Backwater fishing stays challenging

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By Capt. Jacob Frick

The backwater fishing in the immediate area surrounding Ocean Isle Beach was difficult last week.
Strong westerly winds have pounded the beach putting lots of silt in the water on the incoming tides. Several inches of rain have fallen just inland and dark freshwater has been draining from the rivers. Finding clean water has been one of the keys to finding the bite. I can tell you there is not very much of that around now. We really need the wind to lie down for a few days, need no more rain showers and need a good strong tidal flow from the approaching full moon to get us back on track.
Look for the Little River jetties to fire off this coming week if the winds do lighten. The water temperature has reached the upper 80s and the nearshore reefs should start to hold more flounder. Look for areas like Yaupon Reef, Jolly Mon Reef and Jim Caudle reef to fire off if the wind allows the flounder fishermen to get out there.
The easiest bait to find is the menhaden that continue to hold near the Ocean Isle Marina. I have seen several schools of small mullet about an inch long and fish will start to target them in the coming weeks. Live shrimp is the go-to bait when you can find it. Small shallow creeks are holding some shrimp but they have not shown up in good numbers yet.
Despite all the things stacked against us, we continue to hit the water in search of that magical bite. Several groups joined me last week, putting their faith in me to find that bite. I feel as if it has been a struggle to get it done. I moved around checking several spots earlier in the week and finally found a few fish. My game plan quickly changed to hitting those areas, trying to be more patient and waiting for the bite.
What is really killing me is how inconsistent the bite has been for me. I had three young men on the boat one morning who enjoyed catching 26-inch redfish. Turned around the next day and could find only a couple of 18-inch fish. Just when you think you have it figured out, it is back to the drawing board. I wake up each morning pondering my next move. It really has been difficult to make a decision on what direction to head each morning.
The tides are really looking good in the mornings this coming week and I expect the fishing to get easier. I continue to tell myself we are a little behind last year and the fishing will come around. It will happen in a hurry and you just never know when the fishing will get hot. Don’t wait for a good report. Come out and be in that report about a hot bite.
Capt. Jacob Frick, who has 10 years of knowledge and experience in guiding family, friends, and clients in the backwater surrounding Ocean Isle Beach, is a fishing columnist for the Beacon. Reach him at (803) 315-3310 or jacob@oifc.com.