Even during the summer heat, speckled trout are still keeping anglers on their toes in the sounds around Roanoke Island. The action isn’t as hot and heavy as it was earlier, but there are stripers, puppy drum and even a few flounder to help fill the fish box. On a recent morning trip, Capt. Richard Andrews of Tar-Pam Guide Service and fishermen Vaughan Robinson caught specks, reds and stripers.
“We are still finding good action on topwaters early in the morning,” said Andrews. “Some days they will keep going for a while, and some days the topwater bite slows once the sun gets up. Lately, they have seemed to like smaller lures moved really slow. I have been using Super Spook Jrs. and varying the retrieve until I find something they like that day.”
Andrews (252-945-9715) said he usually begins the morning “walking” the topwater bait at a normal speed. If the fish swipe at it and miss, he slows the retrieve greatly – some times to the point of just slowly reeling in the lure in a straight line. The morning he fished with Robinson, that was the key, but the trout were lethargic and often missed several times before hitting the lure aggressively enough to catch a hook.
“Fishing topwaters always requires patience to wait until you feel the fish before trying to set the hook,” Andrews said. “It can get especially frustrating when they are lethargic like this and are striking weakly and missing. Sometimes after they have missed a couple of times, you are tensed up and ready to set the hook, but you have to wait. If you can’t feel the weight of the trout, it doesn’t have the lure well enough for you to set the hook.”
Andrews said when the topwater bite slows, he switches to live bait, his bait of choice being 3- to 5-inch croakers, although spots and pinfish will also draw trout strikes.
Andrews caught his bait jigging the edge of a channel with Sabiki rigs, catching three or four at a time.
Andrews first fished the Washington Baum Bridge, but explained that pilings under all of the area’s bridges create current eddies, making it easy for trout and other predators to catch baitfish. Being well up the sound from Oregon Inlet and the ocean, tidal currents are missing, so he relies on wind to create currents.
Andrews and Robinson worked a couple of pilings before finding fish; trout were about 20 feet off the pilings, right on the shadow line, readily gulping down the live croakers.
Later, working a bank, Andrews added a couple of red drum. While the topwater lures worked early, the mid-morning switch to croakers made the day on this trip and added more trout, plus the puppy drum.