Southport December 2015 Fishing Report

King Mackerel caught by Tina Raabe Lexington, SC
King Mackerel caught by Tina Raabe Lexington, SC

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s the year draws to an end and the weather gets colder, the seas often get a lot rougher. Now’s the time to fish the inlet water way and backwaters in search of trout, black and red drum.  They will be harder to find but look for the trout in deep holes and around oyster bars. The drum should be found on sunny days in dark bottom shallower water where the sun has heated the water a couple of degrees. Betts Halo Shad is dynamite bait for winter Trout fishing. Just remember to fish it s-l-o-w!!  Also, don’t overlook the Betts Perfect Sinker Shrimp. Fish it free lined where it can fall slowly in winter and the addition of Pro-Cure Shrimp Super Gel can make an otherwise reluctant Trout just have to eat it!! Trust me, these combinations works!!!

You may find some of the bigger red drum on the inshore reefs and maybe some grey trout also.  Jigging spoons like “Sting Silvers” will often entice these fish to bite, but beware the big reds will sometime bite on your lighter rigs and break off quickly. I prefer a green and white jig, coated liberally with Pro Cures Mullet Super Gel Scent. Remember you can only keep Red Drum that are in the slot limit of 18 and 27 inches and 1 gray trout per person 12” long.

Headed offshore? Look for King mackerel in 65 degree or higher water that has plenty of bait fish.  Pulling frozen cigar minnows on South Chatham Tackle’s Pirate plug should entice a mackerel to bite if there are any around. Also, trolling Drone spoons have been the demise of many king Mackerel as well.

Offshore bottom fishing is great as always; just keep an eye on what seasons are closed. Also watch the weather. You may go out on a beautiful day, but the weather can change quickly. I like to start around 80 to 100 feet of water. Using a double drop rig with Pro-Cure Squid Super Gel marinated squid will usually get the bite started and help you fill your cooler with some delicious meals. If you’re going grouper fishing, try to jig up some live bait using a Sabiki rig and keeping them alive in your live well. Check the NCDMF regulations as grouper is usually closed from January 1st until June 1st.

The Gulf Stream can be good or not. Just be sure you check the weather before and during your trip. It’s a long ways out, but bad weather can make it and even longer way back.

I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Remember Jesus is the reason for the season and give Him praise. May God bless ALL of YOU!!

Fish On!!!
Capt. Butch Foster