Speckled trout and redfish are hitting a variety of topwater lures in the New River between Jacksonville and Sneads Ferry.

Capt. Ricky Kellum said the action has been good in the New River for trout, redfish and flounder, but the excitement of catching specks and reds on topwater is making fishermen smile. Schools of finger mullet are running the river, and the fish that are feeding on them are aggressive.

"We've got a really hot redfish bite going on," Kellum said. "The schools of mullet are running down the river, and the reds are busting on them. You just have to move down the bank until you see a school feeding and then get in front of them. They are moving fast, so you'll only catch a couple before the school moves on, but you can jump around in front of them again and catch a couple more."


Kellum (910-330-2745) said the Super Spook Jr. and Top Dog are his favorite lures. He said when the fish are spooky, the Top Dog will extend your casting range, but that isn't happening much right now, because this is a full-on, wild feed.


"Just cast the topwater to the drum and start working it," Kellum said. "Forget finesse fishing unless you have spooked the school. These fish are feeding on mullets that are running hard. Fish the lure as fast as you can move it, and keep it in the water. The strikes are explosive."


Kellum said the drum miss fairly often, and it is important not to try to set the hook until you feel resistance. At that point the fish actually has it. They rush the lures hard and push a lot of water, and it takes discipline and practice not to set the hook too early. You have to wait until the fish has it and that resistance is the key.


"Speckled trout are also biting well," Kellum said. "They aren't as wild as the reds, but they're biting pretty strong. The trout aren't huge, but there are pretty good numbers of nice 2- to 3-pounders. The trout like the smaller lures and are hitting topwaters too, especially when it is calm early in the morning. Slow down for the trout, but be ready as they are feeding on those schools of mullet too."


Kellum said the Spook Jr. has been his preferred topwater for trout, and when they won't hit topwaters, they will usually go for a Storm shrimp, fished on a retrieve with twitches and pauses.


"Our fishing in the New River is really pretty good for as hot as everything has been this summer," Kellum said. "The cooling weather that is coming this week should fire the fish up even more and it could get better."