Pamlico/Neuse – September, 2020
Donald, of Custom Marine Fabrication, reports that citation red drum and some tarpon are feeding on bait schools pushing into the lower Neuse from the sound. Anglers are having success with both large popping cork rigs and cut bait fished on Lupton rigs.
Flounder season opened up, and the fish were ready to act. Carolina-rigged live baits worked along river edges has been landing some good-sized (18+”) flatfish. Soft plastics are another great option when baits are getting torn up by unwanted species.
These same live baits are hooking anglers into a few slot redfish.
Gary, of Spec Fever Guide Service, reports that citation-class red drum have begun to push into the river even though the bait hasn’t quite made the move. The bite has been a bit scattered over the first few weeks of action, but in the next month, it should break wide open. Fly fishing anglers in particular have been extremely successful with this early run of fish while working Pop ‘N Fly rigs. The go-to popping corks with larger Storm soft plastics are always productive when keyed in on bait schools running along shoal edges.
Slot-sized red drum are up on the shallow river shorelines hitting topwater plugs well in the early mornings. After about noon, switching to smaller soft plastics under popping corks works best.
Schools of bluefish and spanish mackerel are feeding in deeper areas of the river and bring a nice bonus species to daily trips.
James, of Neuse River Adventures, reports that topwater fishing around New Bern has been awesome. A mix of stripers and redfish are hitting plugs worked along structured banks and river ledges from early in the day well into the afternoon heat.
Fishing baits deeper with Z-Man and similar swimbait-style soft plastics on jig heads is producing good numbers of speckled trout and (finally) keeper flounder.
Reports of large red drum are filtering in from anglers downriver. As more bait pushes in over the coming weeks, this bite will really fire up.
Jeff, of Salt and Swamp Guide Service, reports that topwater fishing has been good for anglers on the water early. A mix of speckled trout, redfish, and striped bass are hitting white-bellied Heddon Spooks along river shorelines. The bite is short lived unless there’s overcast weather, where action runs straight through noon. As the sun heats up the day, look for the fish to slide into the 8-15’ depth range.
Nice-sized flounder (up to 20+”) are hitting Carolina-rigged live baits and soft plastics dragged along grass lines and river ledges.
Large red drum are starting to be caught, with more showing up each day. Finding this early run of drum has been difficult with many of the bait schools holding deep. Z-Man and Yum soft plastics fished under popping corks is the favorite rig for hooking into a trophy redfish.
Todd, of Neuse River Bait and Tackle, reports that big red drum fishing has been solid to start off the season. Bites have been scattered as the bait begins to filter into the river. It’s been most important to focus on finding areas of good bottom contour holding these groups of baitfish.
Casting large soft plastics under Blabbermouth or Four Horsemen popping corks around these flipping baits could get the big strike that anglers look for. Over the first few weeks of September, the bite heads towards a peak where double-digit fish days are possible.
Slot-sized red drum are being caught on Carolina-rigged live mullet and mud minnows fished along the river shorelines into the creeks.
Black drum and good-sized sheepshead (up to 21”) are holding tight to pilings and rock structure, and they’re hitting live fiddler crabs.
Speckled trout fishing remains steady in the lower river and into the sound. Shoreline edges with shrimp and soft plastics under popping corks are great spots to target these groups of fish.
Plenty of flounder are around the river. The flatfish are hitting Gulp baits and Carolina-rigged mud minnows.
Jay, of East Side Bait and Tackle, reports that flounder fishing has been very good along the river shorelines. Carolina-rigged live baits are the best setup for targeting the flatfish now that keeper season has opened.
Puppy drum are hitting the same live baits fished along structured shorelines.
Speckled trout are pushed down near the sound, and they’re feeding along shoreline edges and creek mouths. Live shrimp is the best bait if you can keep away bait stealers, with soft plastics under popping corks being a more durable rig.
Anglers are reporting good numbers of tarpon rolling in the sound. Fishing live bait is the best bet to get hooked up.
Citation class red drum are beginning to show up in better numbers, with more bait pushed into the sound. Areas around the mouth of the Pungo River have been producing action for local anglers. It is still early in the reds’ fall run, and it’s shaping up to be a great one.
Mitchell, of FishIBX, reports that trophy class red drum have showed up in the area and are hitting a variety of artificial baits. The drum are active enough to strike topwaters, which have anglers amazed to see these huge fish crush plugs. It has been a great change from the standard soaking bait on circle hook method.
Speckled trout fishing has been outstanding on some days. Fishing live shrimp and artificial baits that mimic a shrimp’s pattern have been best.
Flounder season opened up to large numbers of anglers targeting all areas of the rivers looking for the flatfish. Soft plastics on jig heads dragged slowly along the bottom has gotten anglers the action they look for. If the bite slows, switching to Carolina-rigged mullet or similar baitfish will produce bites.