Area Water Fishing Report & Forecast

2014-04-04 09:15:51
Wilmington, North Carolina - Saltwater Fishing Report
Wrightsville area, Cape Fear River

I hope everyone is enjoying some of this warmer weather lately and now if the wind would just lay down a little bit, we can go fishing even more! It will not be long before its ninety degrees and no wind at all. I'm just ready for some stable weather patterns for awhile! Here is my April Fishing Report/Forecast for the area inshore and near shore waters.

The Redfish and Black drum bite in the ICW, creeks and channels just off the ICW has been fair to good; should get even better with the warm temps! I'm starting to see a few smaller Reds 14" to 21" in some of the creeks on warmer days; a few over slot fish mixed in as well. Most of the reds and black drum are hitting mud minnows and "fresh as you can get shrimp". I use two hook bottom rigs with 2, 1 & 1/0 bait holder hooks, with the fresh shrimp or mud minnows, when fishing for the black drum and reds. If you would like to go the artificial root, I would recommend using scented grubs. The best luck baits have been Berkley Gulp two and three inch shrimp in colors Pearl, Molting and New Penny. Jigs heads for these Gulps in 1/16 to 1/4 oz, colors red and black seem to be the trick. Work'em slow around docks, drop-offs on grass lines and oyster rocks. The best tides have been falling or raising but fishing closer to the lower times of the tides.

Something that I love to do this time of year (late March to early May) is go up to lock & dam #1 and fish for Shad. These fish are so much fun to catch; they run, jump and run some more. Light tackle and fly fishing is the name of the game here! I see so many people fishing for shad that use to heavy of tackle. Lighter tackle equals more bites and more fun! All you need is a light rod and reel; I use a PENN Battle 1000 or Conflict 1000 loaded with six pound Berkley Fireline crystal braid or Nanofil. A two shad dart rig with Fifth teen or twenty pound mono or fluorocarbon leader; darts in colors pink, purple or green. On our last trip we caught well over 100 shad. If you have not ever tried it; you need too it's a blast! Also while your shad fishing you can put out a catfish line and sometimes catch a very nice Blue catfish, some are over thirty pounds.

I've made quite a few trips to the Cape Fear River lately; there are three different kinds of fish to chase in the Cape Fear, Catfish, Striped Bass and even a hand full of nice Redfish most all winter long. Here is a few ways to put a CFR Striper on your line. Try Berkley Gulp Jerkshad in five and six inch size; in pearl & new penny colors and Berkley Havoc Grass Pigs. Work these baits slowly and always rig them weed-less; there are many hangs in the Cape Fear River. Try a Moaner swim bait hook with the Berkley Havoc or Gulp six inch jerkshad; this is a great hook at a great price. I use the weighted Stroker hook in 1/4oz 5/0. Look for Stripers on drop-offs, dock pilings and reed-grass lines. The Cape Fear River Striped Bass fishing is a closed fishery; all Stripers must be released.

False Albacore fishing has been good the days I can get out for them. I'm finding the Albacore from five to twenty miles offshore. There has been a few Bonita mixed in with them form time to time as well. Weather has been the name of this game lately (not much to go on)! It should not be long before we are catching good numbers of Bonita around the area waters. The #0 and #1 pink flash, silver and gold Clark spoon has caught most of our fish lately. Trolling these spoons on #1 or #2 planner; with thirty to forty feet of forty pound Berkley big game mono as leader on the planners is the way to go. On the bird rig for the surface fishing; I rig it with five to six feet of leader to the spoon. Don't forget to put a ball bearing swivel on the bird and planner; this will keep tangles from happing (well most of the time!)

When the Bonita and Albacore are on top feeding; I cast the new Hogy 2.5" 3/8oz Epoxy jigs or Sea striker jig-spoons. The colors that seem to work the best are pink, green and blue. I use a forty pound Fluorocarbon leader; about fifth teen to twenty inches long. I prefer Berkley Pro Spec fluorocarbon leader material for clear water conditions; "this stuff really works"! A light weight seven foot rod and a PENN Battle 3000 or Conflict 2500 loaded with ten to fifth teen pound braid is important for casting to these fast fish. The reason for this is the further you can cast equals more chance's you will hook up. When there are a lot of boats chasing the Bonita, they get wearer of boats. If you can cast farther; you will catch more of these fish! I'm sure it will not be long and the bluefish will be mixing in with these fish in good numbers too!

On some of the windier days when it's been hard to get out on the coast to fish we've been doing a little bit of fresh water fishing. The largemouth Bass have been biting well most days out at Sutton Lake. Most trips we are catching nine to over fifth teen bass a day. The size of the Bass are running one to over five pounds, most fish are two to three pounds range. The Bass are hitting Bass Assassin rubber worms and Berkley Power bait Heavy sink worms in colors black, black & red and watermelon. Rigging the worms Carolina style seems to work the best.

Fishing Gear we use:

Reels PENN Conflict and Battle spinning in sizes 1000, 2000, 250 0& 3000 sizes.

Line: Spiderwire Ultra-cast and Berkley Fireline braid in 6, 8, 10 and 15 pound. Rods: PENN Legion and Regiment 6'6" and 7' Med action Leader material: Berkley Big Game mono & Pro Spec Fluorocarbon.

Thanks for reading this report, if you have any questions just let me know! If you would like to go fishing drop me a line; I'm booking Shad trips now!!!

Good fishing to ya!

Captain Jot Owens

Ranger Boats Pro Staff

PENN Reels Elite Staff


Fish Species: Redfish, Shad, Bonita, Striped Bass, Catfish
Bait Used: Berkley Gulp, Saltwater Assassin
Tackle Used: PENN Rods & Reels, Betts Cast Nets, Ranger Boats
Method Used:
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Triple Stripers
Triple Stripers

Jot Owens

About The Author: Captain Jot Owens

Company: Jot It Down Fishing Charters LLC

Area Reporting: Southeast NC Wrightsville Beach/Wilmington

Bio: Captain Jot Owens, IV, born and raised in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, has been fishing the waters of the Cape Fear, Masonboro Sound and the North Atlantic Ocean for thirteen years. He began his career at the age of 15 commercial fishing for Grouper and King Mackerel. After the experience in commercial fishing, he began working as a Mate on a charter boat that specialized in offshore fishing for King Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, tuna, Wahoo and billfish. During this time he made offshore rigs and prepared baits for the charters. In 2000, Jot began work as a Mate on The Fortune Hunter. During the six years Jot worked as a Mate, he was working towards his Captain�s license. In February 2002, he achieved his goal of obtaining his Captain�s license. Since this time, Jot has been the Master and Captain of the Fortune Hunter Too, fishing for trout, Red Drum, Flounder, Cobia, Tarpon and many other species. Today Captain Jot runs his own boat; the (Jot It down). Captain Jot enjoys everyday he is on the water and brings his passion for fishing to his customers by teaching new techniques and providing knowledge about the many different species of fish found on the East Coast. He looks forward to sharing with you the many fishing techniques that he is so passionate about.

Click Here For Past Fishing Reports by Captain Jot Owens