Finding clear and fairly still water has been the ticket for redfish, speckled trout and an occasional black drum the past two weeks, according to Capt. Butch Foster of Yeah Right Charters in Southport.

Foster said that rainwater runoff coming down the Cape Fear River has muddied many of his favorite creeks, but he’s found cleaner water and more fish in the creeks behind the beaches, especially Bald Head Island. Once he finds clear water, he starts looking for places without much current.

“Current – or actually not having much current – is important, especially for trout,” Foster said. “The fish are cold, which makes them inactive, and they won’t swim against much current to stay in place. They also typically won’t use a lot of energy to chase a bait. 

“We look for deeper holes on the inside of turns in the creeks,” Foster said. The water naturally flows around the outside, and there is minimal current on the inside of the bends. Trout and redfish will gather in these deeper spots out of the current to rest while they watch what the current carries by. The lack of current allows the scent to cover them up and we believe it is what seals the deal and convinces cold fish to bite.”

Foster (910-845-2004) said that going slowly is the next brick in the wall for good winter fishing in his area.

“We usually catch a lot of trout and drum on the MirrOlure MirrOdines,” Foster said. “They suspend, and you can work them at different speeds to get the trout interested. After this cold weather, the trout have moved to deeper holes and aren’t active at all. We have switched to curly tail grubs on 1/8- and ¼- ounce jigheads to get down to the trout. Christmas Tree and smoke/silver flake have produced best. 

“You can’t move the grubs fast, either,” Foster said. “We are barely creeping them across the bottom, and occasionally, we pause them for a few seconds.”