One of the highlights of winter fishing in the Albemarle Sound is the striper run, and it began around Christmas. Capt. Joey VanDyke of Fingeance Charters said stripers were spread across the entire sound, but the best concentration and most-consistent fishing was on the western side.
“There are stripers down by the Currituck Bridge, but they aren’t consistent,” VanDyke said. “It’s scrappy fishing there. They are biting good one day, but you might have to work really hard to find a few the next. In the western end of the sound, there are lots of stripers around the Edenton Bridg,e and they are biting just about every day.
Van Dyke (252-475-0402) said schools of stripers have also been roaming the open waters of the sound, and birds are giving away their location when they push bait to the surface. However, he feels like the best opportunity to catch stripers consistently was around the Edenton Bridge.
Van Dyke said stripers are eating a lot of small herring and menhaden that are in the sound, fish three to five inches long, and it’s important to use lures close to that size.
“We have been catching stripers to 30 inches,” VanDyke said. “The best action has been right on the bridge so far. I’m serious when I say right on it, too. A few feet away and you might not get strikes.”
VanDyke said stripers are holding tight to the bottom, too. Normally, he would troll around the bridge with a Mann’s Stretch 15s, but so that action has been sporadic, so switching to Stretch 20s has been the ticket. The few extra feet of depth lets the lure hit the bottom occasionally, but it gets it deep enough to get the stripers’ attention. Black with silver sides has been the hot color.
When he locates a school of stripers on a certain section of the bridge, he positions his boat so fishermen can catch soft plastics to the fish. He said stripers are hitting a 3-inch Z-Man paddletail the best, with pinfish a good color, along with any other pattern that is dark along the back with silver sides and some flake.
VanDyke fishes the paddletails on a 3/8-ounce jig head to get them to the bottom in deeper water. Although there are no currents caused by lunar tides, the wind creates some water movement, and it is absolutely important that baits reach the bottom.