For up to date live fishing reports, photos, free tackle giveaways - visit my facebook page!

Wrightsville Beach, NC-Fishing Forecast February 2018

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
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.  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

Posted in Fishing Reports on February 1st, 2018 | Comments Off

Comments are closed.