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Hi all. I’m new to N.C. and am looking for recommendations for locations to shallow water fish or flats fish for redfish and trout. I grew up in Florida so it’s the type of fishing I know and love. I have a small poling skiff that drafts shallow and would like to put it to good use. I’m in central N.C. so the drive will be similar to any area of the coast. If you could provide locations and/or ramps I would be super grateful. Thanks!
 

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Welcome to NC. What are you asking for, general areas or specific locations?
Where are you planning to launch from?
We have productive flats on both sides of the ICW at different times of the year......ICM
 

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Discussion Starter #3
General areas would be great. Specific flats or locations even better. I will take whatever advice I can get tho. Based on where I live the drive to any part of the coast is the same. I love to sight fish so any place that is a possibility would be ideal. Thanks!
 

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Have you considered a Top Spot Charts? They have detailed info like time of year, species to target & general locations. Well worth the investment in shorting your learning curve.
Also you should note one trip to a new area may not be productive.
For sight fishing to work the stars must align. Like tide, wind speed & direction, time of year, water clarity, fishing pressure, boat traffic lot's of variables.
Talk to guys at the ramps you plan on launching from, for up to date info.
Hope this helps.... ICM

Disclaimer; My last 5 trips I've been skunked.....But I still am hopeful, so I go.
 

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Thanks for the advice! I will definitely check those spots out. Adjusting to tidal variation will take some getting used to (very little tide in the FL places I fished). I fished swansboro out of shell rock point at low tide last week and found keeping the hull away from oyster bars super difficult. Definitely a learning curve
 

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I'm in Raleigh. Getting my skiff sorted. Planning on Hampstead, Bald Head and Sunset as my next 3 to 5 trips. Hampstead ramp is just over 2 hours from me.
 

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Bald Head is truly a fishing wonderland, that can turn into a nightmare quickly.....ICM
Absolutely! I grew up fishing the Southport/Oak island area. I’ve been stuck in buzzards bay a couple of time in my life. I recently moved to Wilmington from Southport and I’m currently spending way too much time riding around looking for high tide spots that aren’t all the way in topsail.
 

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Hi all. I’m new to N.C. and am looking for recommendations for locations to shallow water fish or flats fish for redfish and trout. I grew up in Florida so it’s the type of fishing I know and love. I have a small poling skiff that drafts shallow and would like to put it to good use. I’m in central N.C. so the drive will be similar to any area of the coast. If you could provide locations and/or ramps I would be super grateful. Thanks!
Google Eastern Current Fishing podcasts. There’s lots of good info for inshore NC. Not specific spots but what to look for.
 

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Absolutely! I grew up fishing the Southport/Oak island area. I’ve been stuck in buzzards bay a couple of time in my life. I recently moved to Wilmington from Southport and I’m currently spending way too much time riding around looking for high tide spots that aren’t all the way in topsail.
I am pretty close to topsail im stationed on camp lejeune totally different fishing up here havent had much luck tryint to figure all this out on my own is very difficult and only having a gheenoe nmz makes it a little more difficult to explore
 

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I live in Wilmington and it's been soso lately. Catching 2-5 reds a trip and endless flounder but the average size redfish lately have been 15-20 inches with a few upper slot fish in the mix. Bald Head is a really good place to fish considering you can fish the flood as well as the low tide.
 

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So - it's interesting to hear other Wilmingtonions struggling. I'm usually pretty consistent at finding fish, but dang, this has been the toughest year I've experienced here.

To the OP - I've moved around a lot, and learning new water on your own can be extremely painful and the learning curve steep. A few years ago, I made the decision to "invest" in a fishing guide - hiring one at the turn of every season. To say that it accelerated my learning curve would be a massive understatement. I learned basic patterns, and from those patterns I was able to expand my knowledge . . .until the season changed and I needed new basic patterns. It will cost you 2K - unless you split it with a buddy - but the payback is incredible.

Here's what I'd recommend, since you are in central NC and therefore have to drive to any waters:
1) Pick an area that you want to focus on and learn that. Trying to learn too many areas will kill you.
2) Interview guides, let them know that you want an education, not a fishing trip. Be honest with them that you intend to return to the areas they take you to fish and learn on your own. Good guides never mind this, because they fish patterns, not areas. I've had a few guides refuse, but it was the exception.
3) Plan your trips around the seasons - either pick the "deep" part of the season (mid way in) if you want to actually catch fish using the seasonal pattern, or pick the beginning of the season to make the most of your own trips, but probably at the expense of catching much with your guide.

I've hired some great guides over the years - here are some I'd recommend for these kinds of trips:
Richard Andrews (TarPam) - FRICKIN' LOVE THAT GUY. You couldn't get a better education from a better guy. He has an awesome site that will make you drool.
Captain Mitch Blake: Also in the Pamlico area - awesome guide and incredibly knowledgeable.
Captain Jon Huff (Circle H charters): This guy taught me the ropes here in the Wilmington area and has a broad knowledge of the entire fishery. He runs the same boat I have and is just flat out fun to fish with.
Captain Seth Vernon (Double Haul): If you want to learn the marsh, he's your guy, but he's a high end/specialized guide. Not in terms of price, but in terms of experience. If you ask him to fish a dock, he will do it, but it isn't his thing. He'll put you on tailing redfish with a flyrod, or teach you the basics of the marsh. He can do more, but it would be like renting a BMW to go to the grocery store.
Capt Jamie . . . (Seagate Charters) - I haven't hired Jaime, but I've run across him on the water enough to respect the hell out of him. Really courteous guide, knows his stuff, and can teach you a wide range of fisheries.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for all the great tips! I think
I’m going to look into one of those guides. Can’t wait to put some of this info into practice
 

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Thanks for all the great tips! I think
I’m going to look into one of those guides. Can’t wait to put some of this info into practice
Happy to chat as well. Having gone through this a couple of times, I don't mind helping you as much as I can.
 

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I fish inshore near Swansboro, but live in Raleigh. There are lots and lots of places to go. I'm 75% kayak. The recommendation to get a guide is spot on.

Also, there's an all day seminar (Fisherman's Post runs it) in Moorehead City every year that for the price is unbeatable to learn, meet fellow anglers, pick instructor/guide's knowledge. I go about every two years. If you stay till the late afternoon, are pleasant and not too nosy, that's when we're learned more in 10-15 minutes than from an hour long seminar. Things like specific lures at specific times, even spots.
 
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