Tourism for Elizabeth City, NC
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Elizabeth City from the Locals' Point of View

Striper Season is Heating Up

I remember a few years ago talking to one of the marine biologists about the stripers in our area and he told me that we had two great spawning years in a row so the next few years the stripers should be great. Now that the fingerlings have been able to feed and grow they are starting to become close to keeper size. We have had a slow start to the season because of the warm weather but now that the colder air has moved in the rockfish have begun to feed heavy and they are in some old haunts again.

The sound bridge in Edenton has begun to hold stripers again and it looks like they are here for the season. I like to troll stretch baits like Mann’s and Yo-Zuri in a variety of colors and depths till I find the one that works for that particular day. Color seems to be an important factor at the sound bridge for some reason so you never know what color will pay off till you try them all. I like to troll the baits right next to the pilings and bump them when I can. This will often provoke a strike when the bite is slow but you have to be aware of your line because dragging against the concrete will weaken the line so retie often.

The other place that is warming up is the canal in Coinjock. This has always been one of my favorite places to rockfish but you have to know how and where to find the fish. There are some locals who say that if they fish the wood line from the boat launch to the first house and don’t catch a fish they go home. In the past this was one of the best places but now the fishing has changed and you are missing out if you don’t fish farther down the canal. The key to fishing Coinjock is to fish the drop offs and ledges that line the channel but you have to know now that you will lose some gear hear. There are logs and stumps that line the waterway and they all can cost you if you don’t pay attention to what you are doing. The good news is that the fish this year are right in front of the restaurant and on the bridge so you only have to troll up and down the open water and losses will be at a minimum. I like to drag stretch lures similar to the sound bridge but I use shallow baits on the inside rods and deeper ones on the outside ones. It is not unusual to have five feet of water on one side of the boat and fifteen on the other so you have to cover the entire water column till you find the magic depth. I also use a lot of Rattle Traps here especially on the inside rods because they seem to like the rattle baits.

So now that you know that the rockfish are here lets get out there and catch some. Just remember to send me a picture and a report so we can brag for you.

The offshore report for this week was hampered by blowing winds from the northeast but a couple of boats got out one day and they did well. Believe it or not they had a limit of mahi along with a few tuna and wahoo. This is really late in the year for dolphin and now is the time of year for change on the water so you never know till you go.

On the beaches and piers it is still all about the red drum with fish being caught on almost every beach when you can get out. The winds and tides are huge right now so the beaches are narrow at high tide. The piers have an advantage over the beach guys but I still like the beach fishing because you can pick a spot that looks good and if it doesn’t pay off you can move down and try another spot. The speckled trout bite is improving also but nobody has the trout dialed in like five year old Landon Brothers from South Mills. Landon and his dad Josh have been on the trout for a couple of weeks now and when you get a five year old that loves to fish like Landon does it makes for some great memories so keep the pics and reports coming.

Locally we have been moving away from the largemouth bite and getting into striper mode but the bass are still biting if anyone wants to catch one. Head to the creeks and fish top water plugs and they will hit. The Pasquotank River has had some reports coming in that the red drum and speckled trout have begun to show up especially near the sound. I have reports that they are hitting shrimp on bottom rigs all the way up to Camden and don’t be surprised to see a black drum here and there also. The rockfish are on the sound bridge and in Coinjock but they are also in the sound on Mann’s Harbor Bridge and the big fish are showing up in the Chesapeake already on the tunnels but that is for another week. If you get a chance to get out this week send me some pictures and a report to or hit me up on Facebook at Fishing with Mike.

Mike Sweeney is a local fishing coach and he writes about his fishing adventures in the Daily Advance, Albemarle Times and for the Elizabeth City Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. Click here to book light tackle guide trips for the Albemarle region and Chesapeake Bay for stripers, trout, flounder, spanish mackerel and blues.