The latest cold front, which brought a dusting of snow to the Cape Fear coast, has brought several species of fish to the forefront, specifically false albacore, speckled trout and striped bass.

False albacore are in the ocean, specks are in the surf and around the inlets into the Intracoastal Waterway and Cape Fear River, and some early stripers have already moved into the river.

Capt. Stuart Caulder of Gold Leader Fishing said this is a great mixture of fish to go with redfish, black drum and a few flounder.The speckled trout fishing is really hot right now, and Caulder suggests following it as it progresses. 

“Our water temperature was slowly creeping down, but this last front, with the snow and the nights below freezing, has pushed it down to around 60,” Caulder said. “There are places it is a little cooler or warmer, but it has gotten to the range where the fish, especially trout, are biting really well."

Caulder (910-264-2674) said the trout action begins at the Masonboro Inlet jetties and continues through the inlet to the creeks between the inlet and the ICW. The same thing has been happening up the coast at Mason and Rich inlets.  

“We were catching mostly 2- to 3-pound trout, but in the past few days, there has been an influx of lots of smaller trout,” Caulder said. “This happens about this same time every year. The larger trout were here first, and then suddenly, there are a lot of not-quite and barely legal trout. We had been catching 12 to 18 trout a day, and all were keepers, and now the numbers have doubled and we release a lot of them. It’s not bad, it’s just different. Most fishermen enjoy catching and releasing more of them, even if they are smaller.”

Caulder has been fishing a mixture of D.O.A. soft baits and MirrOlures and catching fish on both. He likes D.O.A. paddletails in shallow water and switches to a split-tail jerkbait in water deeper than eight feet because it sinks faster. He said the silver mullet color with a black jig head had been working well. 

“I usually like the MR 17 and MR 27 MirrOdines, but (I) have been having better luck recently with the old favorite 52M and TT models,” Caulder said. “I believe the difference is that the 52M and TT models sink a little deeper and stay deeper as you work them across the currents. Color choice has been pretty easy so far, with light colors working the best. With either the soft baits or the MirrOlures, the way to fish them has been to cast them diagonally upcurrent and let the current sweep them though the area with the fish while slowly twitching them.”