Capt. Noah Lynk of Noah’s Ark Charters in Harkers Island said the cold weather hasn’t slowed the great fishing around Cape Lookout, where gray trout, red drum and bluefish have been feeding. The hot spots have been the area between the point at the hook and the cape, plus down Shackleford Banks toward Beaufort Inlet.

Lynk said the gray trout and red drum are targeted most of the three, but sometimes the bluefish are just so thick and ravenous, they become the larger part of the catch. He said bluefish mix some with red drum, but they often stage just above schools of gray trout and can become a nuisance.

“The gray trout fishing is really good right now,” Lynk said. “It has been gradually getting better for a few years, but this is the best I can remember in a lot of years. It’s a shame that fishermen are limited to a single (fish), but the good news is, we are seeing a lot of 2- to 3-pound fish and have caught them to almost 5 pounds, so at least they can keep a nice-sized fish.”

Lynk (252-342-6911) has been finding good pods of gray trout in 15 to 17 feet of water along the rock jetty at Cape Lookout and just off the beaches at Cape Lookout and Shackleford Banks. He said the tide had to be moving, but it doesn’t seem to matter if it was rising or falling.

“The larger grays are hitting soft plastics fished slowly right on the bottom,” Lynk said. “If you speed up the retrieve or jig the bait off the bottom, you’ll catch a bluefish. That’s good when you’re after bluefish, but it can be aggravating when you’re after gray trout.”

Lynk said lures with some pink coloring are producing the most fish. Curlytails and paddletails are both good but must be fished slowly. He said the MirrOlure Marsh Minnow in electric chicken is the ticket. It is chartreuse and pink, with some gold flake and the colors divide roughly at the middle of the sides. 

Some speckled trout and black drum have been mixed in with the gray trout, Lynk said. The specks in this deeper water aren’t as large, on the average, as they are in the surf and closer in along the jetty, but there are keepers.

“Many days, the grays stop biting when the tide slows before the change and don’t start again until it is moving pretty well again,” lynk said. “This sometimes takes an hour or more. Rather than wait for them, I run over to the shoals and look for red drum.” 

Lynk said red drum on the shoals usually aren’t picky, hitting the same soft-plastic lures he’s using to catch gray trout. When the action is slow, he said that a gold spoon, like the Flats Intruder from Cajun Thunder, usually catches their attention and gets them going.