Trout are about…southeastern NC

I hit the beaches of let’s call it the “greater Wilmington area” this past weekend doing one of my favorite November pasttimes – stalking speckled trout in the surf.  Most, if not all of my fishing from this point on this fall/winter will be at the Outer Banks, but I’ve developed a nice set of spots in southeastern NC that I need to get in once or twice a fall…at least.  While the tides were higher than predicted making fishing (landing fish, in particular) a bit of a problem, I’m happy to report that the trout are in.

I took a quick two strikes Friday night, first hitting an old reliable spot that produced a very small blue on the first cast, but nary a bump thereafter and then trying a renowned bridge on the backside of an ocean inlet on the high rising tide.  Conditions seemed excellent with a nice current swinging my mirrolure toward the pilings on the retrieve, but there was nothing going on.  This is one of those spots that I keep giving a shot, hoping to luck into a school of lunker trout late one evening, but to date have only pulled one keeper flounder out of all my times fishing there.  Oh well, no risk, no reward…one of these years, maybe I’ll figure that bridge out.  From there I hit another beach I’d been hearing was producing, but didn’t even make a cast – the water was so high on this relatively flat beach, I would have never been able to reach decent fish-holding water.

So, from there I went back to spot one – the proven producer.  Late night, no one’s gonna be there.  A couple hours past high tide and the water was still high (much higher than I prefer here), but my lure was swimming just fine in that frothy chaotic water and sure enough, I had a nice smack on my first cast – always a good sign.  For the next half hour or so, I tangled with some husky trout – lost a real nice one trying to get it through the last wave and onto the beach (the current was wicked) and then had another that immediately shot off a surprising amount of drag before the hooks pulled.  Puppy drum maybe…but, I’ve actually never caught a pup plugging mirrolures at night at this spot.  I think it was a big-ass trout.  Finally, had a solid hookup and landed a very respectable 21-incher (3.5 pounds).  Then the bite stopped cold.  I was able to cover more ground and explore more water as the tide fell, but had only one additional 15″ trout – really puny for this spot, which produces fish that average about 3 pounds (no wonder I love it so much).

After a nap, I hit the high surf at Topsail for the sunrise bite, and was pleasantly surprised to share in some very nice action with a few other fishermen for well over an hour.  With the tides running high and a somewhat flat beach, it took a bit of a wade and then some good timing to place a cast over the breakers, but most of those well-placed casts paid off with a nice strike after twitching the lure (my old trusty purple demon from the night before).  The bite was smallish specks and even smaller blues, but I did manage a couple 16-17 inch keeper trout.  Not much in the way of quality, but good action on a fun morning.  After a killer nap, I returned to this same spot in the afternoon to share much the same action with a few more fishermen.  Perhaps a bit more sporadic than the morning bite, but still solid and steady, ending up with one small keeper and a bunch of throwbacks (both blues and trout).  I saw a couple stringers with a half dozen or so 15-16 inch fish…nothing wrong with that at all.

I wrapped up Saturday night with another couple visits to old reliable, interspersed by my second trip of the weekend to a favored local restaurant for a meal and local beer (sorry to be so vague, but one has a duty to protect certain fishing spots).  Again, the rising tide was dead, but my return during the high-fall had some action, though nothing like the bite the night before.  Wound up with a 20″ and an 18″ and also landed but released what I later realized was a keeper flounder – 14.75″.  I have to admit that NC’s flounder regs continue to confuse and confound.  Give me one number to remember, thanks!  (explanation: the limit is 15″ north of Browns Inlet, 14″ south)  Found another really nice trout on one of the bars up the beach and fought it all the way to the surfline, but the hooks pulled just before the last wave pushed it up onto the beach – argh!

Waterfront view out of my hotel room (my truck) Sat. afternoon naptime

The catch

Two nice trout


~ by surffisher on November 24, 2009.

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