jrzyripper

Moving from NJ to NC coast - fishing tactics

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My entire family is making the exodus from NJ to the greater Wilmington, NC area possibly this coming summer. I went to UNCW and my parents are there now so I know the areas and all things not fishing related. Talk to me about fishing. I am a big surf bass guy so we are spoiled in NJ with the ability to catch 40# bass and 15# bluefish from the beach on plugs. Full disclaimer - i hate bait fishing. I am a plugger, walking miles of beach to throw lures and find the fish. 

 

My gear consists of the typical 8-11 foot range of high end spinning surf rods, van staal and other spinning reels and a hefty assortment of plugs (swimmers, metal lips, gliders, poppers etc). From my research, most of what I am seeing is bait fishing for drum with casting setups, pier fishing with gotcha jigs and popping cork set ups or king set ups. The main question that I am stressing over is that this gear will go useless down there. Do I have to bite the bullet and sell off my pride and joy bass and blue gear (I am a gear geek) and totally change my approach and settle for chunking and live lining from the surf areas?

 

I will be getting an Old Town Sportsman Salty kayak for the intercoastal waterways as well as an offshore capable boat in the near future once we get down there for that genre of fishing, so that's a separate topic for another day.

 

Has anyone made this move and been able to continue using their striper surf gear or was this a futile attempt at holding off the inevitable of turning into a bait guy?

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Well you are much closer to the Outer Banks so that is a win for you.  You can get into Spanish and Bluefish from the surf with lures.  You are also closer to fishing for drum from the surf - it requires the use of bait but it is still a lot of fun.  Look into getting yourself a 13' heaver and learn how to throw conventional.  Having a good drum rod will serve you well living there.  

 

Check out Buxton, NC - some of the best fishing on the east coast.  You can also fish the sound side for trout and drum.  

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1 hour ago, jrzyripper said:

My entire family is making the exodus from NJ to the greater Wilmington, NC area possibly this coming summer. I went to UNCW and my parents are there now so I know the areas and all things not fishing related. Talk to me about fishing. I am a big surf bass guy so we are spoiled in NJ with the ability to catch 40# bass and 15# bluefish from the beach on plugs. Full disclaimer - i hate bait fishing. I am a plugger, walking miles of beach to throw lures and find the fish. 

 

My gear consists of the typical 8-11 foot range of high end spinning surf rods, van staal and other spinning reels and a hefty assortment of plugs (swimmers, metal lips, gliders, poppers etc). From my research, most of what I am seeing is bait fishing for drum with casting setups, pier fishing with gotcha jigs and popping cork set ups or king set ups. The main question that I am stressing over is that this gear will go useless down there. Do I have to bite the bullet and sell off my pride and joy bass and blue gear (I am a gear geek) and totally change my approach and settle for chunking and live lining from the surf areas?

 

I will be getting an Old Town Sportsman Salty kayak for the intercoastal waterways as well as an offshore capable boat in the near future once we get down there for that genre of fishing, so that's a separate topic for another day.

 

Has anyone made this move and been able to continue using their striper surf gear or was this a futile attempt at holding off the inevitable of turning into a bait guy?

 

Once you get below the mason dixon line you wont see alot of surf pluggers.  Doesn't mean you cant catch em.  Guys get bull reds/tarpon on plugs down in florida in inlets all the time, not sure why it wouldn't work in NC.  The point at the masonboro inlet looks like a prime piece of plugging real estate. I've only fished it in the summer, lots of fluke and spanish macs and more lizardfish than you can count.  I'd learn that inlet cold if I moved down there.

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The ocean beeches seemed to be flat which seemed to cloudy the water … but once you got past the cloudy water it was clear

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17 mins ago, bbfish said:

 

Once you get below the mason dixon line you wont see alot of surf pluggers.  Doesn't mean you cant catch em.  Guys get bull reds/tarpon on plugs down in florida in inlets all the time, not sure why it wouldn't work in NC.  The point at the masonboro inlet looks like a prime piece of plugging real estate. I've only fished it in the summer, lots of fluke and spanish macs and more lizardfish than you can count.  I'd learn that inlet cold if I moved down there.

This was my exact thought. I have friends that fish the inlets in Florida at night and are catching monsters on darters and bottle plugs. At a minimum, Masonboro should provide a bit of flounder jigging opportunities. I can't see why some reds wouldn't eat a small glider or SP minnow type around the rock jetty.

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8 mins ago, jrzyripper said:

This was my exact thought. I have friends that fish the inlets in Florida at night and are catching monsters on darters and bottle plugs. At a minimum, Masonboro should provide a bit of flounder jigging opportunities. I can't see why some reds wouldn't eat a small glider or SP minnow type around the rock jetty.

 

I think you probably just need to figure out the seasonal movements of fish, they have to come in and out of that inlet, its massive with lots of structure.  The channel is well within casting range so you are close to deep water.  Perfect for swinging a digging bottle darter at night.

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Posted (edited)

Seen a few people say drum is a bait affair but there has been a ton of drum caught on big metals and plugs this spring. Specifically at the point. 

Edited by tvl3rd

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1 hour ago, tvl3rd said:

Seen a few people say drum is a bait affair but there has been a ton of drum caught on big metals and plugs this spring. Specifically at the point. 

You are right about that - heading down in a week - going to throw some heavier metal on my 13' conventional set up and see what happens.  

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5 mins ago, hookmeup said:

Watch EliasV on YouTube. He moved to NC from Brooklyn and knows the way of the kayak. 

I’ve been following his journey. He’s the reason I started looking into a kayak for down there 

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Posted (edited)

Been here since '92.  Cost of living is great and it's peaceful, fisheries management is as crooked as a New Jersey construction project.  The kayak advice is sound, personally I skipped that and bought a flats boat when the surf fishing access on Camp Lejuene and for that matter OBX was eliminated or got more restrictive.  You do not have to turn to exclusively bait fishing but the gear you're used to using there probably won't be as usable down here.  There is a drum (redfish) bite down here in the winter - slot fish and over - when they school up and lay off some of the beaches near inlets. That's all gold spoons and soft plastics. My experience has been Emerald Isle to Figure 8.  Sometimes you can reach them from the beach, some guys cast to them from behind the breakers in boats.  In the spring and the fall take your lightest 8'er and walk the beach with smaller plugs than you use there for the drum and trout.  If you get the light tackle to go with the kayak, the trout and the drum on topwater and other artificials will distract you from those bass temporarily but if it's in your blood, like me you'll never satisfy that jones without going back up there in the spring or the fall.  I do it once a year.

Edited by ghmason

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21 mins ago, ghmason said:

Been here since '92.  Cost of living is great and it's peaceful, fisheries management is as crooked as a New Jersey construction project.  The kayak advice is sound, personally I skipped that and bought a flats boat when the surf fishing access on Camp Lejuene and for that matter OBX was eliminated or got more restrictive.  You do not have to turn to exclusively bait fishing but the gear you're used to using there probably won't be as usable down here.  There is a drum (redfish) bite down here in the winter - slot fish and over - when they school up and lay off some of the beaches near inlets. That's all gold spoons and soft plastics. My experience has been Emerald Isle to Figure 8.  Sometimes you can reach them from the beach, some guys cast to them from behind the breakers in boats.  In the spring and the fall take your lightest 8'er and walk the beach with smaller plugs than you use there for the drum and trout.  If you get the light tackle to go with the kayak, the trout and the drum on topwater and other artificials will distract you from those bass temporarily but if it's in your blood, like me you'll never satisfy that jones without going back up there in the spring or the fall.  I do it once a year.

Kayak is definitely on the list as well as a smaller skiff for the creeks and what not. Smallest combo I have now is an 8 foot ODM genesis with a VR50 I use for fluke up here from the beach. That should get me on some fish for a while. Looks like I’ll be buying some inshore rods and some smaller 2500-3500 size reels. Bigger boat will also be in the works for deep water out front and that whole ball game.  
 

I don’t think I’ll ever be over fishing for bass up here.  Thankfully I have family in the mantaloking area that I can crash with to fish the spring and fall. 

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