- Captain Dean's Eastern North Carolina Fishing Report
Cape Lookout light house
I'll be posting updates from my fishing adventures and charters to this page, so you can keep up with what's biting and where. Also, feel free to send me an email and I'll add you to my mailing list, and send you occasional updates on the fishing situation on the Roanoke River and Emerald Isle/Atlantic Beach area.
Be sure to check out our Facebook page for updates and new pictures too.
Branden's 1st Drum
Branden's 1st Drum
During the last five days I had weather from very calm seas off shore where we caught Amberjack on some wrecks to NE winds 15 to 25 mph. Last two days I fished with two excellent saltwater fly fishermen who fought wind gusts to 30 mph. The anglers worked hard and were finally rewarded with several nice red drum. The attached picture was Brendan's first red drum on a fly. He caught the fish on a copper head fly that I tie with a worm rattle in the fly. The fish continually tried to swim into the oyster bars but Brendan did an excellent job to get him to the net. After a few pictures, the drum was released back in the water for someone else to catch and release. Sept. 7 to 13 offers some nice high tides to find tailing drum I still have 7,8,9 open if your in the area.
Big Ocean Flounder
Big Ocean Flounder
Last week was a busy week on the water and beautiful weather with calm seas. Inshore trips were very good with lots of Amberjack and plenty of bottom fish. The bigger Flounder have shown up at the near shore wrecks and finger mullet being the bait of choice. The finger mullet will start heading out of the inlet with the first cold front, usually around Labor Day. This activity will also attarct lot of pelagic fish near the inlets and along the beach. Tailing Drum tides are fast approaching Sept. 4th to the 13th. I already have a few trips booked so contact me soon if your interested in giving it a try. Lets hope this great weather continues into Albacore season.
Tailing Drum Tides Sept. 7 to 12, 2014
The best morning high tides of the year starts on Sept. 7th. I have the week available for charters except one day. The morning tides are the best because there should be less wind to make it easier to find the tailing fish. Give me a call or send an eamil.
Albacore seasllon will be in high gear in less than two months. Currently, I have several days booked in Oct. and Nov. The Cape Lookout Albacore Festival will be held the last week of Oct. I would like to have two clients fish with me for Friday and Saturday in the tournament. The banquet will be Friday night and tournament on Sat. with awards on Sat. night.
Fall fishing is the best of the year. Hope you will be a part of the excitment and good fishing.
The weather and wind finally started to cooperate last week. The near shore flounder on wrecks has been very good. Small Menhaden or Finger Mullet are the best bait. Off shore 12 to 16 miles, the AJ's, black bass and a few Cobia are biting good. I will be out of town the next 8 days returning 8-9. There are some good high tailing drum tides in August and Sept. if your interested in a great experience. The first mullet blows are only about 4 weeks away. Start thinking about Albacore season. I already have trips booked for this year.
July 4th brought us Hurrican Arthur. The storm passed right along Emerald 'Isle with winds up to 105 MPH. This was the earliest hurrican on record for N.C. . Fortunately, little damage was noted mostly to trees and some sound side flooding My boats were on their trailers off the island and boards on the house. I fished July 5th and found a large school of menhaden off Atlantic Beach in 15ft of water, go figure. Fished a offshore wreck with the live bait and caught one Cobia.
This coming week July 9, 10, 11 offers some high tides in the PM. Give me a call if your interested in looking for some tailing drum up on the flats. Hope you had a great 4th.
big flounder in turning basis
big flounder in turning basis
Left the dock at 7AM looking for Spanish Mackerel after four days of blowing wind. We found a few but moved on to the nearest wreck. Fished over some big structure and caught several keeper flounder and gray trout and lots of black bass (no keepers). We then fish the next wreck west but the wind picked up and the drift was too fast. Came back to inlet and ended up in the turning basin and caught this nice 23" flounder on the west end. All and all, we had a good catching day. Hope the Spanish are outside the inlet tomarrow.
Dr. Bogus 22.5 "Flounder
Dr. Bogus 22.5 "Flounder
Great weather on sunday and calm seas. Took Dr. Bogus out fishing for a few hours. Spanish Mackerel were biting good very early. We then went to the near shore wrecks and had a very good bit of Black Bass and Flounder. We caught 4 nice flounder up to 22.5 inches and lots of short ones. We must have caught 40 Black Bass. We fished most of the time using mud minnows and some jigs. Lots of Spanish Mackerel started feeding near us but they would not hit even small sting silvers. New Lowerence HDS 7 was installed on Monday and now installing new trim tab actuators. Back on the water on Friday and can't wait to see sid scan work and find the fish at the wrecks.
Eventhough summer is not offically here the summer fish are starting to show up. Spanish Mackerel, Flounder, Black Bass, and Cobia are being caught. Further out in the ocean, Amberjack, Mahi Mahi. I just purchased a new Lowrance HDS 7 structure scan Depth and chartplotter for my 25ft boat. I cant wait to see the wrecks on the side scan or some call it structure scan. Looking forward to a fun summer at the Crystal Coast of N.C.
Dean and Bill
Ben 2014 fish
Dean and Bill
Ben 2014 fish
Today was my last day on the Roanoke for 2014. Fishing was very good today and we caught some of the largest fish of the year. Water temp was up to 65o and I think the fish will spawn any day. Fishing should continue to be great for the next week or two. Wildlife told me that they shocked a 58 pound striper a few days ago. I think this is the largest Striper ever shocked on the Roanoke.
I had a young fly angler from U.N.C with his dad from High Point and he could really cast the 350 grain line. By the end of the day, he had caught well over 60 fish using the same fly all day. The fly was my attempt to resemble a lake Shad. It was a clouser, white, yellow, olive with lots of flash and a pink head.
Thanks to all my clients for a great year and to Capt. Tom Roller for filling in for me when I took a week off for personal reasons.
Get up to the Roanoke in the next week for some of the best fishing of the year. Hope to see you at Atlantic Beach this summer. I already have seven Albie trips booked for the Fall of 2014.
Striper season on the Roanoke at Weldon is in full swing. Lots of fish are being caught on a daily basis. The last trip I guided was with an 8 and 9 year old with their father in the rain, these were tough kids. The boys hung in there and the oldest caught the first three fish and the two biggest keepers. Dad tried hard but the fish mostly wanted to bite on the boys line. Teaching young anglers like these to fish and get them excited about fishing keeps me coming back to the river. After taking a week off, I will be back on the river this week. Take a kid fishing be part of the excitment
Striper season is here. I just talked to the owner of "Muddy Banks" bait shop in Weldon. He said that several customers came in today to buy more bait. He is now open for the season and is located across the street from the boat ramp selling Shad and Minnows. The fish were biting but I don't know how far down river they found the fish. I start my charters on Friday and they run well into the second week of May. Water level is high right now due to all the water in Kerr Lake. Projections are that the water flow will receed in the next few days. Hope to see you on the river.
8 year old with first Striper
8 year old with first Striper
I had three Shad charters this week, the weather was great and the fishing was epic. My clients caught 80 to 100 shad every day on both Fly and spin gear. About 10% of the catch were American Shad and the remainder were Hickory. It is such great news that the American Shad are making a come back in the Roanoke thanks to over 10 years of stocking 600,000 small fry per year. Wildlife recently shocked lots of American Shad near the dam. More anglers are experiencing the great Shad fishing on the Roanoke River the best in the state of N.C. Make sure to be part of the experience next year if not this week. The Shad are starting to spawn and will be heading down river soon. I was using a small fly made of charqtruse, white and hot pink, baitfish emulator flash sold by Hareline Dubbin, Inc. tied on a #6 hook using 8 pound tippet. Gold spoons, green and yellow shad darts and hot pink jig heads with white and red curly tails also worked great.
The Stripers are in the river down near Williamston and Jamesville. It usually takes about 10 days for the fish to travel to the Weldon area. I expect we will have good fishing by mid month depending on the water levels and temps. Currently, I only have a few openings for the 2014 season. Hope to see you on the Roanoke with a "tight line". My next post will talk about Stripers/Rock fish.
9 year old with one of two keepers
9 year old with one of two keepers
Several Captains took a group of Vets from the "healing waters program" to Weldon to catch some Shad on the fly. A group in Carteret county has been teaching the Vets to cast and tie flies. Unfortunately, it was a terrible day with wind, rain and cold. I guess you can imagine it did not stop the group from having a fun day on the water and catching some Shad. After fishing for almost five hours we ate lunch at Ralph's barbeque in Weldon. I am the guy with the yellow rain suite.
Steve with two Shad on flies
Healing Waters trip to Weldon
Steve with two Shad on flies
Healing Waters trip to Weldon
Headed for Weldon on the Roanoke River thursday at 7am, 24o and sunny. Met Steve and his daughter at 9am. I tried five different spots and the results the same, no fish. Finally at 1pm the Shad started biting. We used spinning rods with tandem darts, green and white, silver spoon and pink jig head with while grub curly tails. On the fly rods we used green flies, pink and white and very flashy flies. By four pm we had caught 25 to 30 Shad with three doubles. Here is a picture of a happy girl with two Hickory shad and Dad. It was worth the wait. The water temp was 47o and didn't warm up much during the day. Heading back on Sunday to help the "Healing water" group to take out a group of Vets. I have three charters next week. The forecast is for the water flow to come back up to 10K. Right now the conditions are very good for Shad. I have been told that the Shad spawn when the water gets over 58o so they should be here for at least another week. Hope to see you on the Roanoke.
Shad fishing report from the Roanoke River at Weldon, N.C. I went on a prospecting trip on Friday. The dam was releasing 20,000 cfps most of last week and the river is very high. The Shad fishing is not good right now, but will change once the flow is reduced. The water temp is 45o which is warm enough for the Shad to be in Weldon. For those of you that have fished Weldon, the big rock is far under water as well as all the rock near the boat ramp. The boat dock in under water and not useable. I saw a few Shad caught by the bank fishermen. They were using red heads, orange/yellow flash tails with a red paddle tail. The problem right now is you must use a fly line or jig head heavy enough to get the fly or lure down to the fish in 20+ feet of water. Projected flow release for the next few days is down around 10,000 cfps. Let's hope we don't get a lot of rain in the next few days that will raise the lake levels and increase the river flow back up. I should have a good Shad report mid next week.
Lauren two Shad
Lauren two Shad
November turned out to be a good month for Albie fishing. My last four trips started on Nov. 15th. We had four good days fishing about 8 miles out on the West side of the Cape Lookout shoals. There were lots of Bay Anchovie bait balls with hungry Albacore feeding. I primarily used a brown gummy minnow which matched the bait perfectly. We caught between 15 to 25 Albies every day. The water temp has now dropped and the Albies are on the move. I am taking the winter off and will be fishing two weeks in Boca Grande, Fla in Feb. I am taking my flats boat and hope to catch some Snook on a fly. Hope to see you at the Winston Salem Fly Fishing Show on Feb. 8 and 9th. I will be giving a talk on the Roanoke and have a table tying flies. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Lauren and Dad
Lauren and Dad
Three days of Albie fishing with a great flyfishermen from Calf. We found lots of Albies everyday but had to deal with some big waves from the West on Wednesday. My Hydra Sports allowed us to remain in the ocean and catch some nice Albies on flies. Most of the fish were feeding on Bay Anchovies so they were staying up long enough to get hookups. Most of the fish were in the 10 to 15 lb class. When the fish went down, we used a sinking line and had consistent fishing. Thursday we had lots of Albies in the shipping channel in the AM. When fishing slowed down in the afternoon, I head offshore about 11 miles. We fished with a 14 wt. rod over a wreck. A 30 lb Amerjack liked the all white fly we were using and provided a great fight. We also saw a brief top water blitz of AJ's. The second visitor to the wreck was a large sea turtle who appeared to be sleeping. We drifted to within three feet of the turtle until he woke and quickly dove below the surface. Boy was he surprised to see us. A fun day on the water with plenty of fish on the fly.
High tides provide the opportunity to fish for tailing drum. My client had never seen a tailing drum nor caught a drum on a fly. We had a good day and saw 6 tailing drum with three hookups. As the tide started to drop, we fished the bank and caught another on a shrimp fly I tied. A good day of drum fishing with the fly rod.
Albie trips are starting to full up starting in mid October. I have not been fishing for a month due to a illness in my family. I was able to take a charter today with three anglers from Richmond. It was a "Chamber of Commerce day" with calm seas and blue skies. We caught some nice bait near the inlet and head out in the ocean. Willis's lumps provided us with Spanish chasing bait and plenty of blue fish. The catching lasted for about two and half hours. We then moved to the nearest wreck and had three big fish hook up and bite our line off. Big Spanish were in the area. Bottom fishing offered some nice three foot Sharks and a few 13" Black Bass and some big Lizzard fish, great fight. We caught several four foot ribbon fish and some hound fish. All and all we had a fun day. Albies have been reported out near Cape Lookout shoals several miles offshore. Fall fishing is here.
A.J. on 14wt
Most of the week was spent on the flats using my Maverick. Looks like more Red Drum are moving into the New Port river area. Sunday night a client and I went looking for Tailing Drum. We found tailing fish almost every place I tried Bruce worked hard to land his first tailing drum on the fly, leaving the boat when the water got very shallow. Shortly before dark he landed a 24" beauty. Wednesday, Jim and I hit the water at first light looking for the morning tailers. The tide wasn't high enough to find many fish but Jim landed a nice Drum on a shrimp fly in about two foot of water. Both fish were released alive but the attached pictures will retain those great fly fishing memories. Monday was a Spanish Mackerel and Blues day. We found some nice fish near Cape Lookout and in a few hours landed over 25 fish. Looking forward to the proposed good weather next week.
Will's first drum on fly
Will's first drum on fly
Last minute trip today at 12PM. Father and two young anglers. We caught alittle bit of everything including a very nice Grouper for only being 3 miles off the beach. The Grouper gave the young angler all he could handle on light tackle. Later in the afternoon he hooked a 4ft black tip shark and enlisted his dad to help him pull it in. I bet we caught 10 different species of fish on a four hour trip. Going out at 7AM and hope the Spanish Mackerel will be chasing the bait outside the inlet. What a great afternoon on the ocean with calm seas and blue skies.
Bruce's tailing drum on fly
Bruce's tailing drum on fly
Just returned from 12 days in Colorado visting my son and his family. First time to see my new granddaughter. We fished the Arkansas River for two days in his drift boat and the river is full with lots of Brown and Rainbow Trout. Prior to leaving for my vacation I had three good days of fishing at the Crystal Coast. Lots of Spanish Mackerel outside the inlet with small kings and false albacore mixed in. We then fished the artifical reefs for flounder and bottom fish. Best flounder fishing of the summer. Attached is a picture of a client with his 10 year old son. The son caught all the Spanish thanks to a great dad. I will return to the beach on Monday and expect the fish will still be biting. Check out my face book page for picture of a nice Arkansas Brown Trout.
Drum on a shrimp fly
Drum on a shrimp fly
young angler with a nice grouper near the beach
Check all the hoses on your boat yearly it could save your life!
I was on the ocean tuesday and noticed my bulge pump running frequently. Looked in the bulge area and found a leaking hose with water coming in the boat. The short version is that I needed to have all my hoses replaced (picture of old hoses) All of these hoses have outlets under the water line and could have sunk my boat if the pump had failed or couldn't keep up with the sea water. It was expensive since the mechanic had a difficult time to get to the couplings (13 hours of labor) These hoses were only 10 years old. Hope this message may save someone' life. Back on the water Friday and found some Cobia and caught some nice black bass. Happy Memorial Day to all of you.
Father and son Spanish, Flounder
My first day back on the ocean at the Crystal Coast was a real adventure. Hit the inlet about 6:30AM and down to a local wreck. The water was 72o and the Atlantic Bonita were chasing bait on the wreck. Yesterday, a black fin tuna was caught on the wreck only 2 miles off the beach. We went closer to the beach and found a nice school of False Albacore (picture). One of my friends found a menhaden bait ball with a number of Cobia working the bait. They had four hookups but none were landed. Back at Capt. Joe's someone was weighing in a 61 and 47 pound Cobia. The Cobia bite is really hot right now. Unfortunately, I sprung a hole in a hose below the water line so I'm out of commission for a few days.
Fished the Roanoke River for the last time Monday PM and Tuesday AM water temp 66o. The fishing was awsome and only a few people fishing. Water was covering the big rock and most of the rocks at the boat ramp. I picked up a fly rod and had a fish on the first cast. fish were hitting both jigs and live bait. I am posting a picture of my new Lowrance Elite 5 depth finder. I wasn't sure if the images I was seening were all fish, so I sent it to Lowrance. They said yes, those are all fish and when drifting the arches are longated. When I took this picture we had a double header on. Within about three hours, the fish moved up river about a mile to two and ended up right under the big rock a dusk. I am sure the fish are spawning in good numbers right now. This was a different season on the Roanoke due to the cold weather and cooler water temps. The fish were there but some days it took a lot of looking to find them. See you on the Roanoke next year. Heading to the Crystal Coast for some charters.
Fishing is picking up on the Roanoke but the weather still cool. Water temp on thursday was 62o. When you can find the fish, there are plenty of them. My charter on Tuesday PM had great fishing. We found a school of 18" to 25" fish down river and caught 25+ fish on jigs in less than three hours (Ken's big fish). This was Ken's first trip to the Roanoke and what a great afternoon of fishing. Wednesday moring was a little slower but the majority of the fish are still about 2-3 miles down river. The exception is that there are lots of Stripers below the rocks chasing shad from time to time. Unfortunately, Thursday and Friday the water will rise 4 to 6 feet due to the CFS increasing from 6200 to 11,000 in one day. Thursday AM the water was coming up but the fish were on the bite until about 10AM. I am gone until Monday which will be my last charter. I expect the fish are going to be in the Weldon area for the next few weeks until they spawn when the water warms up. Still plenty of time to catch fish on the Roanoke.
Stripers on my depth finder
Fishing on the Roanoke has picked up last week. The water is still cool for this time of year 60o. My trip on the last day of keeper season yielded some very nice fish with fish up to 25" and four nice keepers (picture attached). The three anglers caught about 35 fish. Thursday my fly fishing angler caught over 30 fish on the fly by himself. I have a attched one of the nicer fish. We mostly used a yellow, white, black back clouser with some flash. This fly is very similiar to a lake shad. This next week might be the break out week with warmer water and spawning fish. The shocking boat was on the river on thursday and more fish were shocked than the previous week. I think some of the best fishing my be in the next few weeks but only time will tell. Stripers were chasing Shad on top water below the rocks at the boat ramp for several hours on thursday and friday.
Important News! I talked to a wildlife biologist on Friday at the boat ramp in Weldon. Eventhough, the Stripers are arriving late the KEEPER SEASON will end on April 30th. Personally, I think this is a good decision since last year there were several year class of fish that did not arrive in Weldon. I finally saw a few fly fishermen on the river on Friday.
Ken's first big Striper
Stripers havebeen late arriving at Weldon but I think they are finally just a few miles down the river. I went down river about 15 miles today and found the best fishing about half way, 8 miles. We caught our fish today on lake Shad and caught our limit with one fish over 24". Water temp rose today to 63o on the surface. I think we will see the shocking boat finding lots of fish on Monday. Next two weeks should be good fishing if something doesn't change. See you on the river.
four nice keeper Stripers
Striper on yellow and white fly
CHRISTMAS PRESENT IN APRIL Two men from the Lake Gaston Striper club were given a Striper trip on the Roanoke river with me as a Christmas present from their wives. (What a great wife) Eventhough, the fish are about two weeks late and a front was going thru, we had a successful trip catching about 30+ fish on bait and jigs. The fish were scattered down the river to near Halifax. We would drift into a school of fish and catch a double header. My clients took home two nice keepers for dinner. Next week should be excellent fishing at Weldon. The Shad are just about gone in the area.
24.5 inch Roanoke Striper
April Fools Day and Easter Monday!
I took my son and grandsons Shad fishing on Monday. There were more people shad fishing than I had ever seen. We got there a little late but found a good spot with plenty of Shad and they were aggressive. We were spin fishing and the hottest lure was a hot pink jig head 1/8 oz. with a green curly tail with sliver flakes. I usually had two tied on in tandem, one with a white tail on top. We had several doubles and the boys could barely get them in the boat using a light rod with 8lb test line. We only fished about four hours and caught over 50+ Shad. Water still cool and most Shad had not spawned. Hope you were on the water too! I have a couple 5 hour half day trips still open for Stripers.
Marvin with Striper on jig
Just spent three days with a great fly fisheman from Calf visiting family in PA. Wednesday the Shad fishing was great with my client catching 60+ Hickory Shad and a few American Shad on the fly. We also caught my first Striped Bass (rock fish) for 2013. The water was about 45o and didn't climb .much every day. My boat had ice on it every morning. these are very unusually cold temps for this time of year. Most people are thinking the Shad will spawn in another week if the water warms to low 50s. That means atleast one more week of good Shad fishing. Our best success was from using yellow and red clousers with some gold flash. The spin fishermen were catching Shad on pink jig heads and white curly tails and silver spoons. At times, the fish would hit about what ever you put in the water providing you got it down to the fish. Take a kid fishing over Easter. I'll see you on the Roanoke on Monday with my two grandsons and my son. Pass along your fishing knowledge.
Shad fishing with Grandsons
Shad are in the rivers. I went Shad fishing on saturday at Weldon on the Roanoke and Rocky Mt. on the Tar River. Unfortunately, the Roanoke trip was not a good one. They raised the water level by 1000 cubic feet per second so the water was off color and the temp. had dropped 4o to 45o from earlier in the week. I am moving my trips on the Roanoke back a week. The water temp needs to rise about 10o before the fish will spawn so they should be there for several more weeks. If your a spin fisherman, the American Shad are being caught on the Tar River. I saw about 10 fish caught on a small grub with a pink head and a chartreuse curly tail with lots of flash with a little weight to hold the jig down. I will let you know how my trip on the 18th goes.
Stripers in Weldon are still about a month off. I have April 15 to 17th, 30th open during keeper season. I have May 6th to 10th open which is usually very good fishing. First and second week of May is when the ardent fly fishermen like to come to the roanoke. See you on the water.
Happy New Year to all you anglers. I participated a few weeks ago in the Cape Fear River Watch Striper Fest. I fished in the Tournament with Ben Bowditch and Capt. Jim Sabella. We caught 11 Stripers on artificals and won the tournament. The Fly Fishing Show will have their annual show in Winston Salem this year on Feb. 9th and 10th. I will participate in the fly tying area and will give a presentation in the Destination Theator talking about catching Shad and Stripers on the Roanoke in March, April and May. Hope to see you there. Shad season will start in mid March and I will be offering a $50 discount for any Shad trips. I will start to post fishing reports once the Shad season starts. Shad fishing with a light weight spinning rod or 4 to 6wt fly rod is really a blast. 50 to 100 fish days are very common.
1st Roanoke Striper '13
Last week the Crystal Coast produced excellent ocean fishing. We fished mostly on the East side of the Cape Lookout shoals. The King Mackerel fishermen were catching Kings on almost every wreck using live bait. My charters fished with light tackle casting lures for big Spanish (picture)and Albacore . We also found big schools of Amberjack (picture) which we caught with top water plugs and live bait (pin fish). While jiging for AJ's we hooked a 43" Cobia and also caught a 5 lb flounder. There were lots of Atlantic Sharp Nose Sharks on the top and bottom. Saturday, Spanish Mackerel and Albacore were mixed together working bait balls near the Cape Lookout shoals. The water temp still in the high 70's but I expect this cool weather will drop the temp. which should send the spanish mackerel on their way South. I still have some excellent days open for False Albacore and trout in late Oct. and Nov.
FALL fishing is really in full swing. Today was a great day for False Albacore and big Spanish Mackerel. Looks like this year will be a good year for Albies. Two days ago I had my first good day on Speckled Trout back in the marshes. We used all artifical lures and all the fish were over 15" and some were up to 20". My clients caught their limit. The day before that we found a big Blue Fish blitz in the inlet with some very nice blues. We cast lures to the fish and doubled up for an hour and a half. Sea Mullet are biting in the inlet as well as Gray Trout. I still have some prime time days open for False Albacore during the last two weeks of Oct. and first two weeks of Nov.
Hickory Shad on Roanoke
Sept. is finally here and the fishing is picking up. Spanish Mackerel are showing on a more regular basis. fished down by the inlet yesterday when the tide started to come in and caught three 30+ inch drum. today fished near a jetty casting gold cast masters and caught some really nice spanish, blues. On the way in, I stopped at one of my favorite Fall Gray trout spots and guess what, the trout were there. We caught some nice 12 to 20 inch Gray Trout on jigs on the bottom. If you don't get to the bottom, no trout. I wish you all a wonderful Labor Day with plenty of bent rods. Wish more people were working this year.
42 lb. Amberjack top water
I planned for an offshore trip on Thursday, wind was laying down and no storms. I ended up at AR330 and started trolling cigar minnows. Within five minutes, a screeming reel and a fish leaped five feet out of the water. Looked like possibly a big King Mackerel but when it came to the boat it was a four plus foot Barracuda. What a great fight. After another Barracuda, I decided to go further off shore. Arriving at a wreck, the water surface was alive with bait fish. We tried different techniques with two hookups but nothing to the boat. On our last drift, my client hooked up with a big fish. Had to be an Amberjack!..When the fish finally came to the surface, it was a 34" Red Drum in 65 ft. of water. What was that big Drum doing there in August? What a great way to end the day. I am starting to book Albacore trips for Oct. and Nov. Don't wait to long to book your trip to be assured of prime time fishing.
Big Spanish o lure
The weather finally improved on Thursday with calm seas and hungry fish. The flounder are on the near shore reefs. One day I used mud minnows and the second day finger mullet. Almost every flounder we caught was a 18" to 20+" fish. The first fish we caught fought like a big shark but when it came to the surface what a surprise! It was a 30" Red Drum. We also caught about 25 big Lizzard Fish and Black Bass. There are some Spanish Mackerel between the Beaufort Inlet and Cape Lookout. Most fish are being caught down deep. Sound fishing for Drum is still very slow.
30+ inch Drum at inlet
Had a fun day on Thursday with three young aglers 7,9,11 and their father and grandfather. We were unable to fish in the ocean due to strong SW winds. We fished a deep channel behind Shackelford Banks and found some Black Bass, a Flounder, a Cobia, Lizard Fish, Blow fish, Shark ect. We also saw eight of Shackelford's wild horses walk down the beach right in front of us. Next day I took the flats boat and fished the Swansboro area for drum in shallow water. We landed the nice Drum in the picture on a top dog junior and missed severall others. Once again the wind was 15 to 20. Hope to get off shore next week if the wind will coperate.
34" Drum in 65 ft of ocean
July 4th week was a busy charter week. Early in the week, we had a calm day (only one of the week) so I headed to the East side of the Cape Lookout Shoals. On the way, we caught some Spanish Mackerel and Blues. Once I found the structure, we caught lots of Black Bass, severel keeper Flouder, Blues, Shark and a Trigger fish. Thursday, the wind started to blow so I fished the Cape Lookout area inside the bite finding lots of Flounder, Black Bass, ect on mud minnows. A 12 year old angler won the family pool for the most Flouder with 7 flounder. We caught a few keeps with most being a half inch short. The attached picture is me and a young angler with his first Black Bass of the day. Teaching kids to fish is the highlite of my day. Friday was a day in the creeks and marshes in the beautiful Swansboro area looking for Drum. This week every day was different with a cool breeze on the water while the beaches were very hot. Hope you had a great 4th.
Fishing at the coast really depends on how the wind is blowing. Last night we had a storm with winds up to 70 mph and today it was still blowing. We were fishing inside the inlet and had a good day. We caught blue fish, flounder, black bass, lizzard fish and then the fish of the day, a 20lb. Bonnet Head Shark. We also had two nice Cobia swim up to the boat. We were so shocked that we didn't get big rod in time for the hook up. Ocean should be calm tomarrow and I expect we will Spanish Mackerel and Flounder fish. Charters all week so I will have a follow up report at the weekend. .
My late Spring coastal charter season will begin next week with three charters for inshore fishing. I can't wait to see the Cape Lookout Light House (see pricture above), last visit was December of '11 during Albie season. There are a few Cobia being caught and a reliable source tells me that Sea Mullet are being caught in the surf along with some blues. The ocean temp. yesterday was 72o but we have had several over cast rainy days with a NE wind so I imagine the temp will drop a few degrees. Next update will be next week after a few charters.
30" Drum on ocean reef
July top water Drum
ROANOKE RIVER '12 Striper Season Summary
2012 was a challanging Striper season on the Roanoke River. One of the River's biologist put it best, "It was consistently, inconsistent" All my clients got their limits during keeper season since there were lots of 18 to 24 inch fish, but the big days 50 to 100 fish were far and few between. I had an excellent fly fishermen from California (1st picture) for three days and he consistently caught 50 to 60 fish each day. His secret was long casts, great strip and he didn't miss many strikes. During the last week, I chartered two of America's finest from the USMC (2nd picture). These young men had recently returned from Afghanistan. They were a pleasure to be with and one was a Chaplin and the second a very good fly fisherman. All of my 19 trips were different and enjoyablel. The N.C. Wildlife group shocked fish every week. Two weeks ago they shocked and taged about 12, 30 to 40 pound fish in one hole on the river. The prize Striper was a 51 pound female (3rd picture). The opportunity to catch one these citation fish is what keeps me comming back to the Roanoke. Hope to see you on the river next year, maybe on my boat with my favorite fly on the end of your 8 wt. rod. Tight lines, Dean
Triple header, fun day
Finished my first week on the Roanoke with mixed results. I would say that the Stripers are between Weldon and down below Halifax (12 miles down river from Weldon) I found a place down near Halifax were we had great action usining a jig head and 5" paddle tail swim bait for about 2 hours until the fish shut down. We were casting right against the bank. Most of the fish that we caught were 18" to 24". We had our limiit every day if the client wanted to keep some fishl. Keeper season end April 30th. I have lots of fly fishermen starting next week. See you on the river and lets hope we start to see those 50+ fish days again. By the way, I saw a 28 lb Striper caught along the bank on paddle tail swim bait. That is the quality of fish that keep us coming back to the Roanoke, they are in the river up to 45 lbs.
Young angler with Black Bass
The fish have arrived in the Weldon area, several really good days last week according to some fishermen I talked to. I had my first Striper charter Saturday and we caught most of our fish down near Halifax. The attached picture is a 21" keeper that Travis caught, one of our limit of Stripers. The fish ate in the morning and then late in the afternoon. I went back to the boat ramp at 7PM and found the Stripers hitting bait fish on top water in the fast water right below the rocks. Sure wish I had the boat in the water, bet they would have hit a fly or popper. Got rained out today, reminded me of several days in Alaska two years ago. It has been raining now for 15 hours. Rain should stop tonight but get cold. Will be interesting to see how the Stripers will react. Let you know is a few days.
Bonnet Head Shark
Fished two half days with my wife and grandsons. Stripers are definitely in the Weldon area but only a few were being caught. Everyone caught atleast one fish and two were keepers (19" and 21.5") If you can find a pod your chances of catching several is good. Bait is working the best. I have attached a picture of the 21.5" fish. Water level was at a good level for Striper fishing and the boat dock was completely in the water. Wildlife was there shocking fish. Risk takers are going up river from the boat ramp.
I will be heading to the Roanoke for my first Striper trip this year on Monday. I have attached a link to the N.C. Wildlife site where you can find weekly updated fishing reports, addresses of the boat ramps and much more information. I will post the results of my trip probably mid week. Water levels are back down to more normal levels and if you read the Wildlife report you will see that they are anticipating a normal Striper season at Weldon (neither late or early and good numbers of fish).
Have a happy Easter and Passover. http://www.ncwildlife.org/Learning/Species/Fish/StripedBass/StripedBassFishingInformation.aspx
Well, the Roanoke River has changed overnight and we have gone from very low water for months to flood control mode. By the 30th of March the river will have gone from 3,000 cfps to 20,000. That is a significant change in the river flow all due to big rains up on the Virginia border. The water will rise significantly and this should help to bring the Stripers up the river. I got a report today that the stripers are down in the Jamesville area to the mouth of the Roanoke. Usually, it takes two weeks for the fish to get to the Weldon area. Looks like the Stirpers should arrive about April 10th about the same time as last year.
I currently have open days from April 16th to April 24th. (21st is booked) April 28th to 30th also open.
Met my clients at 8AM at the Weldon boat ramp. Four boats were fishing and about seven people on the wall at the boat ramp. We anchored up in a good spot and fished the seam between the main river flow and an eddy. We caught some shad but nothing like last week. One boat near the rocks was doing very well. We tried about eight other spots and nothing was working down river. Returned to the boat ramp rocks and fishing was slow. Client left at 3 PM and met a second client that was scheduled to fish sat. We got in almost 5 hours of fishing. I finally moved in near the rocks and we caught steady fish for about an hour. Fish were smaller and scared possible due to spawning. After talking to several friends, we think the peak run is on the down side. I saw several Stripers/rock fish that were caught near the rocks. Looks the the Striper run will be under way in a week or two. Stayed over night in Weldon but Saturday trips canceled due to heavy rain.
Both Amercian and Hickory Shad are in the Roanoke River at Weldon N.C. in big quantities. I am offering a SPECIAL $100 discount for SPRING SHAD fishing for either spin or fly. I estimate that the Shad should be at Weldon for a few more weeks. My last trip was epic with over 100+ shad. Using light weight equipment, Shad are as much fun to catch as any fish. American Shad are returing to the Roanoke in bigger numbers, thanks to the stocking program. Check out this video that tells about "the life of Amercian Shad" http://vimeo.com/33366071
Calf. fly angler one of 60 Stripers
Today, was as good as it gets for Shad on the Roanoke, 100+ fish day. The fish bit from 9AM until we left at 4PM. We used several different flies including red and yellow maribou, silver chenniel with flash tail, charqtruse with red head ect. We were only fishing in 4 to 6 ft. of water most of the day so many times we could see the fish hit the fly. Many of the fish were big row shad full of eggs. Hope you noticed the big full moon tonight. Makes me wonder if the shad aren't ready to spawn and head back down the river in the next few weeks. The spin fishermen were also having a banner day. If you want to catch some nice Shad, I suggest you get on the river within the next week.
America's finest USMC
The Roanoke Shad run is on: Went to Weldon on the Roanoke River today. Storms and rain yesterday. The water level is extremly low and I bounced off a few rocks that I had not seen before today. Fishing was very poor all morning and then about 1PM the fish started to bite. Most spin fishermen were have good luck with spoons and hot pink head with white curly tail. From 3PM until 4PM when we left, both Hickory and American Shad were being caught by bank fishermen near the boat ramp. Bright charqtruse and silver spoons caught some Hicks on fly rod.
I have lots of openings for Shad if you want to go.
51 lb. Roanoke Striper
Hickory and American Shad are starting to show up in Weldon on the Roanoke River. I plan to do a prospecting trip next week.
Dean just finished two great days at the Raleigh Fly Fishing Show. The attendence was great and I learned to tye several new flies from other exhibators and several folks that stopped by my tying table. One presentation was outside on saturday @ 4pm and 45 mile per hour winds almost blew the tent down while I was presenting, very scary. Half the folks ran for the doors and I didn't blame them. Hope to see you there next year if you didn't make it this year.