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  • Southeast NC April Inshore Fishing Report/Forecast

    April is here; finally some warmer weather, better fishing and the list of fish species starts to really grow the month of April! Now Iíll tell you that there is some very good dayís weather wise in April around Wrightsville Beach, but the wind can really blow sometimes during April. With this said you need to pick your days of fishing and be ready to move your days around sometimes. Fishing during April can be very good around Wrightsville Beach; here are some of the species I target during April.

    I know I talk about the Redfish (Red Drum) a lot, but hey they are one of my favorites to catch! In April we are going to see the Redfish really start to move around and one thing Iíve found is if there moving around they are looking for food. If they are looking for food then they are probably going to bite your hook! There is not a lot of bait around Wrightsville in April so I rely on artificial baits to catch spring Reds. You can not go wrong with Berkley Gulp 3Ē Shrimp in colors molting, new penny/chart tail, sugar spice glow and pearl. Rigging these Gulp baits on light jig heads (1/8oz & 1/4oz) in colors reds and gray should get the Reds to bite for you! Look for the Reds on the edges of oyster rocks, mash grass edge lines and creek mouths. Darker bottoms that warm up faster will hold more Redfish during April.

    I love saltwater fishing but, I like any kind of fish pulling on my line salt or fresh and this time of year you can catch some really nice fresh water fish. I have run a few fresh water trips in the last few weeks with some pretty good success; we even got a few very nice bass on a fly rod early last week that went just over six pounds. Fishing local lakes, ponds and the Northeast Cape Fear River has been producing good catches of large-mouth bass. The best baits lately have been Berkley Powerbait 5Ē Sinkworms in colors green pumpkin/watermelon, black with red flake and watermelon. Iím rigging these worms Texas and wacky style on 4/0 wide gap worm hooks. When we are casting the fly rod we are using; six to eight weight rods with floating line and eight to twelve pound tippets.

    Something that I love to do this time of year (late March to early June) 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 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 Pflueger Echelon or a PENN Battle 1000 combo loaded with six pound Berkley Nanofil line. A two shad dart rig with Fifth teen or twenty pound mono or fluorocarbon leader; darts in colors pink and green; also some days Berkley Powerbait two inch grubs work great too. If you have not ever tried it; you need too! Also while your shad fishing you can put out a catfish line and sometimes catch a very nice Blue catfish using cut shad for bait.

    Another fish that really starts to show around the inlets of Southeast North Carolina is the goodíole Bluefish. The good news of this is you can catch some choppers (big blues) this time of year. In mid April to mid May I look for chopper blues around the inlets and just off the beach. These blues will hit Berkley Gulp 7Ē jerkshad in colors pearl and pearl/chart pepper; hard baits like Sebileís Koolie Minnow ML and spoons like Sebileís Ondu spoon will also get these choppers to bite. Donít forget the steal leaders for these fish or they will get a free lure form you every time! Try light single strand wire in sizes #2, #3 or #4 will keep your lures on the end of your line and not in a bluefishís pocket! You can also use live baits like shad, pinfish or menhaden in King mackerel rigs to catch these bigger blues.

    There is one fish that a lot of anglers over look in April and that is the Black Drum. What I love about these fish is you can catch them in good numbers this time of year and there pretty darn good to eat! On top of all that they are also easy to catch; all you need is a little fresh as you can get shrimp. Use a light two hook bottom rig with number two or number three size eagle claw bait holder hooks. Fish around docks, oyster rocks and inlets for these Black Drum; you might even get a Redfish mixed in as well! Sometimes I catch two Black Drum at the same time on the same rig; thatís what I call good fishing!

    Towards mid April the Bonita should show up just offshore of Wrightsville. Trolling Clark spoons and small deep driver lures can be the key to success some days for the Bonita. When using the Clark spoons, I would recommend the pink flash spoon in sizes #00, #0 and #1; the pink flash series has really helped me put more fish in the boat. A bird rig on top with a Clark spoon about five to six feet behind it or Blue water Candy Spanish daisy chain (blue, silver, pink) have worked very well for me on top too. Look for birds working or marking bait on you fish finder is the way to find the feeding fish. When the fish are not on top, Iíve caught some nice Blues and a few Bonita by casting a spoon out and letting it sink down before reeling is in. Iíve found that some times these fish are deeper and you can get them by getting down to deeper water.

    Tackle run down: PENN Battle Spinning reels 3000& 4000 sizes. Rods: PENN Legion 6í6Ē & 7í medium and med/heavy action. Line Spiderwire Ultra-cast in ten and fifth-teen pound.

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    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; Iím booking now for this coming summer fishing season and donít forget to take a kid fishing!

    Capt. Jot Owens
    PENN Tackle Elite Staff
    Ranger Boats Pro Staff
    Great report, when do you think the spanish macks will start showing up?