The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Tight Lines

October 12, 2012

Fall fishing in Neuse River might be best kept secret

TARBORO — The grass always looks greener on the other side, and most anglers are just as guilty as everyone else looking beyond the obvious when searching for fertile fishing grounds.

Sometimes we will drive many miles and spend untold dollars trying to get to where we “think” the fish are located and biting. Many days the fishing opportunities are much closer than we think. If you live in Eastern NC, I invite you to put the Neuse River in that category.

The Neuse River, named after an American Indian tribe known as Neusiok, meanders 275 miles starting in the Piedmont, and emptying in the Pamlico Sound below Oriental.

It rambles through 8 counties, and is the longest river entirely contained start to finish in the land of sweet tea and hush puppies. That’s North Carolina to you foreigners.

Enough history! How’s the fishing in the mighty Neuse River? Pretty darn good! I have had the pleasure of fishing the Neuse River from New Bern to the Pamlico Sound for over 35 years, and have rarely been disappointed. The Neuse River supports good year round action, and is a wonderful, productive fishery.

I lived in Craven County between Havelock and New Bern for 18 years, and enjoyed the bounty of fish and blue crabs offered up by the Neuse River in that locale. Fall is a special fishing time on the Neuse River when hungry Red Drum, Rockfish, and Speckled Trout bend rods fervently and frequently.

Jimmy Dupree, Jr. recently enjoyed some rockfish top water action and success in the Neuse River at New Bern. He said it was quite a thrill watching those striped bass come out of the water and turn a flip when they struck the surface bait. Jimmy D said they caught 9 fish, the biggest about 24 inches. Weather conditions weren’t perfect. The wind was really kick’n, and they would lose sight of their lure in the whitecaps and swells sometimes. I’ll bet when those stripers tightened the line, wind was not a problem or a concern for Jimmy D and his crew. Somehow a “fish on” makes every day a beautiful day, regardless of weather conditions.

A little further down the Neuse River below Oriental has always been a hotspot for BIG Red Drum. I have numerous exciting trips tucked away in my pleasant memory gray matter. I remember one night trip, we had more reel drags singing than we had people to crank them in. It’s a little hard to reel-in when you are holding two rods dancing the boog-a-loo in your hands at the same time. However, we managed.

Got a boat? Point it towards the Neuse River. Are you a boat-less person? Consider the services of a professional guide. A well thought of Neuse River professional guide is Captain Gary Dubiel of Spec Fever Guide Service. You can call Captain Gary at 252-249-1520 or visit his informative web site at I am confident Captain Gary will put you on the fish, and show you a large time.

Care to share? Tight Lines welcomes your fish snaps, tall tales, and outrageous lies at

See you on the water, my friend!

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Tight Lines
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