Southport May 21, 2009
Butch, of Yeah Right Charters, reports that the winds have kept most boats at the dock lately, but the fishing’s been excellent when anglers can get out.
Bluefish and spanish mackerel are both chasing bait along the beaches and around nearshore structure, and both will take an interest in trolled Clarkspoons and mackerel trees.
There’s even been a decent king mackerel bite along the beaches and at the nearshore reefs. Live baits are excellent choices for the kings, but anglers can also troll dead cigar minnows or a variety of lures with success.
There are still good numbers of kings offshore as well, and anglers are hooking them while trolling and on light lines while bottom fishing.
Dolphin are beginning to feed inshore of the Stream in the same areas, so they may fall victim to the light line as well.
Bottom fishing has been even better than normal lately at offshore ledges, reefs, and wrecks, and anglers are reporting big catches of grouper and black sea bass, along with plenty of snappers, triggerfish, and other bottom feeders. Squid, cigar minnows, and cut baits will all tempt the bottomfish, and anglers can also hook up while dropping vertical jigs to the structure.
Cobia may show up to investigate the boat while anglers are bottom fishing, and a bucktail jig makes and excellent pitch bait to keep at the ready in case they do.
Blue water trolling has been very solid lately; boats just need calm enough weather to get out to the Stream. Though the yellowfin tuna bite has been off, excellent catches of dolphin, wahoo, and blackfins have been more than making up for it. A few billfish have been released as well. Ballyhoo trolled under skirted lures are top choices for the Gulf Stream fish.
Dave, of Ocean Crest Pier, reports that the fishing hasn’t been hot and heavy, but there have been a variety of quality fish caught over the past few weeks.
Bottom fishermen have been hooking up with some whiting, black drum, and a few big pompano (up to 3.5 lbs. last week). Shrimp are producing the most action.
Anglers are still hooking decent numbers of flounder, but many are on the small side. Live mud minnows are drawing most of the flatfish bites.
Plug casters are hooking up with some spanish mackerel and bluefish (including some big choppers) on Gotchas.
Live baiters caught big numbers of chopper bluefish last week and 7 kings up to 23 lbs.
The water is 69.4 degrees.
Tommy, of Southport Angler Outfitters, reports that the red drum bite inshore has finally turned on a bit. The drum will hit a variety of artificials, but live baits like peanut pogies offer anglers the best shot at hooking fish.
Off the beach, the king and spanish mackerel bite was strong at Yaupon Reef last week. Live pogies were the hot baits, and anglers landed a number of large spanish (up to 5+ lbs.) and good numbers of king mackerel (up to 15 lbs.). One angler also landed a 47 lb. cobia at the reef last week.
Flounder are beginning to show up around Yaupon as well, and the bite should be improving by the week. Live baits fished on the bottom will fool the flatfish.
John, of Dutchman’s Creek Bait and Tackle, reports that anglers caught a decent number of king and spanish mackerel off the Oak Island piers last week.
The mackerel bite was also good around Yaupon Reef.
Plenty of chopper bluefish have been feeding alongside the spanish and kings.
Whiting are biting from the piers and in the surf, and a bottom rig baited with shrimp will attract their attention.
Inshore, anglers are catching some flounder and red drum in the creeks. Some are falling for spinnerbaits, and other anglers are using live baits such as mud minnows.