The bays and creeks along the western side of Pamlico Sound from Willow Point near the mouth of the Pungo River to Stumpy Point are holding a lot of puppy drum, speckled trout, stripers and an occasional flounder.
Capt. Richard Andrews of Tar-Pam Guide Service in Washington, said fish have held in the same places since the fall – through various weather changes – and should stay put until there’s an extreme turn in the forecast. They bit through the past week in extremes that ranged from light-surface ice one morning to shirtsleeve weather the following afternoon.
“We have been finding good numbers of specks in the creeks off the bays all fall, and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon,” Andrews said. “This is an agricultural area, and drainage ditches run into some of the creeks. After a rain, the water can get muddy and move the fish around some, but they usually only go far enough to get back in clean water. On several trips last week, I found dirty water near the ditches, cleaner water out a ways and even a few places where the water was almost too clear.”
Andrews (252-945-9715) said he is catching a lot of speckled trout; most have been on the small side since Thanksgiving, and fishermen are having to release a bunch of shorts. The good news is that they are still filling limits, and few fishermen are upset about releasing the little specks.
“While the specks are typically in the deeper sections of the creeks, there are also pretty good numbers of puppy drum on the shallow flats,” Andrews said. “It doesn’t happen every trip, but we catch a flounder or two most weeks. There are a few stripers in several of the creeks, and they add some occasional variety to the fishing.”
Andrews has been catching most of his specks on a variety of MirrOlures and Z-Man soft plastics, including a MinnowZ in pinfish and some of the lighter colors with flake. He’s been fishing them slowly across the bottom, occasionally twitching them a few inches up and letting them settle. He said he had also had a few fish hit while the soft baits were paused on the bottom.
Andrews adds a weight strip to MirrOLure MR 17s to get them a little deeper and said it has worked well on puppy drum and stripers. When targeting reds, he’s fished a Gulp! shrimp under a popping cork.