Hook, line and sinker

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Well it finally arrived: warmer temperatures and the month of April, and just in the nick of time as anglers were growing extremely antsy wondering what Mother Nature had left in her bag of tricks.

While we’re certainly not out of the woods quite yet, conditions are looking a whole lot better to put some fishing and time on the water back into perspective and give anglers a little opportunity to finally realize that spring fishing is right around the corner.

This week has unquestionably pleased local fishermen as sunny skies and warm temperatures have finally returned and look to stay throughout the weekend. Water temperatures have only minimally responded the past week, gaining around 1 degree, now reading around 52 degrees. However, if the forecast holds, then water temps should rebound in good fashion and help to get the early fishing season back on track, although a bit delayed.

Normally by this time of year, there have been a few reports of bluefish caught in area waters, mainly in the creeks and around the inlets, but so far have been nonexistent. And while not the ideal table fish from some anglers’ perspective, the arrival of bluefish is a certain indication that the fishing is about to rebound and only increase in both quantity and quality of the fish species available for fishermen to try their luck.

The past week has seen a marginal increase of fishing and catching, with the main opponent being red drum. The fishing has been very good lately for those putting in the time and effort in finding the schooling fish in the surf. Small, weighted spoons are the baits of choice for surf anglers, although some are throwing weighted lead heads tipped with larger Gulp baits. Inside waters are also producing some fish on lighter tackle. The fish being found in the creeks and channels are sticking around the docks in decent numbers, and it is just a matter of anglers fishing a variety until they find them.

For those who can’t wait for the saltwater action to heat up, there are some opportunities inland, namely with striped bass and shad. The upper Cape Fear River, just north of downtown Wilmington, has been a good location to find action with striped bass in the 5-8 pound range the past few months, and the fishing appears to have gotten better the past few weeks. Fishing along the bank, near some structure is a good starting point. As far as lures, as in any type of fishing, everyone has their own opinions and the best bet is to stop by your local tackle store and see what they suggest when matched with what fishing outfit you’ll be using.

Further upstream, the shad fishing has been very good around the Dams, and again, a number of baits will do the trick. Small spoons and “shad darts” are the main preferred, but someone is bound to suggest something different. Anglers fishing from the docks are doing well as are those who prefer to trailer their own boats. Whatever the case, there is fishing being done, and it won’t be long before the area waters are boiling over with reports, but until then, enjoy what you’re given.

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