Fall Color l Fall Fishing
Past 2012 Fall Fishing Reports
Miss one of North Carolina’s 2012 Fall Fishing Reports? No problem! You can find all of the past reports here.
November 28th Weekly Report
The holiday weekend was marked by windy, cool weather here at the coast. That, however, did not deter inshore anglers from getting to the water.
Spotted seatrout were again the big story up and down the coast. Beach anglers from Kitty Hawk to Wrightsville were able to find days that were pleasant enough to catch some beautiful fish. Estuary anglers did very well catching plenty of nice specks in all our coastal rivers. Red drum, flounder and striped bass were also in the mix in many of those areas.
Ben Barwick, 6, caught this red drum all on his own during a fishing that he, his dad and grandfather enjoyed out of Oriental with Capt. Gary Dubiel.
Many anglers associate striped bass fishing with the migratory fish that come to North Carolina each winter from as far away as Maine. In fact, each of our large coastal rivers and sound systems has its own population of striped bass, often referred to as estuarine fish. The Roanoke River / Albemarle Sound, Tar-Pamlico River, Neuse River and Cape Fear River all have their own distinct population of stripers. This gives North Carolina anglers opportunities to tangle with some great game fish all year round, but it is in the late fall and winter that large schools of aggressive striped bass can complete a great day of fishing for those willing to wet a line in places like New Bern, Washington and Plymouth. This past week those anglers did very well, not only on stripers but seatrout and red drum as well.
This weekend’s forecast is looking better, so no excuses: Head to the coast for some fine fishing.
November 21st Weekly Report
“What do you call the day before the wind blows?” I was asked by a famous fisherman one day. “Friday,” he said.
Well that has seemed to be true the last several weekends as another Nor’easter pushed off our coast. Anglers should not be discouraged, however. The inshore and backwaters have produced some of the finest fall fishing you’ll find anywhere, wind or no wind.
Our coastal rivers and sounds offer anglers protection against the wind, and in some instances hard offshore breezes may even make things a little better. Much of the western Pamlico Sound and its two major river systems have no lunar rise and fall in tide, and hard offshore winds elevate water levels, pushing bait and predatory fish to the banks – perfect for those of us willing to brave a little weather.
Commander Stan Napierkowski, United States Navy (Retired), enjoyed his Veterans Day catching false albacore while fishing with Capt. Gary near Morehead City. Stan and his wife moved to Morehead City after his retirement.
Although fishing near the beaches will slow with the weather, this weekend anglers in Nags Head, Morehead City, Swansboro and Wilmington can find plenty of great inshore fishing in the sounds. The speck bite has been red hot in all these coastal areas.
Early last week weather conditions were perfect, and plenty of great fishing was had off the piers and beaches along the length of the state. Specks dominated the reports, but red drum, bluefish, flounder, black drum and a variety of other bottom fishes were also caught. Fly and light tackle anglers leaving from Morehead City, Beaufort and Harkers Island had outstanding catches of false albacore in the near shore waters as well, and there were good reports of a hot fall tuna bite from the Gulf Stream charters.
Don’t let the weather stop you from a coastal angling adventure this holiday weekend. Our inshore fishing is as good as you’ll find anywhere right now, so join us for some spectacular late fall fishing.
November 14th Weekly Report
Finally after Hurricane Sandy and a Nor’easter, the weather at the coast has been outstanding. Anglers have enjoyed picture-perfect fishing conditions with plenty of sun and very little breeze.
Perhaps some of the biggest angling news was the continuing epic fall fishing for spotted seatrout. One of the most popular game fish in the Southeast, this fall favorite has made its best showing on our coast in a number of years. Beach areas from Kitty Hawk and Nags Head right through to Emerald Isle have all enjoyed a banner fall of “speck” fishing. Likewise, interior coastal communities have also cashed in on great seatrout fishing. Engelhard, Belhaven, Bayboro, Oriental, Havelock, Aurora and other hamlets have all seen plenty of anglers and plenty of fish.
A fish by many names, spotted seatrout, trout, seatrout or specks may not be the biggest or hardest fighting fish, but for the joy of fishing there may be no finer fish. It is also a great fish for eating and is prized by those who enjoy a fresh seafood dinner. From families to seasoned anglers, getting into a great fall run of trout can be a memory that lasts a lifetime.
In addition to specks, anglers will also catch red drum, flounder and striped bass in many of those same areas and on the same lures, baits or flies. It’s even possible to land all four species, as anglers on one of my recent trips did.
Not to be left out, there are reports of a mighty fine mixed bag, including speck fishing coming out of Swansboro and Wilmington.
Near shore anglers have had good false albacore fishing as well as bluefish over the past couple of days, while great sea conditions have seen the offshore fleets from all out ports return to the Gulf Stream waters to find tuna and Wahoo.
There’s little left of fall and fall color, so head to the coast for blue, green, red or silver in the shape of one of our great fall fish.
November 7th Weekly Report
Fall fishing returned to the coast following Hurricane Sandy, although reports were a little sketchy coming from all areas of the coast and much of the offshore fleet remained in port.
Speckled seatrout and red drum fishing has been dynamite. The beaches and inlets from Kitty Hawk to Morehead City have reported excellent fishing. Most of the coastal rivers also produced with anglers on the Neuse, Bay and Pamlico Rivers catching many fish each day. Stripers and flounder have been taken with specks and reds on the Neuse River. Many anglers here have caught three or four species on an outing.
Ray Dubiel of Carnegie, Pa., caught this nice redfish and many more reds and specks on the fly rod near Oriental Nov. 5, 2012.
Closer to Wilmington, anglers are also finding good numbers of specks and reds in the marshes and creeks.
Bluefish remain plentiful at or near the beaches from Morehead City south, and with improving conditions for false albacore, near shore anglers have also been doing well.
There’s no reason not to come and enjoy great fall fishing here in North Carolina. We hope to see you all soon!
November 2nd update from the Outer Banks
The fishing has been bountiful for anglers on the Outer Banks heading into this weekend, with reports of both keeper and release-size puppy drum from Kill Devil Hills to Hatteras, and speckled trout north of Oregon Inlet. Take part in the puppy drum blitz by heading to the OBX.
Roads are clear and open from Duck to Nags Head and Manteo, and ferries are taking visitors from Ocracoke to Hatteras Village. There is a new ferry route from Stumpy Point on the mainland to Rodanthe on Hatteras Island, with NC 12 open between the villages.
Enjoying the day at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, where fishing has been favorable all week following Sandy.
The Cape Hatteras Angler’s Club Tournament will be held as scheduled November 7-10. If you have a taste for striped bass, the 15th Annual Rockfish Rodeo hosted by the Manteo Rotary Club will be held November 17, and Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head will host the Second Annual Redfish Saturday Tournament November 24.
See you there for a colorful fall experience on the water.
October 31st Weekly Report
Hurricane Sandy was the big story at the coast this past weekend. We’re hoping everyone and their property and all our coastal businesses come through the storm just fine.
This photo of the fall-favorite spotted seatrout, caught with a top water lure, was taken near New Bern Friday, Oct. 26, 2012.
We had good fishing coming into the storm, and when the winds subside mid-week, we’ll be right back on the water from the beaches, piers, rivers, sounds and the ocean enjoying some fine fall angling.
Until then, we wish we were fishing!
October 24th Weekly Report
Mother Nature smiled on the coast again this past week, as the weather and the fishing remain terrific. The sounds, surf and coastal waters all had plenty to offer.
Western Pamlico Sound anglers had some of the finest spotted seatrout angling in years, and the coastal rivers, creeks and marsh were on fire. The Neuse, Bay and Pamlico rivers all produce both quantity and quality of specks for anglers departing from Oriental, Bayboro and Swan Quarter. Red drum, flounder and striped bass were also in the mix.
Jack Painter of Avon with one of many spotted seatrout he caught on the Neuse River near Oriental this past week.
Swansboro is another outstanding spot location, and bottom anglers are gathering there to cash in on the fall run.
The Outer Banks has seen a terrific fall of fishing as well. Spotted seatrout fishing has been good along the beaches and in the sounds. Word has it that big schools of specks are headed south out of Virginia, and North Carolina anglers will soon have their shot at them along the beaches from Kitty Hawk to Hatteras. Spots, bluefish and red drum have been landed as well.
The Wilmington area continues to have excellent redfishing in the marshes, and the many light wind days are excellent for site casting to these powerful fish. Specks, flounder, bluefish, Spanish and king mackerel and a variety of bottom fish make a few days of fishing here a must.
Offshore boats have had great Wahoo and tuna fishing all along the coast and can expect to run into a few billfish and dolphin.
More great weather and fishing is in the forecast. Come join us!
October 17th Weekly Report
For much of the week the weather was beautiful at the coast and the fishing could not have been better.
Anglers along the western Pamlico Sound and its tributaries are always able to get out of the wind. So brisk northern breezes during part of the week didn’t slow down anglers from getting on the water every day.
Doug Champion of Beaufort caught this spotted (speckled) seatrout on the Neuse River near Oriental while fishing with Capt. Gary Dubiel the weekend of Oct. 13-14, 2012.
Speckles seatrout and red drum are also being taken in the marshes and behind the barrier islands near Cape Lookout with plenty of bluefish and Spanish mackerel action along the beaches. Capt. Joe Shute tells me it is the fantastic king mackerel fishing that has anglers really excited at Morehead City, however. The kings are big and biting and many boats have caught their limit of fish in a short time.
TW’s Bait and Tackle in Nags Head reported some great blue fishing along the beaches and pier of the Outer Banks. Speckled and gray seatrout, puppy drum, spots, croakers and sea mullet were also caught. The Avon pier reported five large drum in addition to the previous “smaller” fish.
Similar reports of great fishing came out of Ocracoke; however, fantastic catches of red drum of all sizes were reported from the beaches and in the inlet.
Swansboro and the Wilmington area have had good speckle trout and red drum fishing this past week. Much of the action has been in the marshes. Spanish and blue fishing has been dynamite along the beaches and so has the king mackerel bite.
The one part of our fishing that was bothered the most by our windier days was our offshore fleets. However, when the boat got out the Wahoo bite was hot. A few tuna were also boated.
The moral of this weeks report: It’s fall and the fish are always biting somewhere on the coast.
October 10th Weekly Report
It was another spectacular week of weather and fishing on the coast. With calm seas and plenty of sun both beach goers and anglers reveled in fall’s glory. From Kitty Hawk to Wrightsville and all in between, beach fishermen are enjoying great fishing for a huge variety of fish. Bluefish, Spanish mackerel, pompano, sea mullet, flounder, seatrout, red and black drum, and yes, even a few more were all caught along miles of Carolina beaches. Those who chose to pier fish also did well; including several giant red drum on the Outer Banks from Nags Head and Avon.
Near shore boats continue to do very well on bluefish and Spanish mackerel with some great king mackerel fishing. The best and the biggest kings seemed to be being hook around the Cape Lookout near shore wrecks and reefs. Capt. Joe Shute of Atlantic Beach reported fish weighing as much as 40 pounds.
Dr. Hutton Brantley of Greenville, N.C., caught this puppy drum (redfish) along with a number of spotted seatrout while fishing with Capt. Gary Dubiel on the Neuse River near Oriental Oct. 6, 2012.
Seatrout and redfishing has been excellent in the sounds and rivers up and down the coat as well. Continued great spotted seatrout fishing on the Neuse Bay and Pamlico Rivers has many anglers fishing out of New Bern, Bayboro, Oriental and Washington. In addition to specks, puppy drum (redfish), flounder and weakfish are also being taken. There have even been a number of late season giant red drum boated on the Neuse.
Offshore anglers have done well this past week too. Wahoo numbers seemed to be on the rise with continuing good catches of white marlin and sailfish. A few blue marlin as well as dolphin, and yellow fin tuna have also been landed.
An approaching cold front may not be what most beachcombers would like to see, but for the fall angler it is going to be just the ticket for more great angling. There is nothing like a few brisk nights to get the fish to put on the feedbag and for anglers to stretch a line.
We are having a great year of fishing on the coast, so come see us!
October 3rd Weekly Report
With another beautiful week of early fall weather, great fishing reports have come in from up and down the coast.
Paul Butler of Raleigh caught this spotted seatrout off the Neuse River near Oriental while fishing with Capt. Gary Dubiel Sept. 29, 2012.
The striped bass keeper season opened for the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers and the Albemarle Sound on Oct. 1, so expect more news on them. In many of these same areas, the fabulous spotted seatrout fishing has dominated the action. In addition to good numbers and sizes, the specks have been putting on a show chasing top-water lures early in the morning. Look to cash in on all-day success using a variety of soft plastic lures, popping cork rigs and even some live bait. Puppy drum, flounder, bluefish, stripers and gray trout are also being caught in these areas.
Typically just refereed to as “specks,” spotted seatrout are also biting in the Morehead City area. Anglers are landing other species as well, including red drum, bluefish, Spanish mackerel and false albacore. Capt. Joe Shute also told me that the king mackerel bite was really heating up both east and west of the Cape Lookout Shoals.
Calm conditions make for great sight casting opportunities, and with a more abundant red drum population in the Swansboro and Wilmington areas this year, anglers have had no problem connecting to some pretty fish. Black drum, flounder and specks round out the inshore report.
Offshore up and down the coast continued to experience great white marlin fishing with some sails and blue marlin coming to the boats as well. Wahoo and yellow fin and black fin tuna were also captured.
September 26th Weekly Report
What wonderful early fall weather and fabulous fall fishing we are having at the coast! My good friends at TW’s Bait and Tackle in Nags Head tell me that the offshore fleet had an amazing week of bill fishing with more than 200 fish caught and released on Saturday alone.
Whether you’re fishing offshore out of Oregon Inlet, Hatteras, Morehead City or Wilmington, early fall is as good as it gets for white and blue marlin and sailfish. That’s anywhere on the planet. So check out a trip on a big boat and you’ll have a chance to catch one of anglers’ most prized species, and with a little luck, wahoo, tuna and dolphin will also come your way.
Closer to the beaches, bluefish and Spanish mackerel have been plentiful along the entire coast. Along with good surf fishing, all the coastal communities have had plenty of to keep the most skilled and the most novice angler raving about his experience. One of the more exciting reports came from Capt. Joe Shute, my good friend in Morehead City. Surf anglers there have been catching plenty of 30- to 38-inch red drum.
Speaking of our state fish, giant red drum are still being caught in the lower Neuse River and Pamlico Sound as well as near Ocracoke. You won’t find bigger red drum anywhere, so get out and get a shot at one of these monsters.
Ted Mayer from Raleigh caught a variety of red drum and spotted seatrout while fishing on the Neuse River near Oriental with Capt. Gary Dubiel Sept. 24, 2012.
Other great fishing also continues on the Neuse and Pamlico rivers and Pamlico Sound. One of the most popular game fish in the Southeast is the spotted seatrout. Well, fishing for them has been red hot with some impressive top-water fishing. We’re also seeing good catches of striped bass, puppy drum and flounder. If you’ve been fishing lakes, ponds and streams and have not tried this, head to the coast and give it a go. You will never be the same.
For an interesting twist to great red drum fishing, Capt. Seth Vernon has been sight fishing for drum (redfish) and hunting rail on the same trip. This unique sporting adventure recently landed him in Gray’s Sporting Journal.
Big fish, medium fish or even small fish, coastal North Carolina’s fall fishing is hard to beat.
September 19th Weekly Report
Well anglers, fall is here! It is time to grab your rods and head to the North Carolina coast. Here’s some of the great fishing we’re already seeing in our rivers and sounds, along our beaches and off our coast.
Giant red drum remain in the lower Neuse River and western Pamlico Sound. These world-class giants will be giving anglers a thrill of a lifetime for a few more weeks before they head toward Ocracoke Inlet. To catch yours, Oriental and Cedar Island are the best places to launch from.
Mike Miller of Charlotte with a 48-inch red drum caught Sept. 15, 2012 on the Neuse River near Oriental while fishing with Capt. Gary Dubiel.
For smaller versions of state fish, try sight casting near Swansboro and Wilmington, surf fishing on the northern Outer Banks or light tackle angling on coastal creeks and river shorelines all along the western Pamlico. Each location has seen recent great fishing.
The spotted seatrout fishing has also been excellent on the Neuse River and its tributaries. Recent cool evenings have jumpstarted what is sure to be an awesome fall of fishing for these popular game fish.
Top-water striped bass fishing has also been excellent on the Neuse River near New Bern and on the Pamlico River. Don’t miss out on this exciting angler experience.
Good mixed bags of species have been coming in from the beaches and piers along the coast. From bluefish to sea mullet, there’s something going on. There’s no better way to enjoy a day with the family.
Near-coastal locations from north to south are seeing gathering number of bluefish, Spanish and king mackerel and false albacore. Cooler ocean water temps and increasing amounts of bait will have these migrants fired up and ready to catch.
We’re also seeing world-class offshore fishing from most of the state’s many ports. Sailfish and white and blue marlin fishing has been dynamite. Wahoo, tuna and dolphin fish are coming to the boat as well, so it might be time to try your hand at a blue water adventure.
Whatever your angling interests might be, coastal North Carolina will have something to satisfy you this fall. Fishing is already fine, so plan your trip and come on this way. The fish are waiting on you.
added: September 26, 2012
updated: December 6, 2012