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We have been experiencing some outstanding striper fishing this winter in the Albemarle Sound. The fishing has been good from Scuppernong River to the Roanoke River. This is one of the most consistent fisheries in North Carolina if you like to fish during the colder months. We catch anywhere from 20-200/day, so even on the slow days, the fishing is good.
If I know where the fish are, I go to them and cast 4-6" soft plastics with a 3/8-1/2 oz. jig head, depending on the water depth. The paddle tail style soft plastics have been producing the best. In open water areas or if scouting for new fish, trolling stick baits like Smithwick Rattlin Rogues, Stretch 10's, or Yozuri's has worked well. When I locate the schools, I will then switch over to casting. These fish get lethargic when the water temp gets down into the low 40's and 30's. It becomes more difficult to get them to bite, but they will lightly strike your bait if you slow down your retrieve.
Water Vertebrate Boat Sky Lake
Water Sky Vertebrate Smile Fisherman
Water Smile Sky Sleeve Lake
 

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Capt. Dickie are you fishing the Creswell area or Columbia on the Scuppernog River? What is the depth you had the best luck at ? The water there should be clearer before the Tar right? Any suggestions are appericated, thanks
 

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Capt. Dickie, thanks for the sharing the info and detail report. I fished Tar River area for stripers, using Zoom plastic flukes. How do you work your paddle tail lure?? I have never had any success with my Gulp 4" paddle tail in Tar River..
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I don't really like the gulp paddle tails because they seem to have less action. The z-man, doa, salt water assassin, and new 5" zoom paddle tails (just like your fluke but with a small paddle tail) seem to do better. Really any bait that is very limber will work because that tail is paddling as it's sinking and if you just dead stick you pole drifting along in the current. Somedays I get more bites just drifting and holding the rod (dead sticking) instead of twitching the rod tip. It seems as though you can achieve even a slower retrieve is you drift and dead stick rather than slowly retrieve the bait. That sometimes can be the different in getting the bite and not getting the bite with these lethargic winter fish.
 

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I don't really like the gulp paddle tails because they seem to have less action. The z-man, doa, salt water assassin, and new 5" zoom paddle tails (just like your fluke but with a small paddle tail) seem to do better. Really any bait that is very limber will work because that tail is paddling as it's sinking and if you just dead stick you pole drifting along in the current. Somedays I get more bites just drifting and holding the rod (dead sticking) instead of twitching the rod tip. It seems as though you can achieve even a slower retrieve is you drift and dead stick rather than slowly retrieve the bait. That sometimes can be the different in getting the bite and not getting the bite with these lethargic winter fish.
Good point. I will def keep that in mind. You remind me that I do have some white body pink paddle tail salt water assassin plastics at the bottom of my tackle box. You know, i planned on using my rapala to do some trolling/drifting behind my kayak, but now i am more inclinced to "drift and dead stick" as you suggested. Do you use a jig head with your paddle tail? 1/8 oz?

Thanks again for the direction :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Depends on the depth. When I'm fishing deep, as is the case in some areas in the winter, I use a 1/2 oz. head. Sometimes I don't use a jig head and use a weighted hook, rigged weedless, instead. This is only necessary when you are fishing around heavy structure like boats docks, stumps, etc. I rarely ever use anything heavier than 1/2 oz., except when I might have to fight some current in a river or really windy spot. 1/4-1/2oz jig heads 90% of the time.
 
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