Harkers Island Forecast: August 2013

Well folks, September is already here and that means that great fall fishing on the Crystal Coast is just around the corner.

We are already seeing some really nice red drum and speckled trout being caught. Although they aren’t in large numbers the fish themselves are nice sized. Also, the annual fall migration of flounder from the rivers and sounds out to the ocean is already starting, as some of these big doormats have started leaving the safety of their backwaters and are moving out to feed. Some real nice five- to seven-pound fish have recently been caught around the back side of Shackelford Island.

For most of the inshore fishery this fall, most of your fish, meaning the specks, reds, flounder and black drum will primarily be feeding on shrimp. The best places to find large areas of shrimp to catch for live bait, as well as finding some nice fish around, will be in the Newport River areas such as Harlow Creek, Eastman’s Creek and Calico Creek near the Morehead City area. Farther east you will need to check out the backwaters of Ward’s Creek, Loose Bay and North River. All of these places have several things in common in that they are shallow. They hold lots of shrimp and baitfish and there will usually be some large schools of red drum and some scattered specks feeding up. As the month gets started the best fishing around Harkers Island will be for flounder, and red drum with a few specks thrown in. One of the best inside spots has been the Middle Marshes near Shackelford. Now, that’s easy to say but the Middle Marshes encompass a very large area and you can easily spend a whole weekend fishing around there.

Some of the best baits lately have been the MirrOlure baits in both the topwater and suspending baits. In the soft baits the Salty Bay Baits Redfish Burner spinnerbait has really been producing nicely, as well as their shrimp in the Methiolate and Blue Ghost colors.

For the nearshore waters and out a few miles, the water will be starting to cool and this should really bring in the Spanish and bluefish as they feed up on glass minnows and mullet for the upcoming winter. They are usually easy to spot as they really school up tight in the fall around Beaufort Inlet and all around Cape Lookout and out a few miles. Usually, the best way to catch these great-eating fall fish will be casting, and for that you will be looking for a bait that’s small but still easy to cast. The Salty Bay Glass Minnow used with their Darter Head is my new favorite, as it will catch any schooling fish on the feed (false albacore, Spanish, bluefish.) Another great way is to use the inline spinner by ClarkSpoon, as it turns a regular lightweight spoon into a nice casting bait. For those looking to troll for them, the best and most widely used method is using ClarkSpoons and Drone Spoons rigged on a handline and also on a rod planer. For best results, you want to troll around five and a half to six knots in order to have good results on the Spanish. Then there are those who will want to live bait for them. This is also very exciting, and you can really save on the gas bill, as this is mostly drift fishing around the artificial reefs and other areas that the Spanish are known to haunt. The best method will be to use a wire leader live bait rig, baited with either nice fall finger mullet or small menhaden. Put out on a light line free swimming, then just sit back and wait for the strike.

Now is the time to get all your fall and winter fishing supplies, don’t wait till they are all bought up and gone. By the time the new order comes in to your local shop, it might be too late. Looking for a great fall inshore rod? you really need to check out the Star Rods Segis 4-10#, to me this is by far the best rod for fall trout and drum fishing, due to its sensitivity and also its good backbone…check one out at one of our local shops.

I’m really looking forward to one of the best falls on record. If it can beat last year, it’s really going to be good!

I hope to see lots of new faces on the water this fall, so get your gear ready and get out on the water!

Capt. Noah Lynk.Capt. Noah Lynk with 4.9lb. Speck caught fishing a high Roller top water lure.