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A surprise while fishing with artificial lures

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By Capt. Jacob Frick

 

The waterways are already starting to get busy with weekend traffic. The next two weeks will be our last calm before the storm. Fishing season has been in full swing for several weeks, but summer vacation begins June 1. The waterway will be packed with joy riders, skiers and fishing boats commuting from one spot to another. It is time to tighten down the screws and get ready for the busy season.

After several attempts, John Trull and I got out on the water last week. We have had a time getting this trip arranged because of thunderstorms, business conflicts and booked dates. Again, it looked as if we were going to miss our trip because of thunderstorms on Thursday, May 15. Trull called me on Tuesday, May 13, to discuss weather and options. My Wednesday was still available and Trull was able to juggle a few things, making it down a day early. Finally, we were going to get on the water.

We were in no hurry to start early. The tide was extremely high due to the effects of a full moon. Pushing off the dock about 9 a.m. with a boat full of live crab, mud minnows and soft plastics, our anticipation was running high. After a full throttle to our first area, the tide was still way back in the grass. The idea was to fish a little cut coming out of the grass until the shells started to show and then move to our next area.

After peeling the lid off a blue crab and quartering it into four pieces to bait our Carolina rigs, the trap was set. We patiently waited for the water to drain out of the grass, hoping that a few redfish would be coming out of that cut. The little bottom feeders were nailing our crab chunks, stealing our first few attempts. The little bottom feeders quieted down, signaling that an eruption of action was headed our way.

Our first sure bite was a redfish rolling around in 2 feet of water, and it was an awesome sight. Our next three fish eluded us by somehow spitting a large 1/0 wide bend hook. Trull drilled the next one and we both watched the fight unfold in just inches of water. It was time to get out of there before the tide caught us high and dry.

Rounding the corner near Sunset Beach Bridge we found a near-vacant creek, where the action had been red-hot a few days earlier. The tide level was a bit high when we arrived, so many of the other guides had not yet arrived. We deployed several chunks of crab on Carolina rigs along the bank, but the action was nonexistent. Several boats anchored up and the creek was getting crowded. Anchored boats were the only action that we saw, so we moved to our next area. We deployed several more chunks of crab and got three hard bites, landing only one solid 27-incher. Then the action slowed there as well. Trull was here to learn, so we changed gears.

Heading down the waterway, we saw menhaden flipping everywhere. It was a perfect opportunity to show Trull how to fill up the live well with beautiful flounder baits. Success on my first cast made it look easy, but it doesn’t always work out that way. We headed to a few well-known flounder spots, soaking menhaden in each area. One short flounder is all that the live menhaden produced for us. We bounced around, soaking menhaden and crabs in several areas and patiently waiting for the bite to turn on. It wasn’t happening for us, so I decided to change to soft plastics.

Who would ever guess a fish would turn down the real deal to eat an artificial lure? To keep us from getting bored sitting around waiting on the bite, we dropped the trolling motor and stayed on the move. We kept our eyes open for action. It wasn’t long before the bank exploded with redfish. We eased toward the action and made a long cast toward the explosion. An upper slot redfish hammered a 4-inch Sea Shad sand trout colored lure.

As we got closer, we could see blue tails weaving in and out of the shell bank. It was game on for the next 45 minutes. We landed several upper slot reds and drilled a flounder for dinner. It was the most excitement we had seen all day. We polished it off with a solid trout that had to be released, but that officially put a Carolina slam in the boat. It was a great learning experience for us both. The key is to never give up and don’t be afraid to change it up even if it seems outside of the box.

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.