Archived Story

Clinic helps anglers fish local waters

Published 6:53pm Saturday, January 26, 2013

By Kelly Jochim, Pamlico-Tar River Foundation


Fishing the Inner Banks in January is always an exciting time.

The cool, fresh winter air and beautiful scenery of the lower Tar River system near Washington is the perfect backdrop for the search of winter stripers and the constant bent-pole action on nice fish. For hardcore striper enthusiasts, this fishery is as good as it gets for several reasons. You may enjoy quality angling in the wintertime; fish may be caught with steadiness on conventional light tackle and fly tackle. You will be surrounded by one of the most pristine, natural and wild places in North Carolina.

We are also blessed with a healthy stock of striped bass in the Tar-Pamlico River system; thanks to restoration efforts, strict management in recent decades and consistent stocking of hatchery raised native stock from the Tar-Pam basin. The striped bass fishery is a true modern-day success story in fisheries management. From December through early April, these fish use the lower Tar River between Greenville and Washington and (generally) the upper Pamlico River between Bath and Washington as “staging” areas to fatten up before their spring spawn.

In our Pamlico River, we have a mixed age class of stripers, which is indicative of a healthy stock. On any given outing, you might encounter young fish in the 6-inch-to-12-inch range all the way up to young adults in the 25-inch-to-35-inch range. Those 25 inches to 30 inches seem to be frequently encountered, but fish over 30 inches are rarer, although they are caught occasionally on light tackle. The size of the stripers really just depends on the abundance of each year class that particular season. To avoid the extreme cold water temperatures in the winter and to follow abundant food supplies, mostly schools of younger shad, alewife, blueback river herring, menhaden and rockfish stack up in the deeper holes of the main river channels in the lower Tar River.

To learn more about fishing our brackish water wonderland, please join the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Marine Fisheries, at Washington Square Mall for our third-annual clinic, Beginner’s Guide to Fishing the Pamlico. This is a great chance for the starting-to-fish or someone who is new to the area and used to fresh or saltwater fishing. The clinic is free for Pamlico-Tar River Foundation members, $30 for nonmembers and a special $10 fee for students with student ID.


For more information, call 252-946-7211 or email

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