Specks on the rocks - North Carolina fishermen will take their specks on the (Cape Lookout) rocks in November

Big migration out of inshore waters puts plenty of trout, plenty of fishermen around Cape Lookout rock jetty.

Craig Holt

November 01, 2013 at 7:00 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Cape Lookout jetty is rockin’ for speckled trout this month.
Bryan Goodwin
Cape Lookout jetty is rockin’ for speckled trout this month.

Most North Carolina residents know that in 1996, divers discovered Blackbeard’s ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, in Beaufort Inlet, where it had run aground in 1718.

But only saltwater fishermen anglers — and the local tourist board — probably recognize another relic that’s nearby semi-buried in sand relic that’s more valuable to the region than a dozen sunken pirate ships.

The Cape Lookout rock jetty, built a few hundred yards from the Cape Lookout lighthouse in 1914, features a wall of jumbled rocks visible during mid- to low tide that extend 2,500 feet from shore to the northwest — sometimes above the waves, sometimes submerged. Like dragon’s teeth, the rocks can be deadly and have dashed lower units and hulls of uncounted boats guided by foolish or unwary captains.

But in late October and November, the jetty supplies its own treasure — a trove of gator speckled trout and other species that lures anglers from the Blue Ridge and beyond to the Crystal Coast. Capt. Bryan Goodwin of Harkers Island’s Native Guide Service usually have a staked out a claim to mine their share of these fish.

But know this: fishing the rock jetty isn’t for the faint-hearted, nor those with a proclivity toward motion sickness. It’s also a good idea to check weather forecasts to make sure the wind direction will be north or northeast.

During late October, temperatures usually are mild, but a southwest wind above eight mph will test sea legs at the jetty. November can be much tougher, adding cold temperatures to waves and sea spray. Fishing the jetty on such days is for those who love catching big specks more than physical comfort. 

“To understand why the jetty is so good during October and November, you have to understand trout migrations,” said Goodwin, an eighth-generation Down Easter who worked his way to a college degree by shrimping, clamming, oystering and flounder-gigging. “Trout move south out of Albemarle and Pamlico Sound and out of Chesapeake Bay. There are three migration routes they take: an inside route from the northern sounds that follows the inner banks; a middle route through Pamlico, Core and Bogue (sounds); and an outside route down the beaches.

“(The jetty) is a stop they make for protection and food. There’s not much (structure) on the beaches for protection, so they hold for a period of time, rest and feed at the jetty before starting south again.”

Goodwin said the migration actually begins in September with the first northeast winds: the famed “mullet blow.” It peaks in October and November as every fish species headed toward warmer climes uses the jetty as a rest area, including baitfish.

“All kinds of baitfish,” Goodwin said, “from finger mullet to pinfish to small croakers.”

A key reason specks are catchable is they’re aggressive feeders, so there’s not much need to “match the hatch,” Goodwin said.

“I use an assortment of lures and mix them up to see what fish are feeding on that day,” Goodwin said. “In November, specks feed aggressively, expending a lot of energy, so they have to replenish that energy.”

He chooses light- to medium-action 6 ˝- or 7-foot Star rods mated to Shimano or Penn spinning reels spooled with 8- to 10-pound braided line. For lures, Goodwin has a collection of jigs, primarily D.O.A. shrimp, curlytail or paddletail grubs, along with Sea Striker Gotcha curlytails and jerkbaits. Topwater lures rarely leave his tackle box because of wave action.

Although the jetty has a reputation of giving up large trout each fall, Goodwin said the ratio isn’t different than in the marshes, creeks and sheltered bays behind Atlantic Beach, Beaufort and Morehead City.

“I don’t know that the size and mix is any bigger than on the inside,” said Goodwin, whose personal best is a 6-pounder. “You’ve always got a mixture because of different year-classes. You just have greater odds of catching big ones (at the jetty) because 10 percent, no matter where you fish, are probably big ones, 5- to 6-pounders and larger. If you’re fishing where there are 1,000 specks versus 100 specks, you’ve got 100 big ones (at the jetty) and only 10 big ones inside. It’s just a matter of numbers.”

Goodwin also advised anglers to bring plenty of lures because “you will get hung up” on the rocks.

“If you’re not getting hung up and losing lures, you’re not fishing in the right spots,” he said.

DESTINATION INFORMATION

HOW TO GET THERE/WHEN TO GO — From points west, follow US 70 east to the Atlantic Beach/Morehead City/Beaufort area. US 17 will get you to New Bern from points north and south; it meets US 70 there. Best fishing for speckled trout begins in September and cast last through November.

TACKLE/LURES — Medium-action spinning tackle, with 7-foot rods preferred and reels spooled with 15-pound braided line. Tie on a leadhead jig with a soft-plastic trailer: shrimp, curlytails or paddletails will all work. Some fishermen use Carolina rigs with live bait around the jetties. Whatever you use, bring plenty of terminal tackle and rigs because of hang-ups.

GUIDES/FISHING INFO — Bryan Goodwin, Native Guide Service, Harkers Island, 252-725-3961, www.nativeguide.net. Capt. Joe’s Bait & Tackle, Atlantic Beach, 252-222-0670, www.captainjoes.com. See also Guides and Charters in Classifieds.

ACCOMMODATIONS — Crystal Coast-Southern Outer Banks, North Carolina Tourist, Visitor and Convention Center, Morehead City, 800-786-6962 or www.sunnync.com.

MAPS — Capt. Segull’s Nautical Charts, 888-473-4855, www.captainsegullcharts.com; Sealake Fishing Guides, 800-411-0185, www.thegoodspots.com; Grease Chart, 800-326-3567, www.greasechart.com; DeLorme North Carolina Atlas & Gazetteer or DeLorme Topo USA, 800-561-5105 www.delorme.com.

The opportunity to take quality speckled trout is probably the best when fish move to the Cape Lookout rock jetty in the fall.
An angler with a nice speck from the rock jetty.
   

View other articles written Craig Holt


Reports / Forum
Tagged out in two days  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 11:26 am | 997 Views | 3 Comments
Sport fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 10:39 am | 901 Views | 0 Comments
Twin Girls First Turkey!  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 8:51 am | 803 Views | 2 Comments
Autumn Evans first Turkey its a family Tradition  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 8:03 pm | 637 Views | 2 Comments
Heaviest bird yet  This report contains photos  
April 19 at 9:31 am | 633 Views | 0 Comments
Take a tree stand, please  This report contains photos  
April 20 at 1:21 pm | 627 Views | 0 Comments
TAGGED OUT!!  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 6:43 am | 573 Views | 2 Comments
Catawba Catfish Club Lake Wateree,SC 5-3-14 Tournament 
April 19 at 5:15 pm | 509 Views | 0 Comments
Youth Day  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 11:10 am | 471 Views | 1 Comments
weyerhaeuser hunting land 
April 19 at 2:12 pm | 437 Views | 0 Comments
Double with Golden  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 7:45 pm | 381 Views | 0 Comments
Caleb's First Turkey  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 6:47 pm | 375 Views | 1 Comments
Boats Unlimited NC Team Trail Q4 results..Falls Lake..Apr. 12th  This report contains photos  
April 18 at 6:15 am | 335 Views | 0 Comments
First turkey and with a bow!  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 3:29 pm | 299 Views | 0 Comments
Paisley's first turkey 
April 18 at 10:59 am | 295 Views | 0 Comments
Cold, Rainy and Windy Tough on Fishing 
April 20 at 2:23 pm | 253 Views | 0 Comments
Golden Wings  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 7:42 pm | 251 Views | 0 Comments
GT and Viper 
Yesterday at 7:46 pm | 221 Views | 0 Comments
taking the boat and 2 year old out(high rock lake) 
April 19 at 1:55 pm | 211 Views | 0 Comments
Fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 9:18 am | 209 Views | 0 Comments
Post | Reports | Forum
Tagged out in two days  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 11:26 am | 997 Views | 3 Comments
Autumn Evans first Turkey its a family Tradition  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 8:03 pm | 637 Views | 2 Comments
TAGGED OUT!!  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 6:43 am | 573 Views | 2 Comments
Twin Girls First Turkey!  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 8:51 am | 803 Views | 2 Comments
Youth Day  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 11:10 am | 471 Views | 1 Comments
Caleb's First Turkey  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 6:47 pm | 375 Views | 1 Comments
Golden Wings  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 7:42 pm | 251 Views | 0 Comments
First turkey and with a bow!  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 3:29 pm | 299 Views | 0 Comments
Fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 9:18 am | 209 Views | 0 Comments
Cold, Rainy and Windy Tough on Fishing 
April 20 at 2:23 pm | 253 Views | 0 Comments
Take a tree stand, please  This report contains photos  
April 20 at 1:21 pm | 627 Views | 0 Comments
Catawba Catfish Club Lake Wateree,SC 5-3-14 Tournament 
April 19 at 5:15 pm | 509 Views | 0 Comments
weyerhaeuser hunting land 
April 19 at 2:12 pm | 437 Views | 0 Comments
taking the boat and 2 year old out(high rock lake) 
April 19 at 1:55 pm | 211 Views | 0 Comments
Heaviest bird yet  This report contains photos  
April 19 at 9:31 am | 633 Views | 0 Comments
Paisley's first turkey 
April 18 at 10:59 am | 295 Views | 0 Comments
Boats Unlimited NC Team Trail Q4 results..Falls Lake..Apr. 12th  This report contains photos  
April 18 at 6:15 am | 335 Views | 0 Comments
Sport fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 10:39 am | 901 Views | 0 Comments
GT and Viper 
Yesterday at 7:46 pm | 221 Views | 0 Comments
Double with Golden  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 7:45 pm | 381 Views | 0 Comments
Post | Reports | Forum
GT and Viper 
Yesterday at 7:46 pm | 221 Views | 0 Comments
Double with Golden  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 7:45 pm | 381 Views | 0 Comments
Golden Wings  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 7:42 pm | 251 Views | 0 Comments
First turkey and with a bow!  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 3:29 pm | 299 Views | 0 Comments
Fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 9:18 am | 209 Views | 0 Comments
Cold, Rainy and Windy Tough on Fishing 
April 20 at 2:23 pm | 253 Views | 0 Comments
Take a tree stand, please  This report contains photos  
April 20 at 1:21 pm | 627 Views | 0 Comments
Catawba Catfish Club Lake Wateree,SC 5-3-14 Tournament 
April 19 at 5:15 pm | 509 Views | 0 Comments
weyerhaeuser hunting land 
April 19 at 2:12 pm | 437 Views | 0 Comments
taking the boat and 2 year old out(high rock lake) 
April 19 at 1:55 pm | 211 Views | 0 Comments
Heaviest bird yet  This report contains photos  
April 19 at 9:31 am | 633 Views | 0 Comments
Paisley's first turkey 
April 18 at 10:59 am | 295 Views | 0 Comments
Boats Unlimited NC Team Trail Q4 results..Falls Lake..Apr. 12th  This report contains photos  
April 18 at 6:15 am | 335 Views | 0 Comments
Autumn Evans first Turkey its a family Tradition  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 8:03 pm | 637 Views | 2 Comments
Youth Day  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 11:10 am | 471 Views | 1 Comments
Sport fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 10:39 am | 901 Views | 0 Comments
TAGGED OUT!!  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 6:43 am | 573 Views | 2 Comments
Caleb's First Turkey  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 6:47 pm | 375 Views | 1 Comments
Tagged out in two days  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 11:26 am | 997 Views | 3 Comments
Twin Girls First Turkey!  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 8:51 am | 803 Views | 2 Comments
Post | Reports | Forum

Free Classifieds

Wanted anything Dan Wesson.
Wanted anything Dan Wesson.
Looking for revolvers anything Dan Wesson, thanks please call Will at 919-937-7687...
April 16 at 5:04 pm | 30 Views
MDBR Hunting Club has 4 openings!
MDBR Hunting Club has 4 openings!
MDBR Hunting Club is a small 10 member club with a 350 acre lease near Gulf, NC (Chatham County). No Dog Hunting in Chatham county! Very peaceful area! Membership dues pay for lease & insurance. Anyone interested should visit our website at...
18 hours ago | 20 Views
1998 Jeep Wrangler Sport 4x4
1998 Jeep Wrangler Sport 4x4
Very good condition 1998 Jeep Wrangler Sport. It has been very wellrnkept. It appears to have always been garaged and only driven on cityrnstreets and not been offroaded. This Jeep was owned and cared for by arnperson who appreciated nice things....
April 17 at 5:06 pm | 93 Views
Baby Desert Eagle 40 S&W for $250
Baby Desert Eagle 40 S&W for $250
Excellent Desert Eagle 40 caliber Hand Gun For Sale,6 ' barrel,semi rnrnautomatic,& made by Magnum Research,right here in the USA,& comes with 1-7 rnrnround magazine, super heavy duty fitted carry case with soft rummer rnrninside,take down...
April 20 at 3:13 am | 28 Views
G3 Gator Tough 1860 CC Tunnel
G3 Gator Tough 1860 CC Tunnel
70hp Yamaha 4 stroke with 6' jack plate, only 25 hours. 2012 custom fit float on/off trailer w/removable tongue, Mossy oak W/ Bimini top. Fish finder, GPS, 55lb Min Kota trolling motor, live well, cooler bench seat with leaning post, two lockable...
April 19 at 11:35 am | 118 Views
Still Hunting Deer Club
Still Hunting Deer Club
Membership available in still hunting deer club for the 2014-15 season. Club has almost 4,000 acres of leased land and owns 55 acres with a two story club house. Club is located in Warren county about 5 miles from Littleton. Club dues are $725.00....
April 21 at 7:43 am | 93 Views
Baby Desert Eagle 40 S&W for $250
Baby Desert Eagle 40 S&W for $250
Excellent Desert Eagle 40 caliber Hand Gun For Sale,6 ' barrel,semi rnrnautomatic,& made by Magnum Research,right here in the USA,& comes with 1-7 rnrnround magazine, super heavy duty fitted carry case with soft rummer rnrninside,take down...
April 20 at 3:18 am | 39 Views
Late 60\'s Early 70\'s Zabala 20 Gauge Double Barrell
Late 60\'s Early 70\'s Zabala 20 Gauge Double Barrell
Late 60's Early 70's Eagle Arms by Zabala 20 Gauge Double Barrel Shotgun. 26' Barrel, 3' shells. This gun was handed down to me and I am not a gun enthusiast, so do not have a need for it. Can provide more pics, info if necessary. Email...
April 16 at 5:30 pm | 107 Views