I would like to clarify my comments about stop-net fishery that I made a couple weeks ago. This longtime
Bogue Banks fishery targets mainly the mature striped mullet, and only from time to time, the trout bycatch can
outnumber the mullet without targeting the speckled trout. This season has been typical where the mullet catch
indeed far outweighs the trout, which are well within permitted limits.
Sorry I didn’t make that clearer in my past report, and Happy Thanksgiving to all.
The last couple weeks, I talked heavy metals, with metal baits being particularly popular for fishing from
the surf and for surf-mimicking forage fish for predatory target fish. This week, I would like to switch to soft plastic
baits, particularly those developed by Paul Brown in the 1970s. Brown was an inquisitive angler from Texas who
started to dabble in making baits from plastisol, a vinyl plastic in a plasticizer using various molds. He started with
making worms, and with his mind wandering and with encouragement from friends, he expanded his outlook into
other soft-plastic, molded-vinyl baits.
Brown loved topwater fishing, especially for speckled trout (don’t we all) and being successful with a
classic “walk-the-dog” hard-plastic, topwater bait, the Zara Spook, he used it as a model for his now famous Corky
baits. These indeed were one of the very first suspending baits so popular today. Why are they called Corky? Brown
used an embedded cork from a discarded wine bottle and molded it inside the soft plastic lure to adjust the buoyancy
of his soft-twitch bait. He used wires, reflective tape and cork tubes with vinyl containing plastisol resin, and voila,
upon cooling, he had a great, slow-sinking suspending lure.
Recently, MirrOlure purchased rights to the original Corky, along with the Fat Boy, Devil, Soft Dog and
other Brown creations. I have used them for years, and one of my favorites is the Soft-Dyne, which is a soft version
of the deadly 17-MR suspending hard bait. I am particularly partial to these Soft-Dyne baits because they rock
seductively from side to side while slowly sinking. These are great baits for cool-water and winter fishing, being
worked somewhere between slow, slower and slowest. If fished correctly, most of the time, the trout hit the bait on
the slow decent.
The sink rate of these baits varies, depending on the model of the lure, water temperature and salinity, but
you can use an average sink rate of 2 feet per second as a ballpark estimate. And remember, as the temperature falls,
this family of baits become even more effective. Right now, both surf and sound temperatures are now in the 50s,
and the trout bite is hot-hot-hot.
For some details on Paul Brown and his Corky baits, check out: https://www.ncoif.com/paul-brown-
As I mentioned, the trout bite is hot-hot-hot and in all the usual locations, inside and out.
Some of the locations include the Morehead City Port and surrounding bridges, the Bogue Sound creeks,
where I have done well lately, Rough Point at Shackleford Banks and the Cape Lookout jetty. This also includes the
usual Neuse and New River creeks. Many of these areas, especially around the deeper holes, also have loads of gray
trout, sea mullet and puffers if you are using shrimp on speck rigs of Sam’s Gitters. I mentioned the port area, but
the catch of the week in said port area was a released 46-inch citation black drum caught on, of all things, a
MirrOlure in search of a speckled trout!
The surf fishing for trout is also still excellent, and while guessing morning or evening, high or low tide,
MirrOlures or jigs just require patience and persistence for these fickle fish. Some hot spots in the surf include New
Bern Street access in Atlantic Beach just east of the Oceanana Pier and to the east of Bogue Inlet Pier. On Topsail
Island, the surf at the piers are also the best choices. Good catches have been reported on the north (left) side of
Seaview and Jolly Roger piers. If you bottom fish the surf, there are often catches of black drum, a few red drum,
sea mullet and puffers galore.
Speaking of reds and surf, check out Portsmouth Island, where the fishing is very good. Oh, there are still
plenty of flounder out there too, but don’t be tempted to keep any since the season remains closed until further
Then there are the false albacore. They have gone MIA once again while continuing a really uneven season.
As for pier fishing, Oceanana Pier reports red and black drum, specks and puffers.
Bogue Inlet Pier has had a lot of variety this past week with red and black drum (shorts and slots), big
puffers two-by-two, speckled trout, some pretty BIG and at least one citation size lost while being hand-lined up, but
another one was landed, weighing in at 3.4 pounds. There are sea mullet, especially at night, and I even saw a spot.
Seaview Pier reports a slow week with sea mullet, puffers and specks.
Surf City Pier reports black drum, sea mullet, puffers, a few specks and plenty of … yes … flounder.
Jolly Roger Pier reports slow fishing with trout early, mullet and black drum in the afternoon.
Finally, it’s official, Ocracoke Island will open to all comers Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 5 a.m.
What a Dorian battle they have had on Ocracoke, and I’m sure they are nowhere near normal and won’t be
for some time. At least this is one step forward.
and running and better than ever.
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-