Striped-bass fishing is red hot as the weather changes and the waters of the Neuse River near New Bern become cooler.

Gary Dubiel of Oriental (Spec Fever Guide Service, 252.249.1520) has been having "70- to 100-fish days" recently.

"I went last Sunday with my wife, Michelle, and we fished from 6:45 a.m. until 2 p.m., all on the Neuse River (Dubiel sometimes takes clients into the adjoining Trent River)," he said. "With the cold morning, the fish wouldn't strike topwater (lures), but we did well on Rapala SubWalks for the first hour of the morning."

Dubiel and his wife fished at flats that were marked by stumps and shallow water, then they relocated to an area with a sharp break out from the shoreline and cast DOA CAL 1/4-ounce jigheads with 4-inch DOA soft-plastic jerkbaits.

"I looked for deeper water close to the shoreline," Dubiel said, "about a long cast to the bank. We were out in 14- to 25-feet deep water. We'd work the (lures) off the ledge just like (winter Trent River lure presentations) in January.

"The bites were very subtle."

The Dubiels fished four areas with common structure and each produced fish, some of them miles apart.

"It wasn't uncommon to have two fish on at the same time for four, five or six casts (in a row)," he said.

By the end of the day, they'd landed and released more than 100 fish, many of them weighing more than 7 pounds.

The wind was calm with falling water and moving current and the day was clear, bright and sunny.

"We fished Temple Fork Outfitter 7-foot ML-action Signature Series spinning rods with Penn 2000 Battle reels spooled with 20-pound Sufix 832 braid," Dubiel said, "along with 3 feet of 20-pound-test fluorocarbon leaders."

The veteran guide said Neuse River stripers are following a typical winter pattern, schooling and aggressively feeding with water temps in the lower 50s.

"Specks and plenty of white perch and crappie also are in the area, so light-action rods close at hand are a good thing (to have on a boat)," he said. "Be sure to let the jigs fall to the bottom. (If anglers retrieve lures too fast), no bites."