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A couple of us went down from Raleigh and put our kayaks in at Scott's Hill Marina near Hampstead. We crossed the ICW to a cut-through (heads out to an inlet or at least a big bay), and took the first creek channel going back into the grass. We took a long circular route through there looking for deeper holes that could hold trout at low tide as well as looking for schools of drum. Saw a few spots that barely fit the description of the former (deeper holes), but none of the latter (drum). After a fish-less 4 hour loop, we popped out at the 2nd creek channel off that same cut-through (about 50 yards further out), which was much wider and a bit deeper - around 6' at low tide. Finally saw some signs of life - some scattering bait, a jumping blue, a tug that pulled off, a sharp hit and bite off. After about 30 mins that hole saved the day - we got a 20" trout and several 12-13" throw-back flounder. Not a mighty conquest, but at least a little redemption for all that paddling/exploring and we avoided the skunk. All fish caught on natural or new penny 3" gulp shrimp & 1/4oz jigheads.

Scotts Hill seemed like a pretty good launch spot to me - easy, all-highway trip from Raleigh via 40 and the 17 bypass and a pretty relaxed little marina. Short paddle across the ICW into the marsh. $15 to park & use the launch (charged per car, not per kayak). We timed it perfectly - falling tide towed us out into the cut-through, rising tide pulled us back to the marina. Also got to checkout Eastern Outfitters in Hampstead to get my coastal license addendum and a pack of "fish crack" (gulp).

This was my 2nd coastal day trip with the kayak. Still don't really know what I'm doing down there in the salt. Both times I've followed more experienced folks and spent most of our time out in the "creeks" on the barrier islands. I would say that most of the time was spent in water too shallow to hold fish, at least for this time of year. We saw a couple of power boats fishing creek mouths from the cut-through but we had the backwaters to ourselves.

Curious to know what kind of water others who do more trout & red fishing this time of year look for. Do you focus on these marshy areas on the inside of the barrier islands or do you go for the mainland creeks (or other?)? What do you consider "too shallow" for trout & drum?
 

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I think the "cut through" as you call it is Nixon Channel, it leads you out to a wide flats area at the tip of Figure Eight Island and then to Rich's Inlet. If you take the left after you enter that channel it will loop back around to the ICW on the other side of the marina (northside), that creek is called Uttley creek. It is one of my favorite trout/drum/flounder spots. It's better in the summer and fall but there are some nice holes in there - including one that is about 12 feet deep. If you work some of the small ditches in there you will find flounder and drum.

As spring warms the water and the bait fish return, the first place to look is the flats area like mentioned above and the little creeks/ditches that run through the marsh behind the inlet and cut through to Uttley Creek.

The drum are in the landside creeks now but are starting to move more to the marsh creeks as the bait comes in. The Flounder are coming the other way, in through the inlet but also into the marsh creeks.

Trout generally prefer 2 feet or more of water. Drum will run in on their bellies with their tails sticking out of the water. Getting close to them is another challenge though when they are tailing but with a yak you have silence as an ally. Lot of guys pole their "flats" boats in there.
 

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Jeffonc, you can take TA's advice to the bank. You were in a good area but just a tad early. Now you know where to be next trip. Hopefully the flounder and trout will a little bigger and you can take a few home to dinner. There should at least be more of them.
 

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JeffonNC, sounds like you had a fun trip all in all. Before getting my boat a couple of weeks ago I spent a majority of my time since 2003 in a canoe and a Kayak exploring and fishing small creeks in the salt marshes and the fresh water areas here around New River, topsail. and the Jacksonville/Richlands area. If you ever get the chance and want some great fresh water fishing the NE Cape Fear near Chiniquipin off of 111 has some great fishing. There are a couple of deep holes going up river that have never failed me from filling my stringer full of catfish, brim, and bass.

A fun place to get out and explore is the area near bear island vicinity of Shell Landing or the Red Barn. Making it a weekend trip by camping out on Bear Island was a blast. I would suggest before heading out there to make sure you have a good look at Google Earth or a chart so as to not get lost in the many little creeks. I hadn't ever bought a chart before so all I ever used was a 1:50,000 maps and google earth. The satelite imagery from GE was enough for me to ID locations and routes to explore. The fishing for me was good the four times that I paddled out to bear Island. A couple of things to consider; watch out for the boats, espcially near the ICW and the bigger creeks, some of them don't always watch out for the yaks and canoer's. The second thing to remember is your tidal flows, I learned that lesson once after having to pull the yak that I was in through 100 yards of salt marsh muck to get to deeper water so I could make it home by dinner and not get yelled at by momma.

Good luck and be safe.
 

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Forgot one thing, If you attempt to head out to Bear Island, don't go to Browns Island. Browns Island is within the range fan of an old live fire range on Camp Lejeune. There is a lot of Unexploded Ordinance (UXO) all over that island. There are signs warning people not to go on the island. As of recently I believe that some forces to be have been enforcing those warnings with hefty fines since many boaters were still beaching at the island and roaming all over it like it was disney world.

In the event that a live fire event is going on the ICW will close of the danger zones near the live fire sruface danger zones (SDZ). The base will have several safety factors in place to ensure nobody wanders into the SDZ.

Hope the info helps and gives new ideas for some exploring and fishing. Good luck.
 
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