Morehead City July 19, 2012
Matt, of Chasin’ Tails Outdoors, reports that anglers are hooking good numbers of flounder while drifting the ICW and behind Shackleford, with live mud minnows producing most of the action (with plenty of small fish but good numbers of keepers, too).
Larger flatfish are looking for meals around structure like the port wall and bridge and dock pilings. Live baits are the way to go for the larger flatfish.
The ocean’s been a bit rough for many people to try out the nearshore flounder bite, but the fish are still feeding around the AR’s and other structure. Dropping 2 oz. bucktails tipped with Gulp baits and live baits will tempt bites from the ocean flounder.
Sheepshead are still feeding around the port wall and pilings, where live fiddler crabs and sea urchins will produce action.
Some speckled trout are feeding in Core Creek and the Haystacks. Live mud minnows, Gulps, and other soft plastics offer anglers the best odds of hooking up with the specks.
Puppy drum are still a bit scarce, but some have been reported in Core Creek, the Haystacks, Carrot Island, and docks along the ICW. Live baits fished on Carolina or float rigs offer anglers the best odds of hooking a red.
Spanish mackerel action has been a bit slow, but it should turn back on in the calmer week ahead. Trolling Clarkspoons around the inlet and AR’s will tempt bites from the spaniards. Larger fish feeding near the AR’s will take a hearty interest in live baits or dead cigar minnows. Plenty of bluefish are mixed in with the spanish and falling for the same baits.
Offshore, anglers can expect to find some solid weedlines with all the southwest winds recently. Dolphin will be feeding along the grass, and ballyhoo under skirted trolling lures will tempt them to bite. Some fish have been reported as close to shore as the sea buoy, but anglers will find more consistent action from the 14 Buoy to the Big Rock.
Some king mackerel have been showing up around the sea buoy, Northwest Places, and other spots. Live baits or cigar minnows trolled on dead bait rigs will tempt bites from the kings.
Bottom fishermen can expect to find action with grouper, sea bass, triggerfish, and other tasty bottom dwellers around ledges, rocks, live bottoms, and structure in the 35-40 mile range. Cigar minnows, sardines, menhaden, and squid will tempt bites from all the bottom dwellers, and anglers can also hook up while working vertical jigs like Blue Water Candy Roscoes.
Paul, of Freeman’s Tackle, reports that (surprisingly for July) anglers are hooking pufferfish and sea mullet in the surf on shrimp and bloodworms.
Speckled trout have also been in the mix in the surf, where anglers can hook them on live baits, soft plastics, or MirrOlures.
Plenty of large sharks are also feeding in the surf zone, where they’ll bite big cut baits.
Bottom fishing inshore has been producing plenty of action with croaker, spot, sea mullet, pigfish, gray trout, and more. Shrimp on bottom or spec rigs will tempt bites from all the panfish.
Spanish mackerel fishing has been good lately for anglers trolling Clarkspoons, but the bite’s been anywhere from 20-60’ wherever the clean water is. Plenty of bluefish are mixed in.
Flounder are feeding on the AR’s and other structure off the beaches, and live baits or 2 oz. bucktails tipped with Gulps will tempt the flatfish to bite.
Blue water trollers are still finding decent dolphin fishing, with a few wahoo and billfish in the mix. Trolling skirted ballyhoo around the Big Rock and other blue water hotspots has produced the most action.
An angler dropping a vertical jig around the Big Rock also landed a 39 lb. gag grouper last week.
Charlie, of Old Core Sound Guide Service, reports that the speckled trout bite remains strong around Cedar Island, Point of Marsh, and other spots in the Pamlico Sound and around the mouth of the Neuse River. Live baits and soft plastics are producing most of the action with the specks.
Large red drum are showing up in the sound and the river, and anglers who can find them chasing bait on the surface can hook up while casting large bucktail jigs or topwater plugs.
Tarpon have also shown up in the same areas, and anglers who spot the schools of fish rolling on the surface can fish dead and cut croaker, spot, or menhaden on the bottom to tempt bites from them.
Thomas, of Dancin’ Outlaw Charters, reports that the dolphin bite has slowed down a bit, but anglers are still hooking decent numbers of dolphin along with scattered wahoo offshore.
Some billfish have been around as well, with sailfish alongside the dolphin and wahoo along the break. Some blue marlin have been found out around the 100 fathom line. Ballyhoo under sea witches and other skirted trolling lures will tempt bites from all the blue water predators.
Junior, of Oceanana Pier, reports that anglers are hooking a few bluefish and spanish mackerel in the early morning hours while working Gotcha plugs from the pier.
Some sharks and croakers are falling for baited bottom rigs under the pier.