Gary Hurley

Ocean Isle September 13, 2012

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T.J. Farmer with a healthy red drum that bit a chunk of crab off the Sunset Beach boat ramp pier and was landed after an assist from a boater helped him unwrap it from a bridge piling.

Barrett, of Ocean Isle Fishing Center, reports that the red drum bite inshore is still some of the best action going in the area right now. Anglers are hooking big numbers of the reds around the Little River jetties and at docks and other hard structure in the ICW (and many are running 8-15 lbs.). Live finger mullet on Carolina rigs are fooling most of the fish.

The large swells and winds last week dirtied up the water along the shoreline and have slowed down the spanish mackerel and bluefish action somewhat.

There are huge numbers of menhaden schooling from the beaches out to 3+ miles offshore, and some king mackerel were starting to feed along the beachfront last week before the water dirtied up. The menhaden haven’t left and there are also big schools of mullet working down the beaches, and with the north winds, it shouldn’t be long until the usual fall beach bite of kings gets in gear.

Cooler, clearer water out in the 100’ depths is where the kings seem to be staging up for their fall run, and where anglers can find them before the action fires up on the beach. Live menhaden and cigar minnows or dead cigar minnows will get attention from the kings offshore.

Gag and scamp grouper are feeding around bottom structure in the same depth range. Live baits like menhaden and pinfish are tough to beat when anglers are looking for the largest grouper.

Boats making the run to the Gulf Stream are reporting that the wahoo bite remains consistent, and the fish should only get more numerous as summer fades into fall. Decent numbers of sailfish are also feeding in the blue water, and both will pounce on ballyhoo paired with skirted trolling lures.

Mark, of, reports that the red drum action has turned on in the local creeks, and anglers are also finding some black drum in the same areas. Oyster bars are some of the best places to target, and live shrimp or finger mullet on jigheads and float rigs will tempt the drum to bite.

Jordan Simpson, of Elon, NC, with a 34" red drum she hooked on a live finger mullet in the ICW near Holden Beach and released after the photo.

There are also some larger reds and some big black drum (a 62 lb. fish was caught and released last week) feeding around hard structure in the ICW, where shrimp and mullet are also effective.

Speckled trout are looking for meals in the ICW along grass lines, creekmouths, and near docks and other structure. Live shrimp drifted under floats are tough to beat for the specks.

Larger trout are feeding around the Little River jetties, where they’ll respond to float-rigged shrimp drifted just off the rocks.

Anglers are also connecting with red drum (most 8-12 lbs.) around the jetties, both on float rigs and Carolina-rigged finger mullet on the bottom.

More red drum and some flounder are feeding in Tubbs inlet around docks and marsh grass. Live shrimp on jigheads and under popping corks are fooling both.

The flounder bite is still going around the Jim Caudle Reef and other nearshore structure, but it isn’t quite as hot as it was a few weeks ago. Live finger mullet are the way to go at the reefs.

Bob, of Ocean Isle Pier, reports that some spot, sea mullet, pompano, and black drum are taking an interest in bottom rigs baited with shrimp.

Some flounder are falling for live mud minnows and finger mullet under the pier.