Even though the shrimp left the waters around the Little River Inlet jetties many months ago, redfish there have little reservations about attacking a shrimp dangling right in front of their lips. Capt. Mark Stacy of Ocean Isle Fishing Charters is giving his clients a chance to haul in double-digit catches of these red devils lately, in sizes from 24 to 32 inches, and he expects the fishing to even get better in the weeks to come.
“On the warmer days, it is makes them bite better,” said Stacy (910-279-0119). “The hardest part is finding them each day, because they are moving around along the rocks.”
During the winter, the majority of the bait is absent, but any baitfish or small crabs that get swept into the ocean with the current will hold tight to the rocks for protection from any predator fish. As the tides change and the currents switch, the bait shifts between the two sides of the jetties and from shallow to deep water. Luckily, when Stacy finds a fish, it is rarely alone.
“They are in pods, and they will bite pretty good when you find them,” he says. “We are catching them on both the falling and rising tide right up next to the rocks. You may lose some tackle, but that’s where the fish are holding. “
While Stacy is catching them on a variety of baits, he prefers artificial shrimp that are putting the fish in the boat just as fast as natural options. Stacy is either free-casting them to the rocks or he replacing the treble hook on his slip-float rigs with a Vudu shrimp.
“You still have to give them a little action on the float rig or from free casting, but you must get them right on the rocks to get a bite. Cast up to the rocks in the shallower spots and follow the slope towards the channel. The fish will move shallow and deeper throughout the day,” said Stacy, who fishes both sides of the jetties, as well as both the north and the south jetties. While some spots will produce better than others, he will always fish around on both sides of the jetties each day.
“You got to fish around for them to find them each day, but when you do, be prepared to hold on. They will not be ready to come in the boat,” he said.