It will be very good mixed bag fishing off the beaches, reds,blues, and stripers. I would go with spin fishing off the beaches. This is something I posted in the articles for review
In recent years many light tackle fisherman have discovered the tons of light tackle opportunityís North Carolina waters can offer them. The most significant of these has been the fall False Albacore runs off Cape Lookout and Atlantic Beach. However, there are many more opportunities in the area. From spring runs of 20 plus pound bonito to Winter Striped Bass, the North Carolina coast holds endless opportunities for fly fisherman. Maybe my favorite is redfish called red drum in North Carolina
Many donít realize that around half the IGFA world redfish records have been set in North Carolina. The worst thing about red fishing the North Carolina Outer Banks is deciding where to fish. There are thousands of coves, bays, outlets, and flats to fish. At the right time and in right places the fishing in all these locations can be as good as anywhere in the world. I remember the last time I went for reds about a year ago now. Starting out about 7 am with an old high school friend Joey Smith who is currently a senior mate on sport fishing outfit in Australia. We put the boat off at the public ramp in Swansboro, NC and headed out with my eight weight and his spinning gear, he still doesnít understand ďAll this stupid fuss about this !%$&# fly fishingĒ. Like many in the area we use a flat bottom Carolina skiff with a large front platform which getís a lot more use as a flounder deck for night spearing flounder then accommodating a fly caster. The first place we hit was a group of creeks flowing out of the marshland. These areas are always full of small baitfish, particularly finger mullets, juvenile mullets less then 4 inches. Because of the ample baitfish these creek outlets consistently have good size reds holding at the mouths, particularly on an outgoing tide like this morning. These waters are very dark so a flashy fly is needed. I tied on a silver and blue 1/0 spoon fly onto a ten-pound leader and tippet. Other flies that work well for me is an adaptation of a salmon flashfly on a stainless hook a little larger then the salmon version and dark shrimp patterns. I blind casted the spoon into the out flow area in a fanning pattern because the water was to dark and deep, about 3-4 feet, to sight fish. Within seven or eight casts I felt a take and I was onto my first fish of the day, a beautiful bronze fish around two pound. A runt but when itís you first fish of the day and of the year for that matter you are happy for it. Having moved to Boston two years before I didnít have many opportunities to fish my home waters anymore. That first fish brought back all my memories of fishing these waters in my childhood. Memories of skipping school to go fishing with my friends, because everyone knew that the fish bit best when we where suppose to be in school. I still remember trying to explain to my first period history teacher why I had a sun burn from being sick in bed all day. After I released the fish I thought to myself how much more I would enjoy this trip down memory lane if I was reeling in a twelve pounder rather then a two pounder, but you take what you can get. After about ten minutes of nothing at the first creek and being skunked at the next two we hit the jack pot about 500 yards down shore of Pettiford Creek. Joey first spotted the school feeding over an oyster bed. About twenty reds were pounding green minnows all over the place. These beds are an exceptional place to hunt for reds. The dead shells are a great place for small nickel sized crabs and bait fish to find shelter. This time I used a ugly brown, green and white deer head floating fly with a brown and white marabou tail. It also had a weed guard, which is key on rocks like these for getting morn then two casts before you get hung up. I cast the fly to the outside edge of the rock let it sit for a count of three and start a slow deliberate strip. On the second strip there was a role on my fly and we where off to the races. Too often people focus on using crustacean patterns and never think of a popper. Some of then best success Iíve have has been using top water baits. I generally prefer a top water bait that sits in the water film rather then high in the water. These flies have seemed to give me a better hook up ratio. Usually in deeper water reds bull dog you will medium length runs like a striper. However when they get hook in the shallow, in this case about a foot of water they get to deep water in a hurly splashing and waking water all the way. It is important thought that you get the rod up as high as possible. Even to the extent of holding the rod strait over your head by the fighting butt. Most fish are lost here because of a leader or fly line being cut by the sharp oyster shells. Once in the channel the fish started a steady deep run for about 20 yards. After about five minutes I had a 6 lbs red in my hand. Though not a beast this is on the larger size for these NC waters where the fish average between three and eight pounds. We took 3 more fish out of the area on top water flies and brown and gray sluggos. By the end of the day we had put eleven fish in the boat the largest being that six pounder. It was a great day in so many ways. It is a shame though that we had more luck that day in the boat then that night with the ladies, but hey everyone gets skunks once in awhile. As we rode back I thought about how we didnít see another boat fishing and realized how the reds of that area are still one of the under developed gems of Atlantic gamefish. So, the next time youíre in Carteret County there are two things you must do. First, go to Elís Drive-In and get a Super Burger and a Shake. Second is get your fly into a redfishís mouth.
Fly Box for Reds:
Spoon flies in Gold, silver, blue/silver, green/silver
Clousers in Olive/white, chartreuses/white, blue/white,
Poppers in sizes 4-1/0
Shrimp Patterns from 8-1/0 (weighted and unweighted)
Gear for Reds:
Real with 150 yards of thirty pound backing
10-12lbs leaders with Fluro tippets
Locations For Reds:
There are a number of marsh islands inside Morehead City from Crab Point to the Beaufort/Morehead Bridge. Through them there are small cut that as the tide drops flush tons of green tail shrimp and bait fish to waiting reds. On a falling tide go from channel mouth to mouth.
Neuse River mouth. Here the bait is usually baitfish. This area is particularly effective in the early fall (September and Early October). Last years I had a 20 fish day here with most being over 4lbs. The bottom is very dark so you will need to use dark flashy flies like a flash bend back mullet (bend back with crystal flash belly and lots of flash in the body).
Inside of Bald Head Island. Most visiting anglers never make it south of Morehead City. This is a shame because 45 minute south gets you to one of the best red fish and sea trout fisheries in the world (my opinion). From May to September the fishing is great here. I like to focus on the oyster rocks. They hold shrimp, crabs and other shell fish that the reds love.
Spring blues are another great opportunity that are often over looked. During the spring and early fall there is a significant run of eight to twelve pound blues on the NC beaches. On a good day a fisherman can hook more then a dozen big blues. Big beach spinning gear is usually more effective however they can be caught on the fly. Though I have never tried it, I believe that this would be a great scenario for the new breed of saltwater spey casters.
The interesting thing is that this can actually turn into a sight casting opportunity. In smooth 1 to 3 foot seas you can see these big blues in the faces of the waves as the sun shines through them. It is like an aquarium that you can fish in. Most of the time this is a blind casting situation very similar to fishing the outer beaches of Cape Cod.
Fly Box for Blues:
Clouser in pink/white, chartreuses/white, blue/white
Poppers in sizes 2-1/0
Gear for Blues
Real with 150 yards of thirty pound backing
10-12lbs leaders with wire tippets