Pamlico/Neuse – August, 2020
Donald, of Custom Marine Fabrication, reports that red drum and striper are feeding around structured areas of the river shoreline.
Flounder, though not quite open, are hitting Carolina-rigged live baits along shoal and shoreline ledges.
Citation-class red drum are starting to show up in the sound. Their numbers aren’t consistent yet, but it’s suggested that anglers always carry a larger setup with a popping cork rig in case of finding a school of fish.
Tarpon have been hitting bottom-rigged live baits from the mouth of the river out to shoals in the sound.
Gary, of Spec Fever Guide Service, reports that the river has been having a great speckled trout bite, with fish responding well to topwater plugs in the early mornings.
Puppy drum are being caught in good numbers on recent trips, with the number of slot-sized fish getting better. They have been hanging on ledges and grass banks holding bait.
Some black drum are in these same areas, with shrimp being a favorite bait.
A few “old” red drum have shown up in the river, with most still holding out in the sound. Anglers look forward to these fish pushing into the shoals to be targeted with larger popping cork and Pop ‘n Fly rigs (for fly fish enthusiasts). These larger fish call for larger baits, with 5” Storm soft plastics being a good starting point. Color always varies year to year, but white seems to always work.
James, of Neuse River Adventures, reports that the topwater fishing in and around New Bern has been great, with both striped bass and red drum highly active.
Anglers fishing soft plastics along deeper, structured shorelines are finding speckled trout and flounder.
Citation-class red drum are beginning to come into the river behind all this bait. It’s a great idea to be prepared for stumbling into a school of these fish, which are quick to hit large popping cork rigs when feeding.
Jeff, of Salt and Swamp Guide Service, reports that anglers have been catching really good numbers of puppy drum. These fish are holding on ledges and grass banks hitting Carolina-rigged live and cut mullet.
Speckled trout anglers will have success working the flats with popping corks and Vudu shrimp. As the sun rises, these fish will push into nearby deep holes, where Carolina-rigged live baits will get the most action.
Flounder are being hooked (and released) on bottom-rigged live baits.
Striper action has been good upriver on topwater plugs. Targeting shoreline structure, especially those with drop-off areas, has been extremely productive. The stripers will sit on the lip of these breaks and wait for baits to come off the shallow flats.
Citation-class red drum are showing up in the river, with most still being hooked as by-catch by anglers targeting speckled trout with popping cork setups.
Todd, of Neuse River Bait and Tackle, reports that recent topwater fishing action has been on fire. Anglers getting out early on these days with light winds are reaping the rewards from speckled trout downriver and stripers up around New Bern.
The speckled trout this summer have been a good-sized (25-28”) class of fish. Topwater plugs early, and then live shrimp around deeper banks through the hotter part of the day has been the recipe for success.
Striped bass have been further upriver, staged up in areas with a lot of bait.
Sheepshead fishing has been outstanding on the river, with fish holding around many of the docks and pilings down to the sound. Carolina-rigged live fiddler crabs are their top choice in bait.
Black drum are being caught right alongside the sheepshead. They’re also feeding on crabs.
Citation-class red drum fishing is just getting started. These groups of fish are following the huge amount of bait pushing into the local rivers.
Jay, of East Side Bait and Tackle, reports that speckled trout fishing has been good from the Swan Quarter area out to the sound. These fish are hitting both artificial and live baits fished under corks. Some trout are being caught closer to Washington, but with the hot summer days, these fish are looking for higher salinity and cooler water temperatures.
Black drum and flounder are rounding out the recent catches, with both species being caught from deeper holes and around structure.
Anglers are loading up on 5” soft plastics and bigger corks in anticipation of the large red drum that are beginning to push in from the sounds. Look for these fish to be feeding on baits around the edges of shoals and channels.
Mitchell, of FishIBX, reports that there has been a great mix of fish coming from lower sections of the Neuse and Pamlico rivers. With the mid-summer weather, fishing early in the moring is important when targeting the flats or river shorelines. Once the sun is up, look for the fish to slide deeper.
Recent catches include red drum, flounder, trout, spot, sea mullet, and sand perch. All of these species have preferred natural baits over artificials, which can be expected during the season.
Tarpon are being spotted (and sometimes hooked) around shoals out into the sound. This fishery takes a lot of time (and luck) to be successful. In the meantime, there will be plenty of large rays to test your gear.
Trophy class red drum are starting to pop up in the area. The run of bait over the next couple weeks should see this great fishery start to light up.