I hope everybody is making through this winter so far, the weather been up and down and that is an understatement! There are some fish biting but you just need to go on the right days to catch them. If you’re settled down for the winter and don’t feel like fishing, hit a local or regional fishing school or boat show; you never know what you might learn or see!
The Redfishing lately has been pretty good most days when the wind is not howling and we’ve seen some nice schools of Reds. Warmer, sunny and lower wind days can be the key to catching these inshore winter Redfish. It’s not hard to catch them once you find’em, look for these Reds in creek with dark colored bottoms and oyster rocks never hurt. Scented soft plastics like Berkley Gulp should do the trick to get these Reds to hit. Patterns in Gulp like Shrimp in sizes 2” and 3” are my go too, colors that seem to work the best are pearl, sugar spice glow, molting and new penny. Try lighter jig heads like 1/16 and 1/8 when winter fishing; lighter jig heads help you to work the lure much slower and still look nature as possible. Don’t forget fluorocarbon leader in thirty pound, the water is very clear most days in the winter!
I’ve made quite a few trips to the Cape Fear River this year; there are three different kinds of fish to chase in the Cape Fear, Catfish, Redfish and Striped Bass most all winter long. Here is a few ways to put a CFR Striper or Redfish on your line. Try Berkley Gulp Jerkshad in five and six inch size; in pearl & new penny colors. Work these baits slowly and always rig them weed-less; there are many hangs in the Cape Fear River. I like www.moanerhooks.com
weighted Stroker hooks in 1/4oz 5/0 size; great hook for the money! Look for Stripers on drop-offs, dock pilings and reed-grass lines. I catch the river Redfish on the same rigs for the Striped Bass. Remember the Cape Fear River Striped Bass Fishery is closed and all Striped Bass must be released!
If you would like to give the Catfish a try, use baits like cut mullet, chicken livers and cut eel. I use heavy Carolina rigs when I fish for catfish. Try an Eagle claw L42 2/0 to 4/0 hook with fifty or eighty pound mono leader to make your carolina rig. Look for the catfish on drop-offs from five to twenty feet of water. We have seen some blue cats over thirty pounds caught in the river so try not to use to light of tackle; these are not always your ‘farm pond channel cats’!
Fishing gear I use:
Gear used: Redfish and Striped Bass: reels Penn Conquer 2000 and Battle 3000 & 4000 spinning reels. Catfish: PENN SSV 4500. Rods PENN Legion or Regiment in med 8 to 15# class. Line: Spiderwire Ultracast ten and fifth teen pound. Fluorocarbon leader material, Berkley Pro Spec Fluorocarbon in tints Gunsmoke for clearer waters and Tannic for river or stained waters in thirty pound for Redfish and Striped Bass.
Thanks for reading and good luck fishing!
Capt. Jot Owens
PENN Tackle Elite Staff
Ranger Boats Pro Staff