Morehead City July 12, 2012
Matt, of Chasin’ Tails Outdoors, reports that anglers are hooking large (some to 5+ lbs.) spanish mackerel at the nearshore AR’s and other structure. Most of these bigger fish are falling for dead cigar minnows or live finger mullet and peanut menhaden.
Big numbers of smaller spanish and bluefish are feeding along the beaches and falling for trolled Clarkspoons and squid rigs.
Sheepshead fishing is still strong around the port wall and bridge and dock pilings in the area (with some citation fish over 8 lbs. weighed in recently). Live fiddler crabs and sea urchins are producing most of the sheepshead.
Flounder fishing inshore has picked up substantially in recent days (with plenty of short fish but keepers in the mix). The larger fish are feeding around structure like the port wall and bridge and dock pilings, but anglers drifting the channels and behind Shackleford Banks are catching better numbers. Live mud minnows are producing most of the fish, but Gulp baits have also been effective.
Rough weather has kept most anglers inshore recently, but the flatfish bite on the nearshore reefs should still be on for anglers dropping 2 oz. bucktails tipped with Gulps.
Speckled trout are feeding in the Neuse River and into Core Creek, and anglers are hooking them on topwater plugs and live baits under popping corks.
Anglers hooked some red drum last week in Core Creek and the Newport River marshes. Topwater plugs, Gulps, and live and cut baits will tempt bites from the reds.
Bottom fishing around the port has been producing a mixed bag of sea mullet, gray trout, pigfish, croaker, and more. Spec rigs tipped with shrimp, squid, and mullet will fool all the bottomfish.
Anglers fishing around the Fort Macon jetty are hooking some sheepshead and few red and black drum on live fiddler crabs.
Offshore, the dolphin bite is moving closer to the beaches, with fish feeding around the 14 Buoy, NW Places, and a few as close in as the sea buoy. Scattered king mackerel are mixed in with the ‘phins.
Some larger bulls are feeding out around the Big Rock and other Gulf Stream hotspots. Small and medium ballyhoo under skirted trolling lures are the way to go for the dolphin.
Bottom fishermen are connecting with big catches of grouper, triggerfish, black sea bass, grunts, beeliners, and amberjacks at ledges and other bottom structure in the 35-40 mile range. Squid, cigar minnows, menhaden, sardines, and vertical jigs will all tempt bites from the bottom feeders.
Michael, of Freeman’s Tackle, reports that the flounder fishing has been excellent lately, with particularly good action in the Middle Marsh. Live mud minnows have been producing most of the flatfish, and a few speckled trout as well.
Some red drum have been reported in the Haystacks lately. Anglers can tempt the reds to bite topwater plugs, Gulp baits, or live and cut baits.
Spanish mackerel fishing is still solid for anglers trolling Clarkspoons and other flashy lures around Beaufort Inlet and along the beachfront.
Boats making the run to blue water have reported a decent wahoo bite for midsummer, with dolphin still in the mix as well. Skirted ballyhoo are fooling both of the blue water predators.
Charlie, of Old Core Sound Guide Service, reports that the speckled trout bite keeps getting better around Cedar Island and the mouth of the Neuse River. There are more fish around than there have been in the past three years, so the action should continue to improve for the rest of the year. Soft plastic baits, topwater plugs, and suspending lures like MirrOlure MR17’s are all effective on the specks, and the bite’s best in the early morning hours.
Some flounder and puppy drum are in the same areas as the specks, and soft plastic baits will fool all three.
The large “old drum” have begun to show up in the sound for their summer/fall breeding, and anglers have already hooked a few incidentally while fishing for other species. Fishing large cut baits on the bottom around oyster beds and depth changes in the sound is the way to hook up with the big reds.
Tarpon have also made their annual appearance in the sound as well, and anglers can hook them with the same tactics they use for the big reds. Spot and croaker make some of the best baits.
Thomas, of Dancin’ Outlaw Charters, reports that wahoo have made a bit of a showing offshore of Morehead City over the past week, and the dolphin bite remains decent. Both fish are feeding along the break and offshore of it, and ballyhoo under sea witch skirts are tempting them to bite.
There’s been too much scattered grass offshore to run a planer rod lately, but the wahoo seem to be happily biting baits on the surface.
Joyce, of Oceanana Pier, reports that some spot, pigfish, pompano, and smaller blues have made up most of the catch lately. Shrimp on bottom rigs are fooling them all.