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It is good sign speckled trout are biting

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By Capt. Jacob Frick

 

Spring has officially gotten here, according to the calendar. The bright white cherry blossoms busted loose early last week. The yellow dust is starting to collect on our boats and cars. This past week has really got the fever burning. Just when it looks as if the coast is clear, another harsh cold front takes us a few steps back. The wind is howling out of the north and temperatures were expected to fall into the low 30s Monday, March 24. It does appear the weather will rebound nicely by the weekend, according to the extended forecast. The water temperatures had started to reach the low 60s late last week. Water clarity was decent, considering all the rain so far this year. We will suffer some setbacks with the water temperatures and water clarity from the passing of this next front.

Speckled trout were really getting stirred up with the rising water temperatures this past week. The speckled trout fishery is closed for harvest until June 15, but you can still have fun catching and releasing them. It is a good sign so many speckled trout are biting. Many of them are small, but the near future looks bright. Working a light jig in chartreuse or white erratically in a one-two pause motion near the bottom will get bit.

Folks setting crab pots have started to see some small flounder sneak into their traps. A few flounder do hang with us throughout the winter and will start to get more active once the water gets into the 60s. Targeting flounder will not be effective until the water temperatures have reached the upper 60s for a week or two. Keep your eyes and ears on the Hog Inlet area around Cherry Grove, S.C., for the first news of a good flounder bite. Once you hear that news, give it about a week and head for Tubbs Inlet. Flounder have shown in good numbers in years past as early as the last week of April. It will all depend on stable consistent water temperatures reaching the upper 60s.

Redfish remain the staple target throughout the year. Redfish are always here and are usually willing to bite in some capacity. The local redfish populations have been holding tight to structure along the waterway and rivers. They are not moving much from these areas right now, being stubborn and spooky at times. Approaching an area quietly and presenting your baits softly into the water will give you a better chance at getting them to bite.

Two best options are floating live bait under a cork or pinning it to a light jig head. A heavy Carolina rig will work, but after making a big splash, be patient, as the fish will take a few minutes to settle down. You will increase the bites you get by presenting your baits quietly. Live mud minnows have been the most effective this past week once locating the redfish. Fresh chunks of crab have also worked at times this past week. They have been a little slower to bite the crab this week, but they will eventually eat that even on tough days.

We will experience some transition as the water conditions continue to change as spring dishes out all its wonderful weather. Speckled trout, redfish and flounder will all start to get more active, migrating in and out of the surf zones. Hopefully, this will be our last harsh cold front that sends the temperatures backward and more fish will come into our area.

Join my facebook page J&J Inshore Charters or visit my website www.oceanisleinshorecharters.comto stay updated on the latest fishing reports.

See ya on the water.

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 for additional information or questions about his columns.