Last week, I glorified my favorite Kastmaster as the royalty of so-called heavy metals, but of course, metals have been around for very many years because they are successful baits mimicking many sizes and shapes of forage fish.
But there are other traditional and new choices of size and shapes, each matching somebody’s hatch. Check out my photo of some of the favorites right to left, numbers 1 to 9. The first No. 1 is the classic Johnson Spoon. It is a true spoon with a weed guard. I like the one-quarter ounce for backwater fishing and the one-half ounce for the surf. It gives better casting distance. I prefer the gold and even put some reflective tape on it to enhance visibility. I caught my first drum from a kayak while working one of these around a school of peanut pogies. The Johnson spoon works for many species of predators, including flounder.
Bait No. 2 is a diamond jig, small and compact, mimicking small baits like silversides and anchovies. I mainly dig this one out of the tackle box while targeting Spanish mackerel or false albacore. It casts like the wind, and of course in the wind, you can get great distance when needed. I usually keep one-quarter to one-ounce diamond jigs in my tackle box.
The next baits, Nos. 3 and 4, also are great shadows of anchovies and Atlantic silversides. Shown here are the most popular three-eighths and one and one-eighth ounce versions and are proven Spanish killers. These days, they also come in a variety of colors like pink, green and blue. These baits are often fished at warp speed, challenging the mackerel and albie speedsters. Jigging these baits around the Atlantic beach causeway bridge, the Morehead City port wall or Beaufort Inlet will jig up lots of gray trout. They can also be cast into or around a bait ball and allowed to flutter through the bait, looking like a succulent injured glass minnow.
Heavy metal No. 5 is the crippled herring. This top-weighted lure is a bit unstable which results in an irresistible flutter in the water.
Skipping to No. 7 is a three-quarter ounce gold Kastmaster, but check out item No. 6 which is also a three-quarter ounce metal bait. How you ask? Bait No. 6 is made of tungsten which is about 70 percent denser than even lead. This bait casts well, even in our persistent southwest summer wind and has a great reflective surface for visibility. Skipping again, item No. 9 is also a Kastmaster, this time the one and one-half ounce variety. Kastmasters are made in a wide range, from one-half ounce to several ounces to imitate various sizes of fish fodder.
Item No. 8 is the classic Hopkins. These are also available in many sizes and come in the Hopkins Shorty versions as well. These have been around forever and mimic baits from finger mullet to menhaden and will catch almost any predator. They also come in gold. The Hopkins Shorty gold is a great alternative to the gold Kastmasters for red drum in the surf.
In addition to these traditional baits are some of the newer, blingy, glitzy baits, one of which is the Thingama Jig with a great holographic surface, and the irresistibly flashy Big Nic Spanish Candy baits, big and small. These baits have recently gained popularity and have proven their metal with Spanish, blues, gray trout, and yes, red drum too.
Unless you live under a rock, you may have noticed the nor’easter that passed us by over the weekend.
The inside fishing wasn’t hurt noticeably, except for the comfort of anglers, and the trout bite is still en fuego with slot reds as the by-catch.
The fish are in the usual places. I’ve gone over the list many times. A couple other places to add to the list is the surf around Shackleford Banks, including Rough Point and Carrot Island, where fish to 24 inches have been landed, AR 381 which is the new Reef at the mouth of Spooner’s Creek, AR 398 in the New River, and for the first time in several years, the Cape Lookout rock jetty.
In addition, the surf action, although derailed by the nor’easter, was hot from Fort Macon to Emerald Isle with limits of 18- to 20-inch-plus trout. We finally had a good run of fish just to the east of Bogue Inlet Pier late last week.
Soft plastics and MirrOlures were all catching fish, I like the 808 color MirrOlures which is the black/gold/orange color. Why it catches fish no one knows, but it is a great color for, not only lures, but for flies as well. They are great for trout, drum and flounder.
By the way, there are still flounder in the surf too. I released several last week, caught on jigs and MirrOlures too.
If the trout were the headliners in the surf, the bottom fish were the undercard with plenty of sea mullet, black drum and puffers caught even during the wild weekend in the surf. There were also some pompano holding on and plenty of pounder blues. Not only did the surf hold nice bottom fish but also loads of cold surfers braving huge 58-degree swells.
Pier fishing degraded a bit over the weekend, although Bogue Inlet Pier still had good catches of big puffers and big sea mullet caught on shrimp, and you probably needed a boat anchor or window sash to keep your bait on the bottom.
This time of year, the sea mullet are more often found farther out on the pier from the No. 5 shelter out to the king mackerel zone.
Nothing much to report from Topsail piers since the beaches there took a pounding with lots of overwash. There was some beach overwash here in Emerald Isle, but not breaching the dunes, and I didn’t hear about street flooding.
Hopefully this week, the surf will normalize, calm down, clear up and the hot fall fishing continue. I’m ready!
Offshore? Forget about it!
2) “Ask Dr. Bogus” is on the radio every Monday at 7:30 a.m. WTKF 107.1 FM and 1240 AM. The show is also replayed on Sunday morning at 6 a.m. Callers may reach me at 800-818-2255.
3) I’m located at 118 Conch Ct. in Sea Dunes, just off Coast Guard Road, Emerald Isle, NC 28594. The mailing address is P.O. Box 5225, Emerald Isle, NC 28594. Don’t forget a gift certificate for your favorite angler for fishing lessons or my totally Bogus Fishing Report subscription. Please stop by at any time and say “Hi” or call 252-354-4905.