Steve Lancaster at The Tackle Box in Southport said speckled trout limits have been the rule, rather than the exception, but red drum, black drum and even a few flounder are showing up.
"We've had a few cold fronts, but the weather hasn't gotten cold and stayed cold," Lancaster said. "The water temp has dropped to around 50, but it hasn't gone into the low 40s and shut everything down. Guys are catching trout, red drum, black drum and even a few misplaced flounder. It's cold enough the fish aren't feeding every day, but they're feeding most sunny days."
Lancaster (910-454-9227) said most trout are being caught well back in creeks, in deeper holes that contain water a degree or two warmer than surrounding areas.
"The hot lures have been Gulp shrimp and 17 MR MirrOlures," Lancaster said. "Several colors of Gulp! shrimp have been catching and the key seems to be fishing so slow you pause occasionally. Sometimes, it seems like they are watching the shrimp and nail it as soon as it moves after pausing. The hot color for the MirrOlures is electric chicken. They may occasionally hit other colors, but electric chicken catches them day in and day out. Fish it slowly too."
Lancaster said red drum are looking for water without a lot of current over a dark bottom. Some bays behind Bald Head and along the Intracoastal Waterway and Elizabeth River fill that bill, with large mud flats that are exposed on low tides and warm in any sun. He said the drum have been attracted to docks, and if you can find docks in low current areas, there should be some drum around, especially on the lower end of the tide.
"The black drum are mixing with the reds and the trout," Lancaster said. "They really prefer a piece of shrimp on a bottom rig, but will often hit a Gulp! shrimp. Once you catch one, you can usually switch to pieces of shrimp fished on the bottom and catch more. Sometimes the trout and red drum will hit the pieces of shrimp, too."