Cape Fear backwater fishing is what I do best. Have been running south from Carolina Beach now for many years on my Pathfinder Bay boat. This boat is made to cut through and run in the choppy river. The Buzzard Bay area is a shallow water flats area that is extremely difficult to run in and out of unless you pay close attention to the tides. Most of my customers are amazed when we enter the entrance to the bay leaving the river. The scenery completely changes as you enter the bays marsh grass, and a maze of turns and channels. When running out of Buzzard Bay on low tide extreme caution should be used to get your boat up on a plane, be constantly looking for sandbars.
Cape Fear backwater fishing takes experience in order to be successful. There are days when it seems hard to find the redfish. Fishing is a learning experience and adapting my techniques to find fish in this area, finding spots for high and low water days. Boat positioning is really important. The Power-Pole is real effective when anchoring in shallow water it is quite a bit more stealthy and quiet. Just recently Have gone from an 8lb. Danforth anchor to an 8lb. Lewmar claw anchor. This has allowed me to lighten and shorten the main chain rode to only three feet. The claw anchor is working really well in the soft mud and sand grabbing quicker and seems to be holding better in the wind also. The claw anchor does not seem to hold the clinging black mud when pulling it up. The Danforth anchor required several shakes to free the mud this helps keeps the boat cleaner is a big plus.
Looking for bait running along the banks is always a good indicator of where fish may be. When fishing a high tide fish can often be holding a yard into the grass line, cast your bait into the grass. When the tide is low look for water that is still moving this is where you will find the fish. Try to position your boat where you will be at least one cast distance from your target. Sandbars and oyster beds are some of my favorite spots to anchor off from they are where fish feed and hold close to. One place that I fish is out in front of an oyster bed where a slough is created from the flowing of the water with the changing of the tides. This slough can be productive on either high or low tides. One important factor in Cape Fear Backwater fishing is the positioning of the boat, sometimes moving just a few yards up or down current can make the difference in the bite.
Bait is an important factor in catching fish, what works best one day may not work every day. I try to mix the baits up. Shrimp cut big enough to use a 1/0 circle hook, cut bait such as a croaker or bluefish, live bait such as finger mullet, menhaden. Carolina rig is what I use on all my charters. Spread your baits out along the area you are fishing, one you will cover more water. Secondly, when you hook a fish you will have time to move the other line out of the way of the running fish you have on. Watching the movement of the bait coming down the bank of creek or bay is often a give way to an area which are holding fish. Watch for the bait showering up out of the water, a predator fish is on the attack. The path of a school of bait will also alert you of an area where fish may be staging.
A chum bag tied off of the back cleat of the boat is an effective way to draw fish up to the boat. Use a mesh-type bag, filled with cut-up mullet, menhaden, croakers, bluefish, whatever type of fish I have available at the time. Chumming is effective on Red Drum, Speckled Trout, and Flounder. When fishing on the flats where the water is three or four feet deep this will definitely draw the fish into casting distance. Putting the chum bag out in the moving current will cause the fish to pull away from a staging area to seek out the strong smell of fish.
Have also started to use the popping cork with finger mullet around the piers and pilings. This is an effective tactic when your Carolina Rig is hanging on the bottom, switch to a popping cork with live bait! Cape Fear backwater fishing is a great way to just relax and ease the mind from all of your troubles. The sounds of the marsh hens in the grass let you know that you are definitely in a peaceful and secluded part of nature. The inshore fishing offers anglers a chance to catch Flounders, Red Drum, Speckled Trout, along with a variety of other small species of fish. The creeks just off the Cape Fear River are visited by sharks both small and large, Have witnessed an 18’shark come up with a large ray in its jaws and struggle with it just a few feet from the boat. On that particular day, my clients asked I had ever seen that before, No that was the first time ever seen a shark that large in these waters.
Baldhead Island is in close proximity to my fishing grounds, which is really nice for someone wanting to go fishing without a long boat ride.
My YOUTUBE video channel link https://youtube.com/user/CBCapt
Capt.Mike Dennis – Cape Fear Guide – 910-619-0928