i've never really heard of a hot striper bite at maple cypress, but i'm sure its happened before. i really don't know how far they run up the neuse because of the dams, but my friend has caught juveniles up near turkey quarter, so they must move up near there to spawn.. I know they are stacked around structure right now in the main river. It's a good time to get on them.
The shad run kicks off at different times each year, depending on weather and water temps. Usually starts late january or around valentine's day and peaks in march..then i think that's pretty much done by late april.
I'm sure your chances of catching a striper with cut bait right now not as good as they were earlier in the season. They are hanging around pilings and structure, ambushing prey swept by the current. Try artificials, or live eels.