The unsettled weather has reds and trout moving around in the White Oak River, creeks and marshes around Swansboro, trying to figure out where they want to be, and fishermen are taking advantage – at least Capt. Dale Collins of Fish or Die Charters.

The redfish can’t decide whether they want to be in the ocean or the marshes and the specks can’t decide whether they want to be in the back of creeks or closer to the Intracoastal Waterway.

“This isn’t necessarily a bad thing,” Collins said. “As long as the fish are moving around, they are active and feeding. All you have to do is to find them and cast something they like.”

Collins (252-422-4326) said the red drum have been in schools of up to 100 and have been moving back and forth from the ocean surf to the inshore marshes around the ends of Bear Island. Wherever you find them, reds will hit white 3- or 4-inch Gulp! Shrimp, and in the ocean, they’ll hit gold Kastmaster spoons, which are heavier and can be cast greater distances.

“The trout aren’t in as large of schools, but you usually find small groups and catch several,” Collins said. “They had been way up in the backs of the creeks for a while, but (they) have been moving towards the mouths of the creeks for a week or so. 

“Speck fishing has been real good, and I hope the cold weather doesn’t affect them too badly,” Collins said. “They’ll probably push back up the creeks again, but it’s supposed to warm again by the weekend, and that is good for the fish and fishermen.”

Collins said on the warm days, trout had been holding in four to five feet of water and were usually a little more aggressive about feeding. On cold days, they move deeper, with six feet as a starting point and many holes having up to 12 feet of water.

Two techniques have been working best for the trout. Collins said live mud minnows fished on a light Carolina rig has been almost unfair. As far as artificials go, it’s been hard to beat one MirrOlure.

“The MirrOlure MR 17 in the 808 color is as simple as it can be for catching trout,” Collins said. “You simply cast it to the oyster rock or hole you are fishing and let the current ease it by. This lure suspends a foot or so under the water and looks very natural. You can twitch it lightly occasionally, but don’t overdo it. Baitfish are cold and not moving quickly.”

Collins said 3-inch Zoom Golden Bream, Savage Shrimp and Vudu Shrimp have been the most productive soft baits, but it is important to fish them on 1/16- and 1/8-ounce jigheads so they will sink slowly.