Jot Owens

Really? Thanksgiving is over here comes Christmas??? Yes it's December and December can be a good fishing month. Pick your days and the fish will bite! If we get a big cool down, give it a day to moderate a bit to a warmer trend; this will greatly help you to get more bites! I look for warmer days, sunny days and less windy days during December if possible for better bite rates around Southeast NC.

In December I catch some of the biggest Speckled trout all year, but you need to know which lures work better for bigger trout. Hard baits like MirrOlures have put some big trout in the boat for me and for many other anglers over the years. MirrOlure's 52M, 52MR and TT series are great big trout baits. Try these lures in colors: 11 (redhead), 11FGO (Flo.orangehead), 21 (blackback), 26 (redback), 51 (white/white), 704 (pink/yellow), 808 (black/gold/orange), CFPR (chart/pearl), HP (hotpink), Capt. Jot Custom color only available at Tex's tackle and for great night fishing; PD (purple demon).

Good looking scented lures that have been working very well for me are Berkley Gulp's three inch shrimp and there newer four inch Ripple mullet. All the colors have worked well for me, but here is a few that I like for trout (shrimp pattern); Sugar spice glow, rootbeer/gold, pearl white and new penny. Berkley Gulp's Ripple Mullet in colors glow/chartreuse, pearl, rootbeer gold/chart, and Chart pepper are all good trout baits. All of these baits have Gulps great scent, great action and come in some great colors too! Don't forget the good'ole five inch pearl white jerkshad as well.

The grub (soft plastic) has been around forever in the fishing world! These days they come in so many different colors, here are few that work well for me when trout fishing. Saltwater Assassin makes a load of different grubs; I prefer the sea shad four inch pattern in colors chicken on a chain, rainbow trout, copperhead, green moon, sweet pea, pink diamond and silver

phantom/chart. I rig all these grubs with 1/8oz, oz and 3/8oz jig heads in colors gray, red and brown. Don't forget that I rig all of my Speckled trout lures with fluorocarbon leaders; trout have very good eyesight and later in the season like December the water can get very clear! Get yourself a good fluorocarbon like Berkley Pro Spec or Berkley Vanish; both of these work great in twenty pound test.

Don't count out live bait if you enjoy fishing with it. Try live smaller mullets, mud minnows and live shrimp. In shallow waters of two to five feet I like to float these live baits with a cork and a small treble hook. In deeper waters of six to ten plus I rig them on light Carolina rigs with a small number one J-hook (EC L42). Just wait until you feel that trout take off with the bait and lightly set the hook, remember trout have very soft mouths slow hook sets work best! Live bait will be harder to get and keep alive during later December, but on warmer days it will be a little easier to find and fish it.

In December another fish I really like to hunt for on sunny, warmer and light wind days is schooling Redfish. I find these schools on oyster rocks/flats, sand bars in the surf and shallow flats on the ICW. In December the Reds are not hard to catch when you find them, but some times finding them can be a challenge. My go to bait for the winter Redfish are scented grub like the Berkley Gulp Ripple Mullet or fire tail shrimp; Redfish love these things. Rig grubs with thirty or forty pound mono or fluorocarbon and a darker colored jig heads like red or brown should get the redfish to bite for you.

Not too far from Wrightsville Beach in historical down town Wilmington runs the Cape Fear River and in the Cape Fear there are some cold weather biting Striped Bass. These fish are not the easiest to catch, but they fight very well even in cold water. Working drop offs and grass lines on the edge of the river is where you can find the Stripers, using swim bait lures and Berkley Power Bait, Berkley Havoc Grass pig lures and Berkley Gulp Jerkshad should put a few Cape Fear Stripers on you line. Rig these lures on swimbait hooks for weedless fishing, (lots of hangs in the river). Fishing ares with not so many hangs, try a Rapala X-Rap X-10 size in colors Ghost white or green back. Don't forget that the Cape Fear River Striped Bass Fishery is closed; catch and release only!

Tackle run down: PENN Battle II, Clash Spinning reels sizes 2000, 2500& 3000 for the Redfish & Speckled trout 2500, 3000 & Slammer III 3500 for Striped Bass Rods: PENN Battalion 6'6" & 7' med/light and medium action; line Spiderwire Ultra-cast in eight, ten and fifth-teen pound or in eight, ten or twelve pound test for Speckled trout fishing.

Thanks for reading Marry Christmas, Happy New Year and good winter fishing to you!

Capt. Jot Owens

PENN Reels Elite Staff


Fish Species: Redfish, Speckled trout & Striped Bass
Bait Used: Berkley Gulp, Saltwater Assassin, MirrOlure
Tackle Used: PENN Rods and Reels
Method Used:
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Cape Fear River Striped Bass
Cape Fear River Striped Bass

Speckled trout
Speckled trout

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Jot Owens

About The Author: Captain Jot Owens

Company: Jot It Down Fishing Charters LLC

Area Reporting: Southeast NC Wrightsville Beach/Wilmington

Bio: Captain Jot Owens, IV, born and raised in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, has been fishing the waters of the Cape Fear, Masonboro Sound and the North Atlantic Ocean for thirteen years. He began his career at the age of 15 commercial fishing for Grouper and King Mackerel. After the experience in commercial fishing, he began working as a Mate on a charter boat that specialized in offshore fishing for King Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, tuna, Wahoo and billfish. During this time he made offshore rigs and prepared baits for the charters. In 2000, Jot began work as a Mate on The Fortune Hunter. During the six years Jot worked as a Mate, he was working towards his Captain s license. In February 2002, he achieved his goal of obtaining his Captain s license. Since this time, Jot has been the Master and Captain of the Fortune Hunter Too, fishing for trout, Red Drum, Flounder, Cobia, Tarpon and many other species. Today Captain Jot runs his own boat; the (Jot It down). Captain Jot enjoys everyday he is on the water and brings his passion for fishing to his customers by teaching new techniques and providing knowledge about the many different species of fish found on the East Coast. He looks forward to sharing with you the many fishing techniques that he is so passionate about.

Click Here For Past Fishing Reports by Captain Jot Owens