"It has been an excellent fall so far," said Capt. George Beckwith of Down East Guide Service. "We have guides working from the backwaters of the Neuse and Trent rivers around New Bern to the ocean around Cape Lookout, and all of them are finding fish."
Beckwith (252-671-3474) said the whole area was showing speckled trout from about 12 to 20 inches – plus some big ones. Beckwith said those 16- to 20-inch fish are the ones that were not quite 14 inches last fall, and the current class of 12- and 13-inch fish should be around 18 inches next fall. Beckwith said this is an excellent indicator that trout are responding to last year's warm winter and will be in good shape if this winter doesn't get too cold.
"There are good catches of stripers around New Bern, and the guys are finding them regularly," Beckwith said. "This should get better as we move into winter. Some days there are even some trout and pups mixed with them"
Along the edges of the Neuse River and in tributary creeks, fishermen are seeing some upper-slot puppy drum and some that are right around 18 inches. Beckwith said this is a good mix, and those not-quite-large-enough drum will be the mid-slot fish for next year.
"We thought the albies (false albacore) might be gone from the beach for the year, but they have showed back up this week," Beckwith said. "That is a good thing, and fishermen are having lots of fun catching them. The albies are hitting small shiny lures and a variety of flies. The key is to retrieve or strip the lure quickly."
Beckwith said specks are still hitting well in the surf, with 17MR and 27MR MirrOlures producing the best, especially if you add a pair of SuspenDots to get them to sink and really twitching them hard to get a reaction bite.