Wilmington river stripers still biting, but weather has moved them deeper

Crankbaits, retrieved or trolled, have been taken plenty of Cape Fear, NE Cape Fear fish

Jerry Dilsaver

January 23 at 8:46 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Capt. Stu Caulder has been catching stripers in the rivers around Wilmington, but he said fish have moved deeper over the past week.
Jerry Dilsaver
Capt. Stu Caulder has been catching stripers in the rivers around Wilmington, but he said fish have moved deeper over the past week.

Striper numbers appear to be growing in the Cape Fear River near Wilmington, but rapid-fire cold fronts passing through the area have driven them into deeper water than usual.

Capt. Stuart Caulder of Gold Leader Fishing in Wrightsville Beach said this has definitely been an unusual winter so far, with speckled trout and redfish finally settling in for a slow winter compared to the past two mild winters. He said striper numbers were improving until the past couple of weeks, and there is enough rainwater runoff in the Cape Fear and Northeast Cape Fear rivers that it is pushing the stripers deep. He doesn’t think they have gone anywhere, but they have gotten more difficult to find and catch.

“We had a lot of things going against us last week as far as fishing goes,” Caulder said. “There was rainwater runoff headed downriver from unseasonable rains in the Piedmont, and it was raising water levels and keeping the rivers muddy.”

On top of that, the full moon hit last week, bringing higher tides than usual. Combined with the runoff, currents really ran strong, especially during the falling tides. When you add in the cold front that swept through Friday night, complete with a nasty thunderstorm, the odds were really stacked against fishermen last week.

“Thankfully, this has been a strong year for stripers in the Cape Fear River, and while all this slowed the action, it was still there,” Caulder said. “We tried to find some fish in shallower places for a while, but worked through several ways of fishing until we found them deep. Once we located them, we stuck with it and caught them. The fishing was better Sunday than Saturday and should continue to improve every day the weather is stable.”

Caulder (910-264-2674) said cold weather by itself isn’t a negative for striper fishing in the rivers around Wilmington, and at times it actually fires up the action. He said the negative is when the temperature drops rapidly with a passing cold front and the barometer drops, too. That drives the fish deep and puts them off the bite until the barometer stabilizes or begins rising again.

Caulder is catching some deep stripers by fishing soft plastics more slowly and on heavier jigheads, but deep-diving crankbaits have been producing really well lately. He said the crankbaits can be cast and retrieved or trolled. He sometimes trolls to locate fish he believes are in a certain area, and then anchors and casts to them.

“Pay close attention to your fish finder when striper fishing,” Caulder said. “Stripers really like to feed on suspended bait and will often mark as arches hovering around a bait pod. When you see that, you are over stripers that are feeding. You just need to get a bait or lure down to their depth.” 


View other articles written Jerry Dilsaver


Reports / Forum
Opening Day Success  This report contains photos  
April 13 at 2:44 am | 1907 Views | 3 Comments
1st Thunder Chicken  This report contains photos  
April 12 at 8:49 am | 1177 Views | 6 Comments
Opening Morning Double!!  This report contains photos  
April 14 at 8:17 am | 853 Views | 4 Comments
First Turkey...  This report contains photos  
April 14 at 12:39 pm | 619 Views | 4 Comments
Black Bass Fishing is Great  This report contains photos  
April 12 at 5:21 pm | 517 Views | 0 Comments
opening day success  This report contains photos  
April 15 at 12:29 pm | 461 Views | 1 Comments
Tagged out in two days  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 11:26 am | 437 Views | 3 Comments
Weldon Stripers 
April 15 at 7:14 am | 409 Views | 1 Comments
Twin Girls First Turkey!  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 8:51 am | 377 Views | 1 Comments
Deep Sea Fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
April 11 at 8:31 pm | 351 Views | 0 Comments
First Turkey 
April 14 at 12:27 pm | 279 Views | 0 Comments
TAGGED OUT!!  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 6:43 am | 225 Views | 2 Comments
Caleb's First Turkey  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 6:47 pm | 193 Views | 1 Comments
Youth Day  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 11:10 am | 183 Views | 1 Comments
Autumn Evans first Turkey its a family Tradition  This report contains photos  
17 hours ago | 171 Views | 1 Comments
Sport fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 10:39 am | 99 Views | 0 Comments
Boats Unlimited NC Team Trail Q4 results..Falls Lake..Apr. 12th  This report contains photos  
6 hours ago | 73 Views | 0 Comments
Paisley's first turkey 
2 hours ago | 29 Views | 0 Comments
Post | Reports | Forum
1st Thunder Chicken  This report contains photos  
April 12 at 8:49 am | 1177 Views | 6 Comments
First Turkey...  This report contains photos  
April 14 at 12:39 pm | 619 Views | 4 Comments
Opening Morning Double!!  This report contains photos  
April 14 at 8:17 am | 853 Views | 4 Comments
Tagged out in two days  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 11:26 am | 437 Views | 3 Comments
Opening Day Success  This report contains photos  
April 13 at 2:44 am | 1907 Views | 3 Comments
TAGGED OUT!!  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 6:43 am | 225 Views | 2 Comments
Autumn Evans first Turkey its a family Tradition  This report contains photos  
17 hours ago | 171 Views | 1 Comments
Youth Day  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 11:10 am | 183 Views | 1 Comments
Caleb's First Turkey  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 6:47 pm | 193 Views | 1 Comments
Twin Girls First Turkey!  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 8:51 am | 377 Views | 1 Comments
opening day success  This report contains photos  
April 15 at 12:29 pm | 461 Views | 1 Comments
Weldon Stripers 
April 15 at 7:14 am | 409 Views | 1 Comments
Paisley's first turkey 
2 hours ago | 29 Views | 0 Comments
Boats Unlimited NC Team Trail Q4 results..Falls Lake..Apr. 12th  This report contains photos  
6 hours ago | 73 Views | 0 Comments
Sport fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 10:39 am | 99 Views | 0 Comments
First Turkey 
April 14 at 12:27 pm | 279 Views | 0 Comments
Black Bass Fishing is Great  This report contains photos  
April 12 at 5:21 pm | 517 Views | 0 Comments
Deep Sea Fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
April 11 at 8:31 pm | 351 Views | 0 Comments
Post | Reports | Forum
Paisley's first turkey 
2 hours ago | 29 Views | 0 Comments
Boats Unlimited NC Team Trail Q4 results..Falls Lake..Apr. 12th  This report contains photos  
6 hours ago | 73 Views | 0 Comments
Autumn Evans first Turkey its a family Tradition  This report contains photos  
17 hours ago | 171 Views | 1 Comments
Youth Day  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 11:10 am | 183 Views | 1 Comments
Sport fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 10:39 am | 99 Views | 0 Comments
TAGGED OUT!!  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 6:43 am | 225 Views | 2 Comments
Caleb's First Turkey  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 6:47 pm | 193 Views | 1 Comments
Tagged out in two days  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 11:26 am | 437 Views | 3 Comments
Twin Girls First Turkey!  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 8:51 am | 377 Views | 1 Comments
opening day success  This report contains photos  
April 15 at 12:29 pm | 461 Views | 1 Comments
Weldon Stripers 
April 15 at 7:14 am | 409 Views | 1 Comments
First Turkey...  This report contains photos  
April 14 at 12:39 pm | 619 Views | 4 Comments
First Turkey 
April 14 at 12:27 pm | 279 Views | 0 Comments
Opening Morning Double!!  This report contains photos  
April 14 at 8:17 am | 853 Views | 4 Comments
Opening Day Success  This report contains photos  
April 13 at 2:44 am | 1907 Views | 3 Comments
Black Bass Fishing is Great  This report contains photos  
April 12 at 5:21 pm | 517 Views | 0 Comments
1st Thunder Chicken  This report contains photos  
April 12 at 8:49 am | 1177 Views | 6 Comments
Deep Sea Fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
April 11 at 8:31 pm | 351 Views | 0 Comments
Post | Reports | Forum

Free Classifieds

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....
20 hours ago | 13 Views
GUN HUNTS IN KANSAS
GUN HUNTS IN KANSAS
Only a few days left to get your Kansas deer hunting license & permits. Last day to apply is April 24th. I have 3-4 spots available for the exciting gun season Dec 8th thru Dec 14th. Come hunt with me in 'The Land of Giants' on privately managed...
April 14 at 10:51 pm | 41 Views
Wanted anything Dan Wesson.
Wanted anything Dan Wesson.
Looking for revolvers anything Dan Wesson, thanks please call Will at 919-937-7687...
Yesterday at 5:04 pm | 14 Views
Brand New Carbon Express Cross Bow
Brand New Carbon Express Cross Bow
This is a brand new bow in the box never been opened never been fired. It is a Carbon Express X-Force 400 Cross Bow. It is a complete package with Rope Cocker and Rail Lube, 4x32 Deluxe Scope, Quick detach 3 arrow quiver, 3 20' crossbolts and 3...
April 15 at 7:38 pm | 37 Views
Halifax County Lease
Halifax County Lease
800 acre lease on QDMA property.12 members complete the lease and we need two. pastures,fields, cutovers, and hardwood swamps. Lots of turkey, deer, and ducks (252)327-1795...
April 11 at 2:46 pm | 140 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...
Yesterday at 5:30 pm | 52 Views