Southport, N.C. saltwater fishing report

Southport fishing
Capt. Butch Foster of Yeah Right Charters said the whiting are on fire in the Southport area.

Some redfish, trout, and plenty of whiting are biting

The recent rains have made the fishing tough in the backwaters of the Southport area along North Carolina’s coast. Cold temperatures haven’t helped But some fish are still biting. Finding deep holes is the key, according to Capt. Chris Foster of Yeah Right Charters (910-845-2004).

“The rain has really made it tough in the past week. And with water temperatures still cool and water dirty, it’s making for some tough fishing,” said Foster.

One thing Foster learned from his dad, Capt. Butch Foster is that you can catch fish in dirty water, and you can catch fish in cold water, but you can’t catch fish in cold, dirty water.

“And in my experience, this has always been true in fresh and salt water. With that in mind, the trick in these conditions is to fish deep holes that have a good amount of current with the tide change,” he said.

Southport fishing
Coolers are filling up with whiting in the Southport area.

Once he finds those deeper holes, Foster fishes a Betts Halo Shrimp slowly. This tactic is producing some red drum and speckled trout. But he said the hottest fishing in the Southport area right now is the whiting.

“Sometimes, when Mother Nature deals us some less-than-ideal fish catching situations, we have to change our methods to fish for what wants to bite. And with the rains bringing in the river water, the whiting bite has really been picking up around the areas where the Cape Fear empties into the Atlantic. Pieces of cut shrimp on small two-hook rigs with a 3/4-ounce pyramid sinker will have you filling a cooler up in short order,” he said.

Offshore bite is hot, but weather making it tough to get there

Foster said the offshore bite continues to be hot on days that allow anglers to get out. Rough weather is the norm this time of year, and he said paying close attention to those short windows of opportunity will pay off big time for anglers.

“The weather is making it difficult for anglers to get far enough out to get on the fish. Watching the winds is key this time of year. And as the seasons transition in the coming weeks, we should experience more days of wind and rough seas than not. Attentiveness and being at the ready can be very rewarding though.

“Black sea bass, vermilion and gray snapper, and triggerfish are all feeding heavily on the offshore rocks and ledges in the 80 to 120-foot depths. Late February is a good time of year to fish the hard-bottom areas east and southeast of Frying Pan Tower. And while you’re out there, be sure to have a light line out. This will help you catch some nice king mackerel. They are patrolling those areas, especially around warmer pockets of water,” he said.

Brian Cope
About Brian Cope 1521 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina.

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