Gary Hurley

Morehead City August 16, 2012

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Amy Howell, of Nashville, NC, with a 10.5 lb. sheepshead that struck a live fiddler crab near the Morehead port wall. Weighed in at Chasin' Tails Outdoors.

Matt, of Chasin’ Tails Outdoors, reports that anglers are hooking plenty of flounder all over the area, with anglers connecting with the flatfish from the inshore marshes to the nearshore AR’s and other structure in the ocean (some fish to 8 lbs. weighed in lately). Live mud minnows and finger mullet and bucktails tipped with Gulp baits are tempting most of the bites from the flatfish.

Some cobia have also been caught at the AR’s by anglers targeting flounder over the past week.

Spanish mackerel are still feeding from the inlet out to AR-315, with particularly good action around Cape Lookout last week. Trolled Clarkspoons and squid rigs are fooling most of the spaniards, but anglers are also connecting on lighter tackle while casting small metal jigs at fish feeding on the surface.

Sheepshead action is still strong at inshore structure like the port wall and bridge and dock pilings (and anglers are catching good numbers of fish to 8+ lbs.). Sea urchins and fiddler crabs are the best baits for the sheeps.

The red drum bite inshore has been getting better. The marshes around Carrot Island, the Haystacks, and Core Creek have all been producing some reds in recent days, with most falling for topwater plugs and Gulp baits. Live mud minnows under popping corks are also excellent baits for the reds.

Speckled trout action is also good for summertime in the Haystacks and around the Neuse River (and a 5 lb. fish was caught last week). The specks are falling for a variety of lures like topwater plugs, Gulp baits, MirrOlure MR17’s, and live mud minnows.

Gray trout are feeding on the bottom in the inlet, around the port, and at the AR’s. Some other bottom feeders (like sea mullet, croaker, pigfish, and puffers) are mixed in, and anglers are hooking them on shrimp and cut baits.

Sharks are feeding around Cape Lookout and Carrot Island, and it won’t take them long to find large cut baits fished with plenty of chum.

Offshore, bottom fishermen are connecting with grouper and smaller bottom feeders like triggerfish, beeliners, grunts, sea bass, and more. The ledges and live bottoms 30-40 miles offshore are producing the best action with the bottomfish, with good reports also coming from the Atlas Tanker and other structure east of the shoals. Squid, sardines, menhaden, and cigar minnows are all tempting bites from the bottomfish.

Brian Ludlow, of Atlanta, GA, with a 23 lb. gag grouper that bit a live menhaden in 125' of water 42 miles off Beaufort Inlet while he was fishing with Clifton Moss and Team Austin.

There’s been a decent king mackerel bite on the east side around AR-285, the Atlas Tanker, and other spots. Live menhaden or dead cigar minnows are fooling the mackerel.

Dolphin are still feeding offshore, with action from the 14 Buoy to the Big Rock, and some healthy gaffers are mixed in with the bailers.

Sailfish are showing up around the NW Places and at spots on the east side, and small or medium ballyhoo trolled with sea witches are tempting bites from the sails and dolphin.

A few large wahoo are also in the mix offshore.

Paul, of Freeman’s Bait and Tackle, reports that the flounder bite has been picking up, and good reports came from anglers fishing the Fort Macon rock jetty last week. Live mud minnows are fooling most of the flatfish.

Sea mullet, spot, croaker, black drum, and a few pompano are feeding in the surf, and they will take an interest in shrimp, bloodworms, and other baits.
The red drum action inshore is improving, and anglers encountered the reds in Core Sound, behind Shackleford Banks, and around the Haystacks last week (most slot to over-slot). Topwater plugs have been producing plenty of action with the reds, and Gulps or live baits will tempt them to bite when they aren’t feeding on the surface.

A decent number of jack crevalle (most 1-3 lbs.) are mixed in with the reds and also falling for topwater plugs.

Spanish mackerel are still feeding off Beaufort Inlet, but the clean water has been pushed a bit offshore and so, consequently, has the best fishing. Trolled Clarkspoons are fooling most of the spaniards.
A decent king mackerel bite has materialized in the shipping channel and at spots east of Lookout Shoals (with fish to 20 lbs. in the channel and larger out east). Both live baits and dead cigar minnows are tempting bites from the kings.

Thomas, of Dancin’ Outlaw Charters, reports that the bailer dolphin action off Beaufort Inlet is still going strong. Boats are hooking big numbers of the dolphin while trolling ballyhoo and pitching cut baits and squid to schools of fish that show up at the boat or under weedlines.

Some larger wahoo are in the mix (to 50+ lbs.) and should be getting more numerous over the coming weeks. The ‘hoos will take an interest in ballyhoo under skirted lures, and running a bait deep with a planer is often the most effective strategy.

A few sailfish are mixed in with the ‘phins and ‘hoos and will also readily bite a ballyhoo.

Closer to the beaches, there’s been an excellent spanish mackerel bite around the inlet and along the beachfront, and most of the fish are falling for trolled Clarkspoons.

Willis, of Oceanana Pier, reports that anglers are hooking a few sea mullet, black drum, and small puppy drum while bottom fishing with shrimp and other baits.