Fall, at least in this mind, means fish with spots all over them.
You know, speckled trout and crappie.
Got a chance last week to join a few long-time buddies on Knotts Island to fish a small pond off one of the creeks that extend from where Back Bay and Currituck Sound trade waters.
The target was crappie, or as some call them, speckled perch.
Bass, gar, chain pickerel and yellow perch also call the approximate 3 acres of water home, but we wanted crappie.
Bass were the only species cooperating for several hours. But the specks finally turned on and it was an absolute joy.
Light tackle made it even more fun.
With cooler weather flowing in, crappie action will only improve – at least until it gets too cold and sends them deep.
Small jigs, spinners like a Beetle Spin, and minnows under a bobber are your best bets. And you’ll probably find the better-sized fish roaming around shoreline cover.
Here’s a look at what else is going on:
Fall’s other favorite fish – speckled trout – have been turned on for months already. But nothing like sweatshirt weather says trout.
They’re hitting in all the usual haunts, places like Eastern Shore bay-side creeks, the Poquoson Flats, the York and Elizabeth Rivers, and in all three Southside inlets.
Shrimp have arrived and there’s few baits better than one hooked under a popping cork to attract one of these beautiful, yellow-mouthed, fanged critters.
But jigs, plugs and topwater baits all have been producing.
And you can count on another spotted species, albeit one with a lot fewer spots, to join in – puppy drum.
Also on the menu are bigger red drum, sheepshead, tautog and flounder, although the first two will really start to move south when the water gets colder.
Lots of school-sized striped bass are available, especially at night around lighted bridged and piers.
Offshore, anglers have been enjoying a great swordfish bite. Team Black Magic won the month-long Ocean’s East Swordfish Tournament and $21,870 with a 289-pounder.
A few tuna could also show.
Deep-drop bottom fishing continues to produce tilefish and sea bass in good numbers.
NORTHEASTERN NORTH CAROLINA
Surf fishing season is in full swing on the Outer Banks and a multitude of species are making it one of the best times of the year to be casting from the beach.
Spot, croaker, speckled trout, puppy drum, striped bass, big red drum and any number of other species are cooperating.
Look for many of the same species to be biting in the inlets and sounds.
Along the coast, anglers are finding red drum, king mackerel and shark are providing most of the action.
Tuna, along with some dolphin and wahoo, are available offshore. Bluefin tuna could arrive at any time.
Bottom fishing in deep water is producing tilefish and triggerfish.
Largemouth bass are quickly going into feeding mode ahead of a cold winter, making them easier targets. A variety of baits and lures will work, so keep several rigs ready to mix things up.
Striped bass are being taken on the Back Bay side of the Knotts Island Causeway bridge by anglers in boats, wading and fishing from the bridge. Action will be best when the water is moving.
Catfishing is good on most tidal river systems, especially the Northwest, James and Chickahominy.