When it comes to striper fishing, I love to cast and troll but one of the best patterns in the beginning of the season is to go shallow.
When the water temperatures are still in the high 60s or low 70s the fish tend to stay shallow and chase baitfish that are up on the stump flats.
That’s not to say you can’t catch them deep but this gives you a chance to catch them if they are not there.
What I like to do is cast shallow running stick baits similar to stretch baits but that only run about a foot or two under water. The best bait for this is the Smithwick Rogue.
The rattling rogue is my go to bait and all the local tackle stores stock them just for this reason. It is a suspending jerk bait, that when work correctly, will move in an erratic action that stripers can’t resist.
Position your boat in about 5-to-7 feet of water and send the bait towards the bank.
Turn the handle a few times then jerk the rod tip and pause the bait. This gives the bait a side to side motion and when it stops will slowly rise or even suspend.
You work the bait in stump fields and flats that are near striper haunts that you would usually visit in colder weather like the flats in Coinjock Canal or the stump fields outside of the Roanoke River.
They are up chasing baitfish schools that cruise the flats. Give it a shot and see what the locals have known for years.
What’s biting, where...
The fishing report for this week is looking a little thin because we have had one of the falls first big fronts move in which brought us big winds and big waves.
This has pretty much shut down the offshore fishing almost as bad as the beach was by the government. In case you did not hear yet the beaches that are run by the National Park Service are all shut down by order of the Feds, and they have strict orders to insure no one that has a good time during this debacle.
The Oregon Inlet Fishing Center is closed, but you can still book trips by pulling up their website and booking directly with the captains. Just click on a boat and contact them yourself. We need to help support these guys since they seem to be left out in the cold right now.
Before the winds hit the fishing on the beach was decent with catches of sea mullet and croaker off the piers and surf along with the steady increase of big bull drum off the end of the piers.
We have some nice sheepshead caught off the pilings at the Bonner Bridge with some weighed in at over six pounds. The little bridge and the pier park under the Manteo Bridge are paying off with this wind.
We have reports of keeper striper, flounder and puppy drum. It is easy to fish with bottom rigs and cut bait or shrimp. You can even throw Gulp baits or Gotcha Lures to bring to fish to the rails.
Locally we had the Elizabeth City Bassmasters inaugural bass/striper tournament and even though the guys and I did not win the big prize, we still caught a bunch of fish and had a great time.
The winning largemouth team was Mike Roberson and David Swain with a 5 fish limit of 14.12 pounds. They also had the big fish of 5.93 pounds, which all together brought them a check of over $580.
The winning striper team of Jeff Davis and James Thompson which weighed in three stripers at 8.45 pounds, brought home a winning check of $132.
The stripers were tight to the pilings and if you bumped them just a little with the stretch lures they would hit the bait but there is a lot of short fish to weed through before you get to the keepers.
If you get out any this weekend send me a picture of the fish and a report to email@example.com or hit me up on Facebook at Fishing with Mike and we can get them in next week’s article.