I think Mother Nature is a Gemini (my wife is one too)and has been quite the tease here lately. You know what they say, “If ya don’t like the weather in North Carolina just blink.” My poor garden is freaking out and the fish don’t know if they are coming or going. Hopefully, she will settle down and figure out which way she wants to go.
The red drum are beginning to bite a little and school up. The surf has got some decent fish in it if you are in the right place at the right time. There are some large schools on the shoals of Riches and Topsail inlet. You will need a bright sunny day with calm seas. Look for the dark patches, which will probably be a school of 300-400 fish. The new “Savage” shrimp baits are super hot for anything that eats shrimp, and red drum love shrimp. If the reds won’t take an artificial because they are cold and sluggish try using a whole peeled fresh / frozen shrimp or a strip of cut mullet on a jig head. Blind casting with MR-17 Mirrolures has been effective as well at the inlets. If you want to locate some on the soundside use the Savage shrimp and look for schools just outside the mouths of the creeks.
There are some speckled trout on the soundside; but of course, that fishery is shut down. You can catch them, but they must be released. If you do want to go after them please consider not using treble hooks. The canals and mouths of the canals have been holding good numbers of them. The new Live Target shrimp are super baits for this.
The piers have been reporting good numbers of those delicious blowfish as well as a few small sharks and skates. The sea mullet are not here yet but should go on the feed any day now.
Wow, it has been a cold and busy winter. I did not get a chance to do much hunting or fishing between the terrible weather and being a dad and husband. I am now the Cub Master for pack 777, Wolf Den leader, youth soccer coach, tackle shop owner, charter booking agent and have decided to run for Pender County commissioner. I hope to be able to squeeze some fishing time in between all of that, but goodness I need about six more hours in the day. Can’t wait till I see those first yellow butterflies. Rest assured once you start seeing them get the boat gassed up because it will be go time!
Capt. Chris Medlin is a third-generation tackle shop owner and charter captain. He makes his home on Topsail but loves fishing all over. Most of the time you can find him at East Coast Sports in Surf City or just contact him through his website at Eastcoastsports.com.