The fishing has been very solid around Topsail Island the past several weeks. The above average temperature has kept the speckled trout and red fish active. The fish are schooled up in large numbers, so once you find them you have likely found all of the fish in the particular zone you are fishing.
The fish are still in a wintertime pattern despite the “warm” conditions. Z-Man soft plastics rigged on Eye Strike jigheads are working great. I prefer to down size my offerings this time of year, 2.5-3″ baits are standard issue. I also like to downsize my jigs too and commonly use 1/8-1/16 oz. heads.
The surf zone has some large schools of redfish. Topsail Island and Lea Island both have fish. Locating and catching these fish can be tricky and the weather has to be just right in order to effectively target these fish. 3/8 oz. jigheads and 3-4″ paddle tails and jerk shads are my favorite bait to toss to these fish.
Don’t forget to carry some fresh shrimp along when fishing inshore this time of year. Red and black drum will bite cut shrimp on Carolina and knocker rigs on most days. Live mud minnows fished on slip floats will also get locked jaw trout and redfish to bite.
Nearshore fishing has been a bottom fishing game. Sea bass, grunts, porgys, togs, and bluefish are accounting for the majority of the bites off Topsail. Squid baits, bucktails, and metal jigs fished on the bottom will get the job done.