Striped Bass, big bluefins, trophy speckled trout, seabass are all asking you to catch them along the Outer Banks and Virginia shores this winter!
I have been laid up for a few days here so I wanted to try my feeble attempt to catch back up!
Fishing in the Sound…
Sounds like things are looking up for the schoolie stripers in the sound this winter. A fishery we all once took for granted has been off the scene for the last six or seven winters. So seeing the resurgence of the striped bass, schoolies (1-8lbs), has been quite refreshing. The bites have mainly been early am and dusk bites. The way to catch em, well that really boils down to your preferences. Trolling little umbrella rigs (aka alabama rigs) or little lipped plugs like the little stretch 15’s and fuzzy huberts in chartreuse and white.
Casting seems to be more enjoyable to folks. Tossing little rattle traps, jigs, swimming shads has been producing results. I personally like tossing a 3/8 ounce red meathog jig in 4/0 Trokar hook with a 4 inch deep creek shad in rainbow trout color! Small live eels on Carolina rigs tossed into the pilings has been an old standby for fooling the guys for years. Been there, done that on the schoolie striper thing.
Ever heard of the Hot Ditch…
Try the Elizabeth River, aka the “hot ditch”, for some shots at trophy speckled trout. Fish in the 5-6 lb range are not that unusual and true behemoths 8-12+ pound fish are landed on a weekly basis up there if not daily when things get right. Techniques range from live minnows to hopping jigs to trolling stickbaits. This fishery is approachable even in the worst winter weather forecasts because of the protected areas where one might fish. I think the “heat” is going to be turned off here but I truthfully do not think that is gonna dampen that fishery. Heck, one day last year we got them to bite in 37 degree water temps. Crazy!
Ocean rock could show up magically and magically stay inside three miles but unfortunately I think that ship has sailed ’til changes are made. You never know, that’s why you go, right!?
Bluefins are snapping just six miles off Morehead right now. Who knows where they are gonna be next but sounds like some studs with fish eclipsing the 110 inch mark! I am sure they are gonna show somewhere offshore this late winter (late Feb-March off Oregon Inlet) and Frenzy, Outrigger and the rest of our guys are gonna be on ’em. I have landed them in the past out there but you really need the big boats to be comfortable fishing for ’em 35 miles off the beach in winter. Unless you catch one of those 5 or six bluebird days where the weather is perfect.
Tilefish, seabass, tog, big blues and shark would round off the other options for winter time opportunities.
Wait. Wait, almost forgot…sightcasting to redfish. It happened last winter and looks to me like they are gonna be here again this winter season. I am jacked up on this one.
I love sightfishing and trying to catch wary fish. Nice redfish from 26-40 inches are patrolling shallow flats warming in the sun on the pretty days. Fish are spooky and you definitely miss more than you catch, but seeing over 30 fish the last time out gives me hope! No crowds, heck, no one in sight!
These are a few of the options begging for your pursuit this winter along the OBX fishing area. Come join us!