Captain Jot Owens’ Southeastern North Carolina Fishing Report for March

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Capt. Jot Owens with a NICE Cape Fear River Striper. (Courtesy: Capt. Jot Owens)
Captain Jot Owens with a Cape Fear River striper. (Courtesy: of Jot Owens)

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH — Can you believe it’s already March? This winter has not been too bad overall, fingers crossed we make it through a mild April and have a great start to the summer. The fishing has already been a little better with the milder weather; it really is looking good for this spring. Here are some of the fishing opportunities you’ll have this March.

In March, the redfish finally start to move around a little more than they have all winter. Not that they don’t move around in the winter; they just start to show up in place’s they like more during warmer times of the year.

This is the time of the year you need to get out and find where the redfish are going and showing up. In the cooler months I’ve seen crustacean patterns work better for redfish; due to the fact that these baits are a little easier to catch than say, fish patterned baits.

A good handful of our local shrimp have wintered over because of the mild winter weather, also some of the little baitfish stayed too. All of this will make for a better March fishing scenario for sure.

Look for dark bottom banks and places with less current these are the areas where the water will be warmer and the redfish will be feeding. 

On warmer days, the crustaceans and baitfish will move more; these are the days you need to look for redfish during March. Working scented baits, like Berkley Gulp and Gulp Alive, in patterns two and three inch shrimp, two inch peeler crab and 3” ghost shrimp should get the redfish to bite. These baits don’t have paddle tails, so you can work them very slow, which is still very important because the water still be pretty cool in March.

Find those banks where the sun can warm up shallows just a little more than other places. Look for dark bottom banks and places with less current these are the areas where the water will be warmer and the redfish will be feeding.

Remember to keep your eyes peeled in the shallow water areas for Reds, March can be a very good sight fishing month; just make sure you work the baits a little slower with a fluorocarbon leader for those clearer spring waters.

March can be another mouth when Cape Fear River Striped Bass fishing will pick up. The Striper size is very mixed during early spring. In March the Stripers will start to move in to a little bit shallower waters, look for the Stripers in three to eight feet of water during early spring.

This is when you need to also shallow up your presentation, go lighter with your tackle. Preferred baits are Berkley Gulp jerkshad and Berkley Havoc grass pig lures; use colors pearl, chart pepper neon and new penny (swamp gas). Using swim bait hooks size 6/0 in 1/4 to 1 ounce should put a striper on the end of your line.

You can also cast mid-water crank baits that dive three to eight feet, don’t let the lure drag the bottom to much or you will lose your lure to a stump or log. Look for Cape Fear River stripers around mud-flat edges, bulk-heads, creeks and shallow reed-grass edges on sunny warmer days.

Don’t count out a nice speckled trout during the month of March. But what is a trout going to hit in March? This is when you need to know where to start; what lures to try. One of the best is the good’ole MirrOlure; it’s been around a long time and is still catching fish, but it’s cold, so work them slow.

Captain Jot Custom
Captain Jot Custom color MirrOlure 22MR. (Courtesy: Capt. Jot Owens)

Preferred patterns are the 17MR, 18MR, 52M and 52MR. MirrOlure makes a lot of different colors, but here are some go to colors for Wrightsville Beach area waters: MirrOlure color codes: 11, 21, 26, 51, 704, CFPR, CH, EC, HP AND Capt. Jot Custom color (only found at Tex’s Tackle shop). Any local tackle shop can help you with these color codes. Best depths to use these lures; 17MR use these lures in two to 6 feet of water.  18MR, 52M & 52MR use these lures in 4 to 15-plus feet of water.

There is another kind of fishing to start trying in March, but there is no saltwater involved. If you want to try something different hit the upper Northeast Cape Fear River and Sutton Lake to do a little large-mouth bass fishing, they are a lot of fun to catch on lighter tackle.

Use heavy sink worms from Berkley Powerbait in colors black, red shad and blue-flick, and work these worms very slowly off banks and stump beds.  If you like to fly fish, try slow sinking small minnow patterns along the grass flats in Sutton Lake on cloudy or foggy days.

Tackle run down: PENN Battle II & Clash Spinning reels sizes 2000, 2500 & 3000 for the Redfish, Large mouth Bass and Striped Bass.  PENN Battalion rods in 6’6” & 7’ medium and med/heavy action; line Spiderwire Ultra-cast in 10- and 15-pound test; Berkley Pro Spec Fluorocarbon for my leaders in 20- to 30-pound.

Thanks for reading, get outside and good March fishing to you!

-Content provided by Captain Jot Owens, Jot It Down Charters LLC.

Captain Jot

Captain Jot Owens is a native of Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington, N.C. He has been fishing the waters of this area his entire life. Captain Jot loves nothing more than to see a kid catching their first fish or pros catching their 1000th fish. The waters around Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington North Carolina have some of the best fishing on the east coast. Whether you are fishing the flats of the Cape Fear River or Masonboro Sound; you can find the fish you are looking for. The fishing is good year round and the warmer months are the best but, mild weather fronts during the winter allow the off season to be some great times to go fishing around the lower Cape Fear area too, Come see this great and beautiful fishery of Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington North Carolina; you’ll be glad you did!

For charter information visit www.captainjot.com or (910)233-4139. Follow Captain Jot on Facebook for the latest action.

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