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At spring break, redfish providing best action

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By Capt. Jacob Frick

 It is that time of year when our children are out for spring break just before and after the Easter holiday. Naturally, this can be a busy time for charter boat captains. The weather created a few bumps in the schedule as rain showers and strong winds hounded us on a few trips last week. One would think the strong winds and rain showers would shut down the bite. Weather can have a profound effect on the fishing conditions, but most of the time it really affects the fishermen more than the fish. Strong winds can wear on your patience because it makes it difficult to present baits and keep your boat in the right position.

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Water conditions improved with northerly winds, allowing for a calm surf zone pushing clean green water into many of our creeks. The full moon also brought on extreme high tides, which also brought in cleaner, fresh, green salty water from the ocean. These conditions brought on a pretty good bite from redfish and a few flounder.

Flounder have started to filter in from the ocean with the warming water temperatures. Shallow inlets like Hoggs Inlet, S.C., and Tubbs Inlet will see the first significant bite from the flounder. There was a strong bite that happened last week in Cherry Grove, S.C., but the cooler overnight temperatures have slowed that bite. Flounder will start to bite more as the sun warms the shallow water in those two inlets. Live mud minnows, baby spots, baby croakers and small pinfish drifted along the bottom with a Carolina rig will tempt the flounder into biting a hook. Tossing soft plastics in white and chartreuse color patterns on a light jig head will also get aggressive bites from flounder.

Speckled trout were aggressively striking soft plastics a few weeks ago, but that action has slowed. Speckled trout should make another good showing over the next few weeks with larger fish in the mix. Speckled trout are closed currently until June 15 for harvest. There has been some speculation the speckled trout fishery will open for commercial fishermen and that the limits will double from 75 to 150 fish per day. I talked with Dr. Daniel Louis and that speculation is not entirely true. A recommendation has been made to allow two licensed commercial fishermen to be in the same boat and each take a limit of 75 each. This only has been requested and most likely will go through public hearings before a decision is finalized. I encourage you to contact Dr. Daniel Louis’s office and have your voice heard. 252-808-8013 Cindi.Hamilton@ncdenr.gov

Redfish provided the best action this past week with plenty of fish ranging from 16 inches to 30 inches biting along the waterway and in the creeks. The bite was good close to low water time periods and spotty once high water conditions allowed the fish to get back into the grass. Live mud minnows are the easiest bait to get from your local tackle shop and have provided several bites when pinned to a light jig head. In a cast net you can catch other baits like croakers, spots, and pinfish that also will attract a few bites from the redfish. When conditions are tough and you know the fish are there, then fresh blue crab chunks will get the bite. Be aware that pinfish, croakers and spots are hammering fresh crab chunks, so don’t feed the little guys all your crab before the redfish show up. Fish with several live mud minnows and just one piece of crab until you figure out the bite.

According to a report on the Ocean Isle Fishing Center’s website, Ben Spiers caught a 40-inch red drum at the Little River (S.C.) jetties. Someone also commented seeing a large school of bull redfish in the ocean just west of Yaupon reef. It may be time to go drift around with large baits once this wind dies down to find some springtime bull redfish action.

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