Kudos to Rudolph for his excellent job as a shoreline protection officer | Sports
Before I get to this week’s fishing news, I would be remiss if I did not recognize Greg “Rudi” Rudolph as a great friend of our beaches and waterways.
Rudi has been our first, and thus far the sole, shoreline protection officer here in Carteret County for nearly two decades. He is leaving this post and was therefore dutifully honored at a recent lunch here at Emerald Isle for places he knew. During this time he has been an integral part of major beach reloading projects, the relocation of Bogue Inlet and keeping our waterways among his accomplishments and left us with a plan to maintain it going forward.
The highlight of the lunch was the presentation of the award, the Order of the Longleaf Pine. The Order of the Longleaf Pine Award is presented to individuals who have made a significant contribution to the state and their communities through exemplary service and outstanding achievement.
Congratulations, Rudi, and great success on any challenges you are looking for in the future, and please treat my sand samples contributed to your collection with kindness!
That being said, in recent weeks we’ve been exploring vertical water column, surface bait, sling, and heavy metal fishing. This week we will end by descending the ladder and attacking the lower rung of the water column where the inhabitants of the bottom live and feed.
First, there are the hard plastic lip baits and sinks. MirrOlure’s Traditional 52M and TT Baits and their new, more sophisticated Series III versions of these baits, along with YoZuri’s Crystal Minnows, Rapala’s X-Rap and the Classic, Not Just Freshwater Rat -L-Salt water trap. There are many more. Lipless baits are cast, cast, as you contract and collect the baits with your contractions, delivering the realistic movement of an injured baitfish. A lot of times I get hit on the way down, so I always let the bait get to the bottom before contracting and recovering.
The lip baits are pre-programmed to do their job, to mimic an edible baitfish, so most of the time I throw it at different speeds. As always, it’s good to test your bait, lip or not. See how fast it sinks, see how it moves when you move it or during regular recovery, throw it fast, throw it slow and see if the bait vibrates or wobbles. Even many lipless baits vibrate at certain recovery rates. So know your bait!
Finally, we have the real dwellers of the bottom, the lead-headed jigs that are ridden and dragged along the bottom. These baits can be used as a single head of lead, from 1/16 to 1 ounce, depending on water conditions and depth, fitted with a replaceable or flavored soft plastic bait like Berkley Gulp !. They can be made in tandem where two lead heads are tied together with a dropper loop in between or as a tandem rig with lead head and teaser fly. These can also be made with flexible plastics pre-molded on a weighted hook. Some of my favorite pre-molded soft plastic baits include Storm’s Swimming Mullet, Betts Halo Shad, and for shrimp knockoffs, some of the more popular ones include the new Vudu Shrimp, DOA Shrimp, Storm, and most recently the Z-man. stretchy flexible plastics.
In the summer I like to fish for winter flounder in the ocean waves, from one of the sea fishing docks and from my kayak. My favorite artificial bait for plaice is the tandem rig with a soft plastic or Gulp! bait (swimming mullet, shad or shrimp) on one side and a teaser fly that mimics Atlantic nasturtium or bay anchovy on the other side.
So what are the “best” colors for some or all of these artificial baits? Keeping is simple. You want something light in color. White is a good start. You need something dark. Black is not a bad choice, and of course, chartreuse. If it’s not chartreuse… you know how it goes! So the next time you go fishing, have a view of the vertical water column and work the ladder up and down to find your target trophy.
Indoor peach for spots and reds holds up surprisingly well.
The bite has now spread, as it often does, to the piers at Radio Island and Cape Lookout Rock. Keep in mind that when these jetties are populated with spots, other jetties, such as the small submerged jetty near the Fort Macon coastguard station, the Fort Macon jetty itself, and the rocky jetty at Shackleford are also populated. And don’t forget the natural, live bait for sheep’s head and black drum, which have had great years.
The surf and pier action is another story. Wednesday a week ago there was a nice speck blitz at Bogue Inlet Pier and the surf is too. So, I put on my waders and hit the frosty surf Thursday morning which turned rough, dirty, grassy and, most importantly, far away from a spotted sea trout. Between the wind and the surf I couldn’t even effectively cast a MirrOlure and went to my Kastmaster with no luck. Over the weekend the trout returned to Oceanana and Bogue Inlet jetties with juvenile spiked trout crushing 20 to 1 keepers!
So it looks like we’ve only had limited spotting pulses in the surf so far this year and not a real sustained run. If this pattern continues, we can forget a real trout race in the waves this year. They will just go through short pulses. Maybe the coming cold front will help, but often when the spikes prevail, the surf season for the trout is toast. In the mix there were also a good number of lake trout from the turn basin to waves, jetties and coastal reefs.
There are other surf actions to report, such as good catches of mules. No one will say where, but probably Black Skimmer Road and maybe Third Street access to Emerald Isle, at least somewhere east of the pier. There are also puffers in the mix and black drum with scattered red slots.
Speaking of black drum, as well as the recent trout blitz at Bogue Inlet Pier, Nui Vinson of Jacksonville landed a 7.7-pound black drum on a speck platform topped with a tiny bit of shrimp. Nice catch, Nui!
To turn heads with surprise, Captain Lee Winkleman reported finding Atlantic Skipjack at AR 315 last weekend. Wow! We get a nice spring comeback, although usually short, as they migrate north, but rarely see any on their way south. They seem to stay offshore as they move south for the winter. Yes, Captain Lee knows his fish, they weren’t false albacore, and Captain Lee has the pictures to prove it too! Nice find Captain Lee!
For the fishing docks, puffers and autumn mules have arrived.
Oceanana Pier reports spots with lots of shorts, daytime puffs, mullet, croakers at night, and baby blues.
Bogue Inlet jetty reported a large supply of speckled and gray trout on Wednesday afternoon, November 17, which went missing Thursday morning. Trout are caught on GotChas, metals, larvae, plugs and bait… whatever. There are also puffers, mullet, flounder and blues.
Seaview Pier reports spots and lots of grays, mullet and puffs. They also took out a labeled red drum and are bringing in reds and a black drum.
Surf City Pier reports sea mullet at night, bruises, spots, and scattered spots.
Jolly Roger Pier reports a mullet, pompano in the 2.5 pound range, spike points and a black drum with plenty of shorts and a few slot fish.
For good offshore action, the fishing has been excellent in Oregon Inlet with yellowfin tuna and great kings as well.
Near us, the wahoo are around the Big Rock.
By the way, with the new pier open from the remains of the Bonner Bridge, maybe it’s time to take a look (https://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/bonner-bridge-pier.htm).
Finally, check out the recent shrimp vote. Officials of the NC Marine Fisheries Division vote against the shrimp fishery proposal: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/nc-division-of-marine-fisheries-officials-vote-against-shrimping-proposal/ar-AAQSu6B?
2) “Ask Dr. Bogus” is on the radio every Monday at 7:30 am WTKF 107.1 FM and 1240 AM. The show is also rebroadcast on Sunday morning at 6 a.m. Callers can reach me at 800-818-2255.
3) I am located at 118 Conch Ct. In Sea Dunes, just off Coast Guard Road, Emerald Isle, NC 28594. The mailing address is PO Box 5225, Emerald Isle, NC 28594. Don’t forget a check- gift for your favorite fisherman for fishing lessons or my totally fake fishing report subscription. Please drop by at any time and say “Hello” or call 252-354-4905.