Jot Owens

Well folks, as soon as the weather got warm, it got cold again, but wait here comes another (little) warm up? And then cold again; welcome to North Carolina winter weather! There are good things to this up and down weather, if you time it right the fishing can be good on the warmer weather times or just as it starts to cool off again! I can tell you not much has changed since my last report/forecast. I'm going to give a little more detail info on what I'm doing this time of year to keep y'all reading my reports!

The Cape Fear River Striped Bass fishing has been pretty steady for much of this winter and I've seen a hand full of very nice Striped Bass come form the river; a few over fifthteen pounds and one or two over twenty pounds. The most important tip I can give you for these fish is as its gets colder (water temps) you really need to slow down your presentation while fishing. I truly slow down just how fast I work my lures and it really will get you more bites when the water is colder.

Here are the ways I fish for Cape Fear River Striper's. Try Berkley Gulp Jerkshad in five and six inch size; in pearl & new penny colors. Work these baits slowly and always rig them weed-less; there are many hangs in the Cape Fear River. Try a Moaner swim bait hook with the Berkley Jerkshad; this is a great hook at a great price. I use the weighted Stroker hook in 1/4oz 5/0. If you would like to cast hard baits, try casting X-raps in color green back or glass-ghost or MirrOlure 17MR or 27MR's. Look for Stripers on drop-offs, dock pilings and reed-grass lines.

As the waters cool down it gets a little harder to catch Redfish, but they are still here! One very good tip I can tell you about winter Redfish is; when you find a school that won't bite for you, take some time and try to get a bite. Most of the time if you get one Red to bite the others will fire off too! Warmer, sunny and lower wind days can be the key to catching these inshore winter Redfish.

Look for these Reds in creeks with dark colored bottoms and oyster rocks; anywhere the water may be a bit warmer. Scented soft plastics like Berkley Gulp should do the trick to get these Reds to hit. Patterns in Gulp like Shrimp in sizes 2" and 3" are my go too, colors that seem to work the best are pearl, sugar spice glow, molting and new penny. Try lighter jig heads like 1/16 and 1/8 when winter fishing; lighter jig heads help you to work the lure much slower and still look natural as possible. I always use fluorocarbon leader when I'm fishing cold water fish; the water is almost always clear during the winter months!

When the weather warms up a bit during the winter months, you can sometimes find a good Blackdrum bite up in some of the local creeks. I find these Blackdrum in creeks from Topsail down to Bald Head Island. Look for creeks with dark mud bottoms and good oyster rocks running down the edge of a hole in the creek. These are the places on warmer days you will find red and black drum. Try smaller well scented baits like Berkley Gulp 2" shrimp on very light jig heads. You can also try light Carolina rigs with small pieces of shelled shrimp, take the shell off the shrimp; trust me! Cast down the edges of these holes and drop offs in creeks.

Fishing gear I use:

Gear used: Redfish, Blackdrum and Striped Bass: reels PENN Conquer 2000 and Battle 3000 & 4000 spinning reels. Rods PENN Legion or Regiment in med 8 to 15# class. Line: Spiderwire Ultracast ten and fifth teen pound. Fluorocarbon leader material, Berkley Pro Spec Fluorocarbon in tints Gunsmoke for clearer waters and Tannic for river or stained waters in thirty.

Thanks for reading and good luck fishing!

Capt. Jot Owens

PENN Tackle Elite Staff

Ranger Boats Pro Staff


Fish Species: Redfish, Black Drum, Striped Bass
Bait Used: Berkley Gup Saltwater
Tackle Used: PENN Battle Reels, PENN Legion Rods
Method Used:
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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