Tomorrow is the first day of spring and all of the dedicated local anglers have already been experiencing some amazing late winter fishing! As we welcome the new season, we are all very excited about the beginning of the spring fishing season. Water temps are on the rise and the fish are emerging out of their winter pattern and becoming more active as new baitfish begin to work their way up into the river from their wintering grounds to join the food sources that are already here.
The speckled trout and the puppy drum fishing has been on fire! The better puppy drum fishing has been further downriver in the saltier waters closer to the sound but they can be found virtually anywhere all the way up to downtown Washington. Popping corks with a soft plastic shrimp (2-3″) are deadly on them. If anglers are lucky enough to find a big school, the big numbers are possible. This is one of the most underrated fisheries in the Pamlico. We don’t have an abundance of puppy drum every year, but when we do, we have plenty of them. Most of the fish we are seeing this year showed up last summer just before their 1 year old birthday. They were born in August and Sept. during the 2011 spawn in the Pamlico Sound and many of them were 10-15 inches in the summer when they showed last year. As the fall progresses, they put on a few inches, as red drum in their first few years grow very rapidly. Their growth slows over the winter, but they should be experiencing a growth spurt this spring and summer. Right now, we are seeing a whole bunch of 16-20 inch fish but by late summer and fall of this year, we should have some absolutely awesome slot drum fishing. Get ready!
Most of the creeks off the Pamlico are holding speckled trout. The numbers and size of the fish have been really impressive lately. Catches of 20 or more fish are common with easy limits (4 fish/day/person over 14″ in length) of 15-19 inch fish are common. Some lucky (and skillful) anglers are encountering bigger fish over 20″. Soft plastic baits such Z-Mans, DOA’s, Saltwater Assassin, and Berkeley Gulps are doing the trick on light 1/8-1/4 ounce jighead. Anglers are also catching fish on suspending twitch baits such as the Mirrolure MR-17 or the Rapala X-Rap, which has become very popular in recent years for speckled trout fishing.
The stripers are funneling up the river already with great catches being reported already by Greenville anglers. The fishing in the upper reaches of the Pamlico and lower reaches of the Tar around Washington has also been steady. Anglers are catching fish a number of different ways from jigging soft plastics in deeper water around breaks and ledges around the river channel to casting floating shallow diving crankbaits in the shallows. Fishing should only pick up as many more fish should be pushing through our area in the coming weeks on their way up the Tar River for their annual spring spawning migration. Get out there and experience what our resident striped bass population can produce. You might just be surprised by a 10 pounder on light tackle.
For all your tackle needs, stop by Eastside Bait and Tackle on Hwy 264 on the east side of town. Shop owner Richie Gerard and his friendly staff can help you get “rigged up” with the equipment you need to get the job done on our scenic and bountiful Pamlico River.
Below are some fishing pics from recent outings on the Pamlico River:
Remember…………You can’t catch them from the couch!
Capt. Richard Andrews