to give fly fishing a try, use a six to nine weight set up with floating line with a small minnow pattern fly or epoxy minnow pattern; my favorite!

Tackle run down: PENN Battle II’s and Conflict II Spinning reels 2000,2500, & 3000 sizes for the Redfish, Speckled trout, Spanish, Albacore and Flounder. Bull Reds PENN Fathom casting reels or Slammer III spinning reels.  Rods PENN Battalion 6’6” & 7’ medium and med/heavy for the Redfish, Spanish, Albacore and Flounder.  Med/light for the Speckled trout. Bull Reds PENN Rampage Jigging class rods in 50 to 100 class. Line Spiderwire Ultra-cast in ten and fifth-teen pound.  Berkley Pro Spec fluorocarbon leader material in twenty pound.  Bull Red line Thirty pound Berkley Pro-Spec Chrome mono.

Thanks for reading and good fishing to you!

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

Posted in Fishing Reports on October 4th, 2017 | Comments Off

PENN Conflict II Spinning Reel Overview

PENN Fishing Tackle has brought another great spinning reel to the fishing market; it is the new PENN Conflict II spinning reel series.  If you love your original Conflict spinning reels you’re really going to love the Conflict II.  PENN has been working hard to come out with LIGHT yet strong spinning reel and they have done just that with the Conflict II series!  Here are some of the features that make the PENN Conflict II stand alone as a great light spinning reel.

The Conflict II is a great looking, light and durable design with a super smooth yet strong drag. These are a few of the reasons so many anglers will love to fish this reel!  And now with CNC gear technology smooth and light is the name of the game for the Conflict II series.

Key Features of the PENN Conflict II Spinning Reel:

• Superline Spool™ – No backing needed because of the rubber gasket keeps superline (braid) from slipping
• Machined and anodized aluminum spool
• HT-100™ Carbon Fiber drag  washers provide smooth drag under heavy loads
• Line Capacity Rings
• 7 stainless steel ball bearings
• Infinite anti-reverse
• Rigid Resin RR30 Body & Rotor
• Machined anodized aluminum/Carbon handle with foam knob.
• Heavy-duty Aluminum bail wire.
• CNC Gear Technology

By keying the proprietary HT-100 Versa-drag washers into the spool PENN was able to use both sides of each drag washer giving the Conflict II higher max drags, more range and smoother start ups than the competition.  PENN’s HT-100 washers are greased with our proprietary PENN grease for longevity.

Cap and Stats:

CFTII1000: Mono cap yds/lb: 275/2   135/4   105/6 Braid cap: 160/6   130/8   110/10 Bearings: 7 Max drag: 9 lbs Ratio: 5.2:1 Weight: 6.3oz

CFTII2000: Mono cap yds/lb: 240/4   180/6   125/8 Braid cap: 230/8   180/10   165/15 Bearings: 7 Max drag: 10 lbs Ratio: 6.2:1 Weight: 7.4oz

CFTII2500 Mono cap yds/lb: 255/6   175/8   140/10 Braid cap: 240/10   220/15   160/20 Bearings: 7 Max drag: 12 lbs Ratio: 6.2:1 Weight: 7.9oz

CFTII3000 Mono cap yds/lb: 200/8   165/10   120/12 Braid cap: 250/15   180/20   130/30 Bearings: 7 Max drag: 15 lbs Ratio: 6.2:1 Weight: 9.1oz

CFTII4000 Mono cap yds/lb: 270/8   220/10   165/12 Braid cap: 360/15   260/20  185/30 Bearings: 7 Max drag: 15 lbs Ratio: 6.2:1 Weight: 9.5oz

CFTII5000 Mono cap yds/lb: 225/12   200/15   135/20 Braid cap: 420/20   300/30   240/40 Bearings: 7 Max drag: 25 lbs Ratio: 5.6:1 Weight: 14.5oz

 
I was one of the field testers for the new PENN Conflict II during the design stage and here are the features that I enjoyed while fishing this reel.   The new Conflict II has a much lighter weight which you can feel when casting for hours on the water.  When I was fighting hard pulling fish like Redfish and Striped Bass the drag stayed smooth and kept its setting throughout the entire fight.  Meanwhile casting for hours I never had tried the hands or arms; the weight is just so light with this series of Conflict II’s.  I really enjoy the feel of the foam handles and the handles didn’t flex under pressure even with the light weight aluminum/carbon design.   The Conflict II has clean look to it with a black body, carbon fiber detail ring around the spool and handle.

I believe the PENN Conflict II’s are going to be one of the best spinning reels PENN has ever made and it’s the lightest they have ever made!

The Conflict II’s are arriving in stores now!

Check out all of PENN’s great fishing products at www.pennreels.com

Thanks for reading my over view, if you have any questions on the Conflict II or any PENN product let me know, I’ll be happy to answer them.

Capt. Jot Owens
www.captainjot.com

Posted in Product Reviews on September 27th, 2017 | Comments Off

Wrightsville Beach, NC Area Fishing Forecast-September 2017

September is the start of fall and one of my favorite months to fish!  A bit cooler weather, less boat traffic and the summer fishing is only better!  Here are some of my ‘goto’ September species.

The Flounder fishing has been good this season so far, with this said it looks like September should be a great mouth for Flounder too.  We look for Flounder in the fall around the inlets, in the creeks; up and down the ICW.  We also will find some very nice Flounder just offshore of Wrightsville/Topsail/Carolina Beach on live/hard bottom as well artificial reefs.  Mud minnows and small finger mullet will be the best live baits for Flounder in September.  Rigging the live bait on carolina rigs with EC 042 1/0 hooks is a good choice of rigs for Flounder.  If you prefer to use artificial baits, which I do; scented and none scented grubs will do the job.  Berkley Gulp Jerkshad in six inch with colors chart pepper neon and pearl white seem to work the best for me.  Rig these on jig heads with longer hook shanks with will help with a better hookup ratio.

When the water starts to cool down the Redfishing will heat up.  Look for the Reds to be in the creeks, along the ICW docks and oyster rocks.  Carolina rigs with live bait or fresh cut bait is a good bet to catch a Redfish.  If you want to go the artificial root, try Berkley Gulp three inch in color sugar spice glow or molting rigged on a 1/8oz or 1/4oz jig head should get’em to bite.  Early mornings or late afternoons the top water bite should be good; cast MirrOlure Top Dog Jr’s and Top Pup’s for the best bite.  Look for the top-water reds to be along marsh grass lines and shallow oyster rocks.  You can also use rattling or popping corks in the same areas you use top-water plugs, just rig them with eight to fourteen inches of forty pound fluorocarbon, 1/0 hook L42 Eagle Claw and a live figure mullet.

The bigger Reds are starting to show up in the ocean on hard bottoms and around the inlets.  You never know when you might hook one of these hard fighting fish.  When I fish for bigger Reds, I use fresh cut or live menhaden and mullet.  I use fish finder rigs with TroKar 8/0 or 9/0 AP circle hooks and eighty pound Berkley Big game mono leaders. Don’t forget to keep your drag tight when using circle hook so they will do their job.  One tip I can give you when fishing for Bull (Old) Reds, is don’t use to light of tackle for these bigger Reds.  If you fight them to long, there is a chance you can tire them out to much and kill them.  Try a med/heavy rod and a reel with at least thirty pound mono or braid, this will help you get the fish in quicker; with a better chance of a good release.  Check to see if the Red has a yellow tag in its back; there are a fair amount of tagged Big Reds out there.

Spanish mackerel fishing can be great during September.  The Spanish run the biggest all year during the fall.  You can cast or troll for them and the fly fishing can be great as well.  The Spanish will be around the inlets and near shore artificial reefs.  Look for jumping Spanish and diving birds; that is where you will find the Spanish mackerel.  Casting small spoons or jigs on light spinning tackle will put some Spanish in the boat for you.  If you would rather troll, give a Blue Water Candy Daisy Chain a try on top and a #1 planner down deep with a Clark spoon.  If you would like to give fly fishing a try, use a five to eight weight set up with floating line with a small minnow pattern fly or epoxy minnow pattern; my favorite!

Shark fishing will be good until late September.  We see lots of different kinds of Sharks in September; Black tip, black nose, Sandbar, Hammerhead and Tiger. Best baits for the near shore sharks are fresh/live Bluefish, Mullet and Menhaden. We use spinning reels for Shark fishing with 300+ yards of thirty and fifty pound Spider wire Ultra-cast braid.  Rigging the baits; eight feet of 80 pound mono leader; some will wind on to the reel. Connected to the 80 pound mono is a fifty pound swivel, then Two to three foot of #9 SS wire and an TroKar 8/0 or 9/0 AP circle hook. (I push down the barb for easy release)  If you prefer Fly fishing, I like Striped bass flies in Menhaden patterns with 4/0 and 5/0 hook sizes.  We use ten to twelve weight set ups; have lots of extra flies with you!

Good September fishing to you and thanks for reading!

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

Posted in Fishing Reports on September 6th, 2017 | Comments Off

Wrightsville Beach Area Fishing Forecast-August 2017

August fishing around Wrightsville, it’s the hot of the summer but fishing can be pretty good.  I prefer to go earlier or later bet the heat and the crowds. Here are a few of my favorite August “goto” species.

Flounder are a great hot weather fish because it really does not seem to matter how hot it gets they still bite!  Live bait is the key for catching higher numbers of Flounder, but if you want to catch bigger Flounder try artificial bait.  Mud minnows and small finger mullet will be the best live baits for Flounder in August.  Rigging the live bait on carolina rigs with Eagle Claw L42 1/0 or 2/0 hooks is a good choice of rigs for Flounder.  If you prefer to use artificial baits; scented and none scented grubs as well as spinner baits will do the job in shallow waters.   Berkley Gulp Jerkshad in five and six inch and colors of new penny, pearl white and chart pepper neon are all good too.  Also try Berkley’s Havoc Grass Pig lure in colors, chartreuse, pearl white silver and swamp gas.  I rig these lures on jig heads in 1/4oz, 3/8oz and 1/2oz weights in colors red, gray or white.

Look for the bigger flounder around deeper water docks with good current, bait fish and lots of structure inshore.  The inlets, offshore reef and ledges are all good places to find hot weather flounder.  What do all these places have in common; deeper water, current and structure.

One fish that is always on my hot weather list is the Sheephead.  The Sheephead is a good challenge to catch and they fight hard, but they are also good to eat!  Another great thing about Sheephead fishing when it’s hot outside is that you can hide under a bridge out of the sun to catch them.  Just think; fishing somewhere out of the sun and you’re catching great eating fish!  All you need is some fiddler crabs or sand fleas for bait.  A medium/heavy action spinning or casting rod with Spiderwire twenty or thirty pound braid for line will help you bring in that big Sheephead in.  Tie on a short carolina rig with forty or fifty pound fluorocarbon leader and a small live bait J hook (sharp/strong)!  Drop that fiddler crab down beside a piling on the carolina rig and when you feel that little bump; set the hook and hold on!  PS: they are great eating in the two to six pound range!

North Carolina is not really known for Tarpon fishing but I do see them pushing just off Masonboro inlet and the lower Cape Fear River form time to time.  If you want a good challenge, give Carolina Tarpon fishing a try this August.  The best times are very early morning or late afternoon and in to the night. I fish for Tarpon on the bottom or free lining, using live and fresh dead baits like; spots, mullet and menhaden.  I rig these baits on fish finder rigs, with three to five feet of 80 to 100 pound fluorocarbon leaders.  Circle hooks are the best bet for good hook ups and landings for Tarpon in hook sizes 7/0 to 9/0 depending what hook series you like.  I prefer TroKar AP TK5 9/0 circle hooks, super sharp and super strong!  It not easy to catch a NC Tarpon, but I promise if you do or even just jump one off its still really cool to see!

I also enjoy shark fishing later in the summer (late July to early September).  Sharks on light tackle are always a good pull and boy the kids love to catch’em!  I drift live and fresh dead bluefish, Spanish mackerel, mullet or menhaden in thirty to forty five feet of water offshore.  I rig these baits with a 7/0 to 9/0 TroKar circle hook with one foot of ninety pound wire and six to eight feet of eighty pound mono leader.  You can free line the bait and /or put a small egg sinker on to keep the bait close to the bottom.  You’ll know when you get a bite!   Most sharks are in the ten to one hundred pound range.

Last but certainly not lest is Bull Redfish (big Red Drum).  The Bull Reds will start showing up in good numbers around inlets and hard/live bottoms just off the beach to about ten miles out in early August.  Live or fresh dead bait is the key to catching these brutes.  Most fish will be twenty-eight to over forty inches in length, very fun to catch size!  It’s not hard to rig for the Bull reds; short carolina rigs with a 7/0 to 9/0 TroKar circle hook will do the trick.  Remember if your catching larger Drum, please use heavier tackle; these Drum will work so hard when the water is hot and it is easy to kill them using to light of tackle (fighting them to long).

Tackle run down: PENN Battle II & Slammer III reels 2500, 3000, 3500 sizes for the Sheephead and Flounder.  Tarpon/Sharks/Bull Drum PENN SlammerIII 6500 & 7500 and PENN 20 Fathom LW casting reels.  Rods PENN Battalion 6’6” & 7’ medium and med/heavy for the Sheephead and Flounder.  Tarpon/Shark/Bull Drum Rods: PENN Rampage Jigging series.  Line Spiderwire Ultra-cast in ten and fifth-teen pound and Berkley Pro Spec Chrome mono in thirty and forty pound for the Tarpon/sharks.

Have a good August, stay cool and thanks for reading!

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

Posted in Fishing Reports on July 11th, 2017 | Comments Off

Wrightsville Beach NC-Fishing Forecast June 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June what a great fishing month around Southeast NC! Lighter winds, warm days and the fish are biting! Here are my “goto” Southeast NC June target fish.

Everybody loves to catch and eat Flounder; they are really getting their act together by June.  You can find Flounder just about anywhere when June rolls in, just knowing where to look to find the keepers is the key!  In the Wrightsville area, I look for keeper Flounder around deeper channel drop-offs; in waters of five to fifth-teen feet deep.  The local inlets and cuts Carolina Beach, Masonboro, Mason’s, Rich’s inlets and snow’s cut are always a good place to find some keeper size Flounders.  Last but certainly not least, are the artificial reefs, ledges and hard/live bottoms from one to ten miles off the beach, these areas always hold very nice Flounder in June.

Once you have found some Flounder you need to know how to catch’em.  If you want to go the artificial root, try bigger baits; this will greatly help you catch more keeper size Flounder.  I prefer Berkley Gulp five and six inch Jerkshad in colors pearl white, chart pepper neon and new penny.  Another great Flounder bait is the Berkley Gulp 4 inch shrimp pattern, this bait is great for cast up and down inshore drop-offs in creek channels.  I rig these baits on jig heads in sizes 1/8oz to 5/8oz for inshore and 1/2oz to 3/4oz for ocean fishing; in colors red, gray and white.

If you would like to go with live bait for the Flounders, try mud minnows, small mullets or small menhaden as live bait.  Rig these live baits on Carolina rigs with an Eagle Claw L42 1/0 hook, eight to fourteen inches of thirty to forty pound fluorocarbon as leader.  I prefer egg sinkers as my weight, the secret to how much weight you use is ‘as much as you need to stay on the bottom but as least as you can get away with.’  You need to be on the bottom for Flounder but going lighter will always get you more bites!

Redfish are in their summer trend by June and the trick to summer Reds is go early before that sun is high and hot in the sky.  Topwater lures and rattling corks in the shallow waters earlier mornings and afternoons will produce Redfish. I prefer MirrOlure Top dog Jr’s and Top Pup’s for great ‘walk the dog action’.  Working grubs like Berkley Gulp later in the day in deeper waters will also produce Reds for you.  Slow rolling spinner baits with a Berkley Gulp Ripple Mullet (four inch) in the color root-beer gold/chart tail as the trailer has produced me some nice Reds when the water heats up.  Sometimes it can be just like colder mouths, slow down your presentation a little when the water gets hot.  Give the Redfish a little more time to catch up with your bait when the water temp is over eighty degrees.

Last but never least; Cobia fishing is in full swing by early June and should be good until early July; it’s already been a great year! I look for Cobia around inlets, shoals and bait schools; near shore/offshore reefs and ledges are also a good place to look too.  With the water being clear most of the time in June it should easier to see those brown logs in the water. I like to throw big jigs, swim baits and live bait to the Cobia.  Color really does not seem to matter, but (go bright); Blue Water Candy makes a great Cobia jig but I always add a Berkley Gulp 6.5 inch Nemesis!  When I’m not sight casting for them, we are fishing around inlets, shoals and near shore artificial reefs.  I float fish, bottom fish and kite fish in these areas with live menhaden, spots and mullet as bait.  You can chum if you like, but the sharks and Rays will come in numbers!

Tackle run down: PENN Battle II & Clash Spinning reels 2500 & 3000 sizes for the Redfish and Flounder.  Cobia: PENN Slammer III 5500 & 6500 spinning reels and PENN 20LW Fathom casting reels.  Rods PENN Battalion and Regiment 6’6” & 7’ medium and med/heavy for the Redfish and Flounder.  Cobia Rods: PENN Rampage or Carnage II Jigging series 50 to 100 class casting and spinning.  Line Spiderwire Ultra-cast in ten and fifth-teen pound and Berkley Pro Spec Chrome mono in twenty and thirty pound for the Cobia; that is great line!!!

I hope summer fishing is good to you and thanks for reading!

Capt. Jot Owens

PENN Reels Elite Pro Staff

www.captainjot.com

910-233-4139

Posted in Fishing Reports on May 9th, 2017 | Comments Off

Southeast North Carolina March 2017-Fishing Report/Forecast

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

Posted in Fishing Reports on March 2nd, 2017 | Comments Off

February 2017-Fishing Report/Forecast for Southeast NC

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.  So far this year we’ve had a very up and down weather pattern so when the mild runs are here; that’s the time to go fishing!  Here are a few species I target around Wrightsville Beach other areas of Southeast NC.

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 and 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 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 log!  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.

Another fish that can bite well in the River during the winter months is the Blue Catfish.  If you would like to give the Catfish a try, use baits like cut mullet, chicken livers and cut eel.  I use heavy Carolina rigs when I fish for catfish.  Try a TroKar Circle hook in 4/0 to 7/0 depending on bait size with fifty or sixty pound mono leader to make your carolina rig.  Look for the catfish on drop-offs from five to twenty feet of water.  We have seen some blue cats over thirty pounds caught in the river so try not to use to light of tackle; these are not always your ‘farm pond channel cats’!

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, clam 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 trout 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.
Tackle run down: PENN Battle II & Clash Spinning reels sizes 2500, 3000 & 4000 for the Redfish, Speckled trout and Striped Bass.  Battle II or Clash 5000 & 6000 for Catfish.  PENN Battalion in 6’6” & 7’ medium and med/hvy action; and Battalion 7’ 15-30 class for catfish; line Spiderwire Ultra-cast in ten, fifth-teen and twenty pound; Berkley Pro Spec Fluorocarbon leader for leaders.

~Capt. Jot’s Inshore Fishing schools are sold out, but I’ll do them again next year so keep your eye here for the announcement during late November 2017.

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

Posted in Fishing Reports on February 3rd, 2017 | Comments Off

Fishing Report/Forecast-December 2016

 

Really?  Thanksgiving is over here comes Christmas???  Yes it’s December and December can be a good fishing month.  Pick your days and the fish will bite! If we get a big cool down, give it a day to moderate a bit to a warmer trend; this will greatly help you to get more bites!  I look for warmer days, sunny days and less windy days during December if possible for better bite rates around Southeast NC.

 

In December I catch some of the biggest Speckled trout all year, but you need to know which lures work better for bigger trout.  Hard baits like MirrOlures have put some big trout in the boat for me and for many other anglers over the years.  MirrOlure’s 52M, 52MR and TT series are great big trout baits.  Try these lures in colors: 11 (redhead), 11FGO (Flo.orangehead), 21 (blackback), 26 (redback), 51 (white/white), 704 (pink/yellow), 808 (black/gold/orange), CFPR (chart/pearl), HP (hotpink), Capt. Jot Custom color only available at Tex’s tackle and for great night fishing; PD (purple demon).

 

Good looking scented lures that have been working very well for me are Berkley Gulp’s three inch shrimp and there newer four inch Ripple mullet.  All the colors have worked well for me, but here is a few that I like for trout (shrimp pattern); Sugar spice glow, rootbeer/gold, pearl white and new penny.  Berkley Gulp’s Ripple Mullet in colors glow/chartreuse, pearl, rootbeer gold/chart, and Chart pepper are all good trout baits.  All of these baits have Gulps great scent, great action and come in some great colors too!  Don’t forget the good’ole five inch pearl white jerkshad as well.

 

The grub (soft plastic) has been around forever in the fishing world!  These days they come in so many different colors, here are few that work well for me when trout fishing.  Saltwater Assassin makes a load of different grubs; I prefer the sea shad four inch pattern in colors chicken on a chain, rainbow trout, copperhead, green moon, sweet pea, pink diamond and silver
phantom/chart.  I rig all these grubs with 1/8oz, ¼ oz and 3/8oz jig heads in colors gray, red and brown.  Don’t forget that I rig all of my Speckled trout lures with fluorocarbon leaders; trout have very good eyesight and later in the season like December the water can get very clear!  Get yourself a good fluorocarbon like Berkley Pro Spec or Berkley Vanish; both of these work great in twenty pound test.

 

Don’t count out live bait if you enjoy fishing with it.  Try live smaller mullets, mud minnows and live shrimp.  In shallow waters of two to five feet I like to float these live baits with a cork and a small treble hook.  In deeper waters of six to ten plus I rig them on light Carolina rigs with a small number one J-hook (EC L42).  Just wait until you feel that trout take off with the bait and lightly set the hook, remember trout have very soft mouths slow hook sets work best!  Live bait will be harder to get and keep alive during later December, but on warmer days it will be a little easier to find and fish it.

 

In December another fish I really like to hunt for on sunny, warmer and light wind days is schooling Redfish.  I find these schools on oyster rocks/flats, sand bars in the surf and shallow flats on the ICW.  In December the Reds are not hard to catch when you find them, but some times finding them can be a challenge.  My go to bait for the winter Redfish are scented grub like the Berkley Gulp Ripple Mullet or fire tail shrimp; Redfish love these things.  Rig grubs with thirty or forty pound mono or fluorocarbon and a darker colored jig heads like red or brown should get the redfish to bite for you.

 

Not too far from Wrightsville Beach in historical down town Wilmington runs the Cape Fear River and in the Cape Fear there are some cold weather biting Striped Bass.  These fish are not the easiest to catch, but they fight very well even in cold water.  Working drop offs and grass lines on the edge of the river is where you can find the Stripers, using swim bait lures and Berkley Power Bait, Berkley Havoc Grass pig lures and Berkley Gulp Jerkshad should put a few Cape Fear Stripers on you line.  Rig these lures on swimbait hooks for weedless fishing, (lots of hangs in the river).  Fishing ares with not so many hangs, try a Rapala X-Rap  X-10 size in colors Ghost white or green back.  Don’t forget that the Cape Fear River Striped Bass Fishery is closed; catch and release only!

 

Tackle run down: PENN Battle II, Clash Spinning reels sizes 2000, 2500& 3000 for the Redfish & Speckled trout  2500, 3000 & Slammer III 3500 for  Striped Bass  Rods: PENN Battalion 6’6” & 7’ med/light and medium action; line Spiderwire Ultra-cast in eight, ten and fifth-teen pound or in eight, ten or twelve pound test for Speckled trout fishing.

 

Thanks for reading Marry Christmas, Happy New Year and good winter fishing to you!

 

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

 

Posted in Fishing Reports on December 5th, 2016 | Comments Off

PENN Slammer III Review-Spinning Reel

 

 

 

The PENN Slammer is back by popular demand, back as the Slammer III series!  This Slammer III series is built for heavy-duty fishing from boat, shore, surf or kayak; however you fish hard core!  Designed, tested and trusted by Charter and Fishing guides all over the world.  The Slammer III reels feature the new IPX6 Sealed system which keeps water, salt and sand out of the gear box and drag system.  PENN is also using the updated Slammer Drag System which now utilizes PENN’s proprietary Dura-Drag material.  The same Dura-Drag material used in PENN Internationals; “Big Smooth Drag Systems”!

 Here are some of the key features of the New Slammer III spinning reel series:

 

  • Full Metal Body, side plate and rotor
  • CNC Gear Technology; smooth out of the box and stays smooth under pressure.
  • IPX6 Sealed body and spool design
  • Sealed Slammer Drag system with Dura-Drag
  • 6+1 Stainless Steel bearing system
  • Super Line ready spool
  • Line Capacity Rings
  • Instant Anti-Reverse
  • Techno-balanced body
  • Slammer III comes in sizes 3500, 4500, 5500, 6500, 7500, 8500, 9500 & 10500
  • Drag ranges of thirty (30) pounds 3500 size reel and Sixty (60) pounds 10500 size reel (Max drag)

 You may notice the larger gold handle in the photos of the new Slammer III reels.  I was on the test and design team for these reels for the last two years.  Yes I was wondering the same thing out of the box; “boy that handle looks odd, how’s it going to feel and fish?”  To my surprise it feels and works great.  It’s easier on your hands and fingers, makes it easier to hold the rod and not have the reel walk back and forth in your hands.  Also when reeling in fast or working a lure fast it’s easier to keep the speed constant with the easy control of the larger handle.  All models of the Slammer III reels come with the metal gold handle knob and an EVA foam knob as well in the box.  You can choose whatever you like to fish with!

 As a guide on the design and test team for the Slammer III I’ve been very impressed with the lasting smoothness and strength of this series of reels.  I’ve had them for just over a year & a half and they are still just as smooth as they were out of the box!  On my 3500 test size I’ve cuaght hundreds of deep water Flounders of one to six pounds with countless by-catch sharks, sea bass and grunts.  We also landed five Cobia over fifty pounds on the 3500 size Slammer III test reel! I’ll definitely have a set of these reels for next year’s fishing season, for sure!  The Slammer III series should be in your favorite Tackle shops mid-November; Showing up Now!

 f you have any questions of the PENN Slammer III series or any other PENN product please let me know or check out www.pennfishing.com

 Thanks for reading and good fishing to you!

Capt. Jot Owens

 

Posted in Product Reviews on November 15th, 2016 | Comments Off

Wrightsville Beach Fishing Forecast-November 2016

November is the gateway to winter but don’t let that get you down!  November is my month to really get some big’ole Speckled trout to bite!  Weather in November can be tough some days, cold and rainy or sometimes just to warm.  Only time will tell as far as the weather goes, but no matter what happens with the weather it’s a great month to fish around Southeast NC!

In early to mid November I look for Speckled trout in the creeks and channels just off the ICW; any where water is moving with tide flow and bait.  Speckled trout like current; weather its hard current in a main channel or light current up a creek.  You need current flow to catch trout; rising and falling tide can be good for trout don’t let the tide keep you form going trout fishing!  Marsh grass lines, oyster rocks that run in to a channel and drop-offs in channels are all good places to find Speckled trout in November.  Almost any grass lines with oysters will hold some trout!  Look for places where there is a slight current break and those trout will be close by!  Later in November all of the above places will still hold trout and the inlets will start to hold more trout as the month goes on.

One key point to trout I’ve found is that most days Specks will bite, but what are they hitting that day?  I’ve found that in early November hard baits work well.  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 lots of big fish.  The patterns I prefer are the 17MR, 18MR, 27MR, 52M and 52MR.  Colors; MirrOlure makes a lot of different colors but here are some of my go too colors around Southeast NC area waters.  MirrOlure color codes: 11, 21, 26, 51, 704, CFPR, CH, EC, HP and Capt. Jot Custom color in 17MR & 52MR (only found at Tex’s Tackle shop)  Any local tackle shop can help you with these color codes.  Fishing Depths to use these lures; 17MR, 27MR & Catch 200Jr. 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 with current.  If your lure is hitting the bottom a lot go to a shallower running lure.

If you have ever done any trout fishing at all you know that a grub (soft plastic) lures work very well for Speckled trout too!  Berkley Gulp three inch shrimp pattern is one of my go-to lures.  I prefer colors sugar spice glow, pearl white and pearl white/fire tail.  Saltwater Assassin’s 4” sea shad in colors chicken on a chain, sweet pea, mullet, rainbow trout and cantaloupe are all good choices in November as well.
I rig all of my trout grubs on 1/16oz, 1/8oz and 1/4oz jigs heads in colors red, gray or black; always use a fluorocarbon leader when trout fishing, I use Berkley Pro Spec twenty pound in clear, thirty pound if the blues show up in numbers.

Don’t count out live bait if you enjoy fishing with it.  Try live smaller mullets, mud minnows and live shrimp.  In shallow waters of two to five feet I like to float these live baits with a cork and a small treble hook.  In deeper waters of six to ten plus I rig them on light Carolina rigs with a small number one J-hook (EC L42).  Just wait until you feel that trout take off with the bait and lightly set the hook, remember trout have very soft mouths slow hook sets work best!

Here is one of my best tips I can give you for Speckled trout fishing around the Wrightsville area in November.  The water gets clear, sometimes very clear around Southeast NC in November.  I always use Fluorocarbon leaders for Speckled trout fishing; for artificial as well as live bait fishing!  You will catch more trout using fluorocarbon leader; trust me!  I use Berkley Pro Spec fluorocarbon leader material in twenty and thirty pound test.  Give it a try; you’ll be happy you did!  *PS: Also keep your eyes peeled for trout with yellow or red belly tags, I’ve tag a fair amount from south Topsail to Carolina beach inlet this year and last.  Yellow tags are worth $5 and Red tags are worth $100!

The bigger Reds start to show up in the ocean on hard bottoms and around the inlets during September and run until later November; this year has been a epic early fall Bull Red bite.  You never know when you might hook one of these hard fighting fish.  When I fish for bigger Reds, I use fresh cut or live menhaden and mullet.  I use fish finder rigs with a TroKar AP 8/0 or 9/0 circle hook and eighty pound Berkley Big game mono leaders. Don’t forget to keep your drag tight when using circle hook so they will do their job.  One tip I can give you when fishing for Bull Reds, is don’t use to light of tackle for these bigger Reds.  If you fight them to long, there is a chance you can tire them out to much and kill them.  Try a med/heavy rod and a reel with at least thirty pound mono or braid, this will help you get the fish in quicker; with a better chance of a good release.  Check to see if the Red has a yellow tag in its back; there are a fair amount of tagged Big Reds out there.

If you like to catch Bluefish there are just about as many as you like around during November.  Fishing around and just outside of the inlets you can catch just about all the Blues you want in the one to four pound range.  Casting metal jigging spoons or diamond jigs is a no brainer for getting some Bluefish.  Just look for the birds working and cast in that area.  Watch those teethe Blues they do bite hard!

Tackle run down: PENN Battle II & Clash Spinning reels sizes 2000, 2500 & 3000 for the Speckled trout.  Rods PENN Battalion in 6’6” & 7’ med/light and medium action; line Spiderwire Ultra-cast in eight, ten and fifth-teen pound.  Bull Reds PENN Fathom 20LW and PENN Rampage Jigging Rods.

Keep your eyes on my FaceBook page for I’ll be releasing the two dates of my inshore fishing school this month.  I’ll have one school day on a March Saturday and one on an April Saturday.  This school is limited to 32 anglers each date and it will sell out within two days of release date.

Thanks for reading, good luck fishing and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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

Posted in Fishing Reports on November 2nd, 2016 | Comments Off
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