• Inshore Fishing

    A day’s limit of slot redfish for three fishermen goes a long way toward a full frying pan and tasty meal.

    A guide’s best recipes for red drum

    Guide Dale Collins likes to prepare fish for meals, especially redfish, and the one fish he can keep daily (between 18 and 27 inches) will do fine for his two favorite ways to cook them: blackened or grilled.

    January 15 at 7:00am
    A number of species, like striped bass, are active during cold weather and should be on paddling anglers’ to-do lists.

    Prep for winter paddling

    Winter is one of the best times to fish anywhere in the Carolinas. The weather is more stable than spring and fall, and angling pressure and boat traffic are lower. Likewise, a number of fish species readily bite all winter.

    January 14 at 9:00am
    Gerald Grenier, aka Jiggin’ Jerry, shows off a 9-pound, 1-ounce sheepshead caught from the Mount Pleasant pier on ultralight tackle.

    Shepherd the pier flock - Winter doesn’t shut down sheepshead action, especially on Mount Pleasant’s unique pier

    South Carolina fishermen can find plenty of cold-weather sheepshead action off the Mount Pleasant Pier, including good numbers and hefty sizes — if you know how to catch them and don’t mind cold weather.

    January 01 at 7:00am
    Take a winter surfing safari for Swansboro, N.C., redfish.

    Ride the surf for winter reds

    Guide Dale Collins and anglers Rocky Carter of Swansboro, N.C., and John Moon of Graham, N.C., were casting 3-inch mullet chunks on Carolina rigs toward the churning surf. Within seconds, each angler was hooked up with an over-slot red drum that made rods bend and drags squeal. After battles that often took 10 minutes each, they released dozens of these broad-shouldered bronze fish.

    January 01 at 7:00am
    Capt. Charlie Beadon loves chasing redfish this time of year, for good reason.

    Lowcountry reds are there for the picking in early winter

    South Carolina anglers will have no trouble finding redfish in the Lowcountry this month. Getting them to bite, however, will take a little more patience and finesse than at other times of the year. The fish school in large groups through winter; their sheer mass gives them away to even the most-nonchalant angler.

    December 21, 2016 at 4:18pm
    Winter reds will move into shallow water to avoid encounters with bottlenose dolphin, and they’ll actively feed.

    G’town reds are on

    January can bring blustery conditions even to the south. But that doesn’t mean the redfish won’t be biting, and the backwaters around Georgetown are ground zero for winter reds.

    Matt Bellamy of Captain Matt’s Saltwater Charters said winter is prime time to slide into a skinny water creek and land double-digit reds out of the same hole. 

    December 21, 2016 at 3:07pm
    Noah Lynk targets big speckled trout around the Cape Lookout rock jetty during winter.

    Rock jetty is the ticket

    North Carolina winters often are unpredictable, but one spot doesn’t seem to be affected much by roller-coaster mercury readings: the Cape Lookout rock jetty.

    December 21, 2016 at 2:53pm
    Guide Mark Stacy looks for trout around Little River in deeper holes where the water temperature is stable and food is available.

    State-line trout are hungry

    Falling closely behind redfish, speckled trout are one of the most sought-after inshore gamefish. While most anglers look to score a limit during the fall flurry, few visit the coast during the winter because the weather is too cold or the fish aren’t available. But anglers who can withstand long underwear-and-toboggan weather, the January speckled trout fishing around Little River on the North Carolina-South Carolina border can be worth the time and effort.

    December 21, 2016 at 2:20pm
    Plenty of speckled trout and redfish are caught through December in the Harkers Island/Cape Lookout area.

    Reds, specks are special to North Carolina anglers

    Red drum, siaenops ocellaus, and spotted seatrout, cynoscion nebulosus, are two of North Carolina’s most-popular inshore gamefish.

    December 15, 2016 at 7:00am
    The author battles a redfish he hooked on a fly.

    Redfish on the fly

    It stretches the imagination that a feather-adorned fish hook dropped in front of a redfish looks like an irresistible morsel.

    December 15, 2016 at 7:00am
    Wilderness now offers the Thrive baitwell for paddlers who want to fish with something other than artificials.

    A wish list for paddlers

    With colder weather in the air, it’s time to look at re-outfitting your plastic boat to get ready for spring. Never before in the history of paddling have outdoor manufacturers, designers and marketers been so attuned to the needs and wants of the paddler.

    December 14, 2016 at 9:00am
    Capt. Rob Bennett shows off the type of redfish he's been catching on the small Z-Man Slim SwimZ in the Bohicket area.

    Catch more speckled trout and redfish with this small plastic lure

    While plenty of soft plastic lures are made to specifically target one species of fish, it’s no secret that anglers often successfully use those lures for other types of fish. It’s a little bit of serendipity for lure makers and anglers alike, and can often lead to claims of a “secret lure” catching all the fish.

    December 04, 2016 at 2:03pm
    Guide Noah Lynk of Harkers Island caught this huge speckled trout in the waters close to his home base.

    Harkers Island holiday treasures - December fishing in Cape Lookout’s inshore waters can be fantastic

    Once the weather begins to cool around Thanksgiving, many fishermen clean their gear and winterize their boats for storage until spring. Fishermen who put on a jacket and continue to fish really appreciate this. The shorter lines at launching ramps and reduced competition for preferred spots makes catching a limit of specks and reds much easier.

    December 01, 2016 at 7:00am
    Late fall is probably the easiest time to catch redfish

    Fast or slow? Just fool them - Which retrieve is the best to catch late-fall Carolina redfish

    Who’s right?  

    You’ve read the articles, watched fishing shows and videos and fished with guides or other so-called experts, and they give conflicting advice on how to catch redfish. Those who fish with bait know catching reds is pretty straight forward: drop live or dead bait into a likely spot and wait until something eats it. Yes, there are many subtleties to presenting the bait into the right spots, but if the fish are hungry, they will eat.

    December 01, 2016 at 7:00am
    Black drum are active through December in deep holes in inshore creeks. Key on areas close to structure.

    Black-out! Catching black drum doesn't have to be an accident

    Most black drum caught inshore are taken by anglers targeting redfish, speckled trout or flounder, but if you want to catch a black drum on purpose, December is a great month for it. 

    November 30, 2016 at 3:55pm
    Sheepshead gang up on Little River’s jetties in December before migrating into the ocean to spawn around nearshore reefs.

    A rocky time for Little River sheepshead

    The Carolinas are in the middle of the eastern seaboard, where unpredictable weather drives the outdoor scene. Even though the first day of winter arrives Dec. 20, 75-degree days are still common. 

    November 30, 2016 at 3:40pm