Winter really has been pretty good overall and things are running a week or two ahead of most springs around our area. Fishing looks to be pretty great this spring and if it stays spring for a while, I believe it could be an epic spring fishing season!Â Here are some of the fish I target around Wrightsville Beach and some other close areas too.
Another fish that really starts to show up around the inlets of Southeast North Carolina is the goodâ€™ole Bluefish and during April you can catch some bigger Bluefish too.Â These blues will hit Berkley Gulp 7â€ť jerkshads in colors pearl and pearl/chart pepper; hard baits like big poppers and spoons like a Sea striker Jig-fish one ounce or bigger will also get these choppers to bite.Â Donâ€™t forget the steal leaders for these fish or they will get a free lure form you every time!Â Try light single strand wire in sizes #2, #3 or #4 will keep your lures on the end of your line and not in a bluefishâ€™s pocket!Â I catch Blues in the one to fifteen pound range during April.
Towards early to mid April the Bonita and False Albacore should show up just offshore of Wrightsville.Â Trolling Clark spoons and small deep driver lures can be the key to success some days for the Bonita and Albacore.Â When using the Clark spoons, I would recommend the pink flash spoon in sizes #00, #0 and #1; the pink flash series has really helped me put more fish in the boat.Â A bird rig on top with a Clark spoon about five to six feet behind it or Blue water Candy Spanish daisy chain (blue, silver, pink) have worked very well for me on top too.Â Look for birds working or marking bait on you fish finder is the way to find the feeding fish.Â When the fish are not on top, Iâ€™ve caught some nice Blues and a few Bonita by casting a spoon out and letting it sink down before reeling is in.Â Iâ€™ve found that some times these fish are deeper and you can get them by getting down to deeper water.
I know I talk about the Redfish (Red Drum) a lot, but hey they are one of my favorites to catch!Â In April we are going to see the Redfish really start to move around and one thing Iâ€™ve found is if theyâ€™re moving around they are looking for food.Â If they are looking for food then they are probably going to bite your hook!Â In April I rely on artificial baits or fresh cut bait to catch spring Reds.Â You cannot go wrong with Berkley Gulp three inch Shrimp in colors molting, sugar spice glow and new penny.Â Rigging the Gulp baits on light jig heads (1/8oz & 1/4oz) in colors reds and gray should get the Reds to bite for you.Â If you would rather use cut bait, rig fresh shrimp or mullet on a light Carolina rig with a L42 number one size hook.Â Look for the Reds on the edges of oyster rocks, mash grass edges, ICW docks and creek mouths.
There is one fish that a lot of anglers over look in April and that is the Black Drum.Â What I love about these fish is you can catch them in good numbers this time of year and there great to eat!Â On top of all that they are also easy to catch; use a light two hook bottom rig with number two or number three size eagle claw bait holder hooks.Â I make my own rigs with thirty pound fluorocarbon leader by making two overhand knots to put the hooks on.Â I prefer as fresh as I can get shrimp for black drum fishing.Â Fish these rigs around docks, oyster rocks and
inlets for Black Drum; you might even get a Redfish mixed in as well. I will sometimes catch two Black Drum at the same time on the same rig; thatâ€™s what I call good fishing!
Cape Fear River Striped Bass can bite very well in April too, but the fish move around a lot more during April, youâ€™ll find them at one spot one day and the next day they have moved on.Â In April the Stripers will start to move in to shallower waters, I look for the Stripers in three to ten feet of water in the early spring.Â This is when you need to also shallow up your presentation, go lighter with you tackle.Â I prefer Berkley Gulp jerkshad six inch and Berkley Havoc grass pig lures; I use colors pearl, chart pepper neon and new penny (swamp gas).Â Using swim bait hooks size 5/0 in 1/8 to 1/4 ounce made by Moaner hooks should put a Striper on the end of your line!Â Look for Cape Fear River Stripers around mud-flat edges, bulk-heads and shallow reed-grass edges on sunny warmer days.
Also in the Cape Fear River I really enjoy heading to Lock & Dam #1 on the Cape Fear River during April to catch large American shad on light tackle and Fly tackle.Â Casting shad darts in bright colors and shad fly is the way to catch the shad.Â I use a double shad dart rig, this makes it easier to cast the light darts and sometimes you get two shad at the same time!Â The shad run in the one to a few over four pounds; super fun on fly and light tackle setups â€śpoor mans Tarponâ€ť!
Tackle run down: PENN Battle II & Clash Spinning reels (1000 shad fishing), 2500 & 3000 sizes.Â Rods: PENN Battalion rods 6â€™6â€ť & 7â€™ medium and med/heavy action.Â Line Spiderwire Ultra-cast in (six pound shad fishing) ten and fifteen pound.Â Berkley Pro Spec fluorocarbon leader material for all my leaders.
Thanks for reading, good spring fishing & weather to you!
Capt. Jot Owens
PENN Tackle Elite Staff
Ranger Boats Pro Staff