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Southeast NC Inshore Fishing Forecast-March 2016

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.  The baitfishes are not really moving yet, but the crustaceans are coming out of the mud and the Redfish know it!

On warmer days the crustaceans will move more and 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.  You usually do not see as big of fish in March, but the numbers can be good some days.  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 in the 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 5/0 in 1/8 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 them 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.  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 sizes2500, 3000 & 4000 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
Ranger Boats Pro Staff
www.captainjot.com
910-233-4139

Posted in Fishing Reports on March 3rd, 2016 | Comments Off

Southeast NC Inshore February Fishing Forecast/Report 2016

And the rollercoaster of winter is almost here, it’s called February!  February can be a 50/50 kind of month.  Some years good, some years bad; I prefer a normal to a bit milder kind of February myself!  Most years you need to pick the best days to go fishing around the Cape Fear area waters; warmer days with less wind are the keys to better winter fishing trips; “pick your days” and the fishing will be better!

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 black in the Havoc grass pig. I rig my jerkshad and grass pigs on Moaner Stroker swim bait hooks, in 1/4oz weight; check out Moaner.com for great hooks at great prices!  Mid water crank baits work too, try lures that dive from three to eight feet deep for best results.  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.

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.  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.

Here is the winter seminars, tackle sales and meet & greets I’ll be attending:

~I’ll be speaking at the Angler Academy in Charleston, SC on Saturday January 30th. The Angler Academy is held during the great Charleston boat show location Charleston Convention Center 5001 Coliseum Drive North Charleston, SC You are invited to learn the latest in techniques and tackle from the region’s leading fishing guides.  www.angleracademy.fish

~Saltwater Sportsman National Seminar Series in Savannah, GA on February 6th A strong lineup of the region’s guides and Captains from offshore to inshore we cover it here.
www.nationalseminarseries.com

~Bass Pro Shops Spring Fishing Classic in Cary, NC February 20th & 21st This is Bass Pro’s Big Spring fishing tackle and sale.  I’ll be at the Cary, NC store for meet & greet also to help you find the tackle you need for your spring fishing adventure! www.basspro.com

~Capt. Jot’s Inshore Fishing schools March and April are sold out, but I’ll do them again next year so keep your eye here for the announcement during late November 2016.

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

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

Posted in Fishing Reports on January 20th, 2016 | Comments Off

Wrightsville Beach, NC-Fishing Forecast December 2015

December; can you believe it?  November’s Speckled trout fishing was GREAT; I’m guessing December will be great too and the trout will be bigger!  We’ve had a pretty mild fall and it looks like this December should be very good Speckled trout fishing along with a few other species around Wrightsville Beach, 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; bigger lures=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 three inch Ripple mullet.  All the colors have worked well for me, but here is a few that I like for trout (shrimp pattern); Watermelon red glitter, rootbeer/gold, pearl white and new penny.  Berkley Gulp’s Ripple Mullet in colors glow/chartreuse, pearl, rootbeer gold/chart, pink and goby magic/chart are all good trout baits.   All of these baits have Gulps great scent, great action and come in some great colors too!

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, new 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.

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).  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 and 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 Berkley NanoFil (trout fishing) in eight, ten or twelve pound test.

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

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

Posted in Fishing Reports on December 7th, 2015 | Comments Off

Wrightsville Beach, NC-Fishing Forecast November 2015

November; Fall has officially arrived at Wrightsville Beach and that means great fall fishing!  When I think of November I think of Speckled trout fishing; November is the peak month around Wrightsville for trout!  Here is the way I target Speckled trout and a few others during the month of November.

In early 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!

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 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 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’x Tackle shop)  Any local tackle shop can help you with these color codes.  Depths to use these lures; 17MR & 27 MR 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.

If you have ever done any trout fishing at all you know that a grub (soft plastic) lures work very good 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 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.

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 Wrightsville Beach 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!

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 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.
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.

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

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

Posted in Fishing Reports on November 2nd, 2015 | Comments Off

Wrightsville Beach, NC-Fishing Forecast October 2015

After a lot of rain at the beginning of October we are finally seeing stable weather with fall like temps!  This will really get the Fall fishing in to high gear!  Here are the fish I target during October and how I like to fish for them.

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 the newer 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 catch 2000 jr: on very calm mornings try a MirrOlure She pup top water plug will get those trout to blow-up out of the water!  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 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 a 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 net.

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 Sebile’s Ghost Walker.  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; 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 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.

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 Clash Spinning reels 2000,2500, & 3000 sizes for the Redfish, Speckled trout, Spanish, Albacore and Flounder. Bull Reds PENN Fathom casting reels or SpinFisher 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.
Capt. Jot Owens
PENN Tackle Elite Staff
Ranger Boats Pro Staff
www.captainjot.com
910-233-4139

Posted in Fishing Reports on October 8th, 2015 | Comments Off

Wrightsville Beach, NC September Fishing Forecast

 

Fall is trying so very hard to show up around the area but, with these weather changes comes ‘weather’ and for the last few weeks it’s been in the form of rain and thunderstorms!  Hopefully the rains will slow down and we’ll start to see some breaks of cooler weather! I’m sure ready to see some cooler fall weather!

With all this talk of cooler fall weather, one fish that pops up on my radar is the very fun to catch Speckled trout and will not be long before they are here in good numbers!  My easy break down of what lures I use are by current flow and water death.  I prefer baits like MirrOlure’s 17MR and catch 2000jr in waters of two to six feet deep with light or no current.  In deeper waters of five to fifteen plus feet with or without current I prefer MirrOlure’s 18MR and 52M & MR (slow sinking) As far as colors go try this rule of thumb; lighter colors in clearer blue & green waters and darker colors in river, tannic or stained waters.

I will use grubs in any water death or current when trout fishing, but I’ll adjust the weight of the jig head for the death or current of the water I’m fishing.  Try lures like the Berkley Gulp Fire Tail 3” shrimp or the newer 3” Ripple Mullet for Speckled trout.  Another lure that works well for trout is Saltwater Assassin’s Sea shad series, try colors like chicken on a chain, chart/diamond, copperhead, rainbow trout or 10w40 with lime tail.  One thing I really believe in is using fluorocarbon leaders for Speckled trout fishing; these fish have very good eye sight.  Using fluorocarbon will help you catch more trout; try Berkley’s new Pro Spec fluorocarbon leader material. As the local waters cool the trout fishing will only get better!

The Bull Reds (over slot) are really starting to show up in the ocean on hard bottoms, shoals and around the inlets.  You never know when you might hook one of these giants!  When I fish for Bull Reds, I use fresh cut or live menhaden and mullet.  I use fish finder/carolina rigs with 5/0 to 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 there 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 Bull Reds out there.

This has been a good Flounder season for me and for that reason I’ve run a lot of Flounder trips this season with good success.  One thing we have seen this year is that the Flounder fishing has been good inshore but better in the ocean this season, giving us lots of opportunities to flounder fish.  Live bait as well as artificial lures has put lots of flounder in the boat for us.  Carolina rigs with Eagle Claw L42 1/0 size hooks and forty pound clear fluorocarbon leader works well.  Small finger mullets, small menhaden and mud minnows are our choice live baits.

Berkley Gulp Jerkshad in 5” & 6” colors pearl, chart pepper neon or new penny and 4” Ripple mullets if you would like to use artificial baits.  The flounder are hanging around inlets, channel drops and creeks inshore.  In the ocean near shore artificial reefs, ledges and hard/live bottoms are holding some nice numbers of flounder too.  During September the fall southern bait run will start to crank up, when this happens the Flounder will turn up a notch or two!

Fishing Gear I use:

Reels: Speckled trout and Flounder: PENN Battle II spinning in sizes 2000, 2500 & 3000 sizes.  Bull Reds Fishing reels: PENN Battle II 6000 & 7000, PENN Fathom 12 & 15 or Torque 12 & 15.  Line: Spiderwire Ultra-cast 10 and 15 pound.  Bull Reds Line: 30 or 40 pound Berkley Big Game Mono.  Rods: (Inshore) PENN Battalion.  Bull Reds Rods: PENN Rampage jigging series in 30-80 class spinning and casting.  Leader material: (inshore) Berkley Pro Spec fluorocarbon in thirty to forty pound, Bull Reds; Berkley Big Game mono & Fluorocarbon in eighty to one hundred pound.

*Are you on Facebook?  Check out my page Capt. Jot Owens/Jot It Down Fishing Charters LLC for lots of good info on local fishing, fishing tips, detailed live reports, photos and tackle giveaways; yes free stuff!

Thanks for reading, if you have any questions or comments just let me know.  Don’t’ forget to take a kid fishing!

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

 

Posted in Fishing Reports on September 1st, 2015 | Comments Off

Wrightsville Beach, NC area water Fishing Forecast August

August fishing around Southeast NC can be great, but due to a few different weather scenarios; high heat, super dry, super wet etc… you may need to tune how you fish during August.  Go earlier or much later in the day, if we have had lots of rain, look for cleaner waters to fish etc… By making adjustments will increase your chances of catching more during August hot dog days!

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.  Berkley Gulp Jerkshad in five and six inch and colors of new penny, pearl white and chart pepper neon are all good.  Also try Berkley’s Havoc Grass Pig lure in colors, chartreuse, pearl white silver and swamp gas.  I rig these lures on long hook shank jig heads in 1/4oz, 3/8oz and 1/2oz weights in colors red, gray or white.

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  and 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!

North Carolina is not really known for Tarpon fishing but we do see a few 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.  It not easy to catch a NC Tarpon, but I promise if you do or even just jump one off; you will try again!

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 circle hook with one foot of ninety pound wire and six to eight feet of eighty pound mono leader.  I push down the hook barb on my shark hooks for easy release of the shark if you like.  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 plus 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 9/0 to 12/0 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).

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

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

Posted in Fishing Reports on July 28th, 2015 | Comments Off

Wrightsville Beach area waters Fishing Forecast May/June

May around Wrightsville Beach is when most of our summer species really start to bite well and by June the fishing is in full swing!  I love May and June because there are so many different fish to target, if ones not biting that day you can easily go target a different species.  Here are some of my “goto” Wrightsville May & June fish.

As the weather stabilizes and the temps go up in May we see a lot more days where we can get out in the ocean and look for those high speed, and good eating Bonita in earlier May and Spanish mackerel all May & June long.  These fish are a lot of fun to see busting the surface of the water and even more fun to see on the end of your line!  Casting small spoons or using fly gear in weights six to eight can make for a great challenge on this light tackle.  Look for these fish to be hanging around near shore artificial reefs, ledges and inlets.  Trolling Clark spoons and small deep driver lures can be the key to success some days for the Bonita and Spanish mackerel.  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.  You might come over a few False Albacore and Bluefish mixed in with the Bonita and Spanish from time to time.

Redfish; May & June go hand and hand, these months are some of my favorite for casting artificial lures to them.  Reds really start to settle down in their summer spots by mid May.  Casting Berkley Gulp Shrimp in three inch size on light jig heads is one of my go to baits for early summer Redfish.  My go to colors are sugar spice glow, new penny, Rootbeer gold/chart tail and natural.  Another fun way to catch Redfish is casting top-water plugs like MirrOlure’s Top pup and Sebile’s slim Stick; cast these plugs along mash grass lines and oyster flats. You can also cast popping or rattling corks in these shallow areas with a Berkley Gulp three inch and catch the Redfish too.  If you would rather go the bait route; try some fresh cut Mullet or Menhaden on a light Carolina rig.  Try fishing fresh cut bait around docks in the ICW or along creek mouths when the tide is moving this should work for most of the summer.

The bigger Reds are starting to show up in the ocean on hard bottoms and around the inlets by late May.  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.

May & early June is a great time for gator (bigger) Speckled trout; some of my personal largest Specks have come in May to mid June.  Most of the bigger trout I see in this month’s come off top-water plugs.  My favorite is the MirrOlure Top dog, She dog and Sebile’s slim stick; these noisy baits really make the trout come right out of the water after them!  Another great bait for bigger trout is the Berkley Gulp five or six inch Jerkshad in colors pearl white and new penny; rigging on light swim-bait hooks.  Live Shrimp, small Mullets and Menhaden on float rigs or very light Carolina rigs will also catch those gators!

By mid to late May the Cobia start to show up around Wrightsville; one of my favorites and will run good until early July most years.  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 so clear it has been easier to see those brown logs in the water.  We are throwing big jigs, swim baits and live bait to the Cobia.  Color really does not seem to matter; but “go bright”!  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, blues and mullet as bait.  Sometimes a great bonus fish when fishing for Cobia is a nice bull Redfish.  You can chum if you like, but the sharks and Rays will come and they will come in numbers!

With the warmer weather the Flounder will finally start showing up in better numbers, there are still a lot of smaller ones inshore, but the bigger ones will really start showing up in May!  Most of the Flounder fishing I’m doing is just off the beach and around the inlets.  I’ve caught Flounder on both live and artificial baits in May, what I have seen is more numbers on live bait, but more keepers on artificial baits.  Mud minnows on light Carolina rigs with #one L42 Eagle Claw hooks will catch the numbers of Flounder.  Berkley Gulp Jerkshad in five & six inch sizes will get the most keeper Flounder.  I rig these Jerkshad on 1/4oz, 3/8oz and 1/2oz jig heads with longer hook shanks in red or gray color.

Tackle run down: PENN Battle II & Conflict Spinning reels 2000, 2500, 3000 and 4000 sizes.  Rods: PENN Battalion 6’6” and 7’ Med-light and Medium rods.  Line Spiderwire Ultra-cast in ten and fifth-teen pound.  Cobia/Bull Reds Reels PENN Fathom 20LW or 25LW with a PENN Rampage Jigging rod 50 to 100 pound class.

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

Posted in Fishing Reports on April 14th, 2015 | Comments Off

Wrightsville Beach, NC Fishing Report Winter 2015

This winter has been up and down; really 74` one day and 47` the next day, am I seeing double???  The fishing overall even with this weather has been pretty good most days.  I’ve said once, I have said it 1000 times; you really have to pick your fishing days during the winter months here in Southeast NC!  Trust me give a day or two and the weather will be warmer and drier, just give it some time; you’ll see!

The Red fishing lately has been pretty good most days when the wind is not howling and we’ve seen some nice schools of Reds.  Warmer, sunny and lower wind days can be the key to catching these inshore winter Redfish.  It’s not hard to catch them once you find’em, look for these Reds in creeks with dark colored bottoms and oyster rocks never hurt.  Scented soft plastics like Berkley Gulp should do the trick to get these Reds to hit.  Patterns in Gulp like Shrimp in sizes 2” and 3” are my go too; I’m keeping the baits smaller.  Colors that seem to work the best are pearl, molting and new penny; the new Fire tail colors work great too!  When the rains come down and stains up the water try to go to darker color patterns, this will help you get more bites.

Try lighter jig heads like 1/16oz and 1/8oz when winter fishing; lighter jig heads help you to work the lure much slower and will still look natural.  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!

Surf Reds have been hit or miss; I believe that a lot of the Reds are still up in the creeks due to all the up and down weather this season.  I have caught a few good days of surf Reds when the weather is just right.  Casting Berkley Gulp Ripple mullets on 1/4oz and 3/8oz jig heads in colors Rootbeer gold and New penny’ or MirrOlure Catch 2000’s; don’t forget that fluorocarbon leader this time of year the water is super clear most days!

I’ve made quite a few trips to the Cape Fear River year; there are three different kinds of fish to chase in the Cape Fear, Catfish, Striped Bass and even a hand full of nice Redfish most all winter long.  Here is a few ways to put a CFR Striper on your line.  Try Berkley Gulp Jerkshad in five and six inch size; in pearl white or new penny colors and Berkley Havoc Grass Pigs. Work these baits slowly and always rig them weed-less; there are many hangs in the Cape Fear River.  Try a Moaner swim bait hook with the Berkley Jerkshad or grass pig; this is a great hook at a great price. www.moanerhooks.com  I use the weighted Stroker hook in 1/4oz 5/0.   Look for Stripers on drop-offs, dock pilings and reed-grass lines.  The Cape Fear River Striped Bass fishing is a closed fishery; all Stripers must be released.

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 an Eagle claw L42 2/0 to 4/0 hook with fifty or eighty 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’!

Tackle run down: PENN Battle II & Conflict Spinning reels sizes 2500, 3000 & 4000 for the Redfish and Striped Bass.  PENN Battalion in 6’6” & 7’ medium and med/hvy action; line Spiderwire Ultra-cast in ten and fifth-teen pound; Berkley Pro Spec Fluorocarbon leader for my leader material.

If you have any questions about the tactics I use fishing the local waters please e-mail me or catch me on Face Book at:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Capt-Jot-OwensJot-It-Down-Fishing-Charters-LLC/134340373310487

Thanks for reading and have a Happy New Year!

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

Posted in Fishing Reports on December 30th, 2014 | Comments Off

Wrightsville Beach, NC Fishing Report/Forecast November 2014

Where has this year gone???  Wow its November already, hey the good news is it’s time for another one of my favorites to fish for; Speckled trout.  These fish are a challenge to catch “sometimes” and it’s a light tackle fishery!  Here is how I catch trout and a few other species during November.

In early 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; whether it’s 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 banks with oyster rocks that run in to a channel or along a marsh grass bank with oysters and drop-offs in channels are all good places to find Speckled trout in November.  Later in November I start to find the trout in the above area as well as around the inlets in good numbers.

One key point to trout fishing I’ve found is that most days Specks will bite, but what are they hitting that day?  I’ve found that hard baits work through November and catch all sizes of speckled trout.  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.  The patterns I prefer are the Catch 2000, 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 and HP.  Any local tackle shop can help you with these color codes or go to www.MirrOlure.com  for a color chart.

If you have ever done any trout fishing at all you know that a grub (soft plastic) lures work very good for Speckled trout too!  Berkley Gulp shrimp three inch is a great bait form Berkley, I really like these baits.  The colors I prefer in the Fire tail shrimp are rootbeer/gold chart tail, Cajun purple/chart tail, watermelon red glitter/chart tail and glow white/glow chart tail.  In non fire tail color I like sugar spice glow. Saltwater Assassin’s four inch sea shad in colors chicken on a chain, sweet pea, mullet, Green moon, rainbow trout and cantaloupe are all good choices in November as well.  Remember when it comes to color; try light colors in clear water and darker colors in stained or dirty waters.  The color chicken on a chain is great when the water gets stained from rain; which sometimes we get lots of in the fall around here!

Don’t count out live bait if you would rather fish 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.  In deeper waters of six to ten plus I rig them on light Carolina rigs with a small #1 J-hook.  Just wait until you feel that trout take off with the bait and lightly set the hook, remember trout have very soft mouths.

The Redfish bite can be good during November, sometimes while trout fishing I find nice schools of Redfish.  November can also be a very good mouth for large schools of Reds in the surf or the creeks.  Casting lures to these Reds like Berkley Gulp Ripple mullets or five inch jerkshads will surely get you a bite!  Most all the time when I find Redfish in November they are hungry and ready to bite.

The Flounder fishing starts to slow down in later November, but you can still catch some big ones during November.  A couple of years ago I had a client put a eight and a half pounder in the boat while we were trout fishing during November; talk about a fight on very light tackle!

There will also be just about all the Bluefish you can handle during November as well.  Just look for the birds and bait schools close to the local inlets and cast metal spoons at these bait schools.  99.9% of the time there will be Bluefish there, just about every cast!  Don’t’ forget to beef up your leader when catching Bluefish; I use forty or fifty pound fluorocarbon or mono when casting to Bluefish.  You surely do not want to lose those trout lures to a bluefish!

Tackle run down: PENN Battle II or Conflict  Spinning reels sizes 2000, 2500 & 3000 for the Bluefish, Redfish and Speckled trout.  Rods PENN Battalion 6’6” & 7’ med/light and medium action; line Spiderwire Ultra-cast in eight, ten and fifth-teen pound.  Leaders:  Berkley Pro Spec Fluorocarbon leader material in 20 or 30 pound.

*Are you on Facebook?  Check out my page Capt. Jot Owens/Jot It Down Fishing Charters LLC for lots of good info on local fishing, fishing tips, detailed live reports, photos, videos and tackle giveaways; yes free stuff!

Thanks for reading these reports, if you have any questions or comments just let me know.  Don’t’ forget to take a kid fishing and have a great Thanksgiving!

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

Posted in Fishing Reports on October 31st, 2014 | Comments Off
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