Gary Hurley

Southport August 23, 2012

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David Merimore, of Taylorsville, NC, with a red grouper he hooked off Southport. Weighed in at Wildlife Tackle.

Tommy, of The Tackle Box, reports that anglers are still connecting with plenty of speckled trout in the creeks and around inshore structure in the Southport area. Live shrimp fished under float rigs are fooling most of the specks and plenty of smaller puppy drum (12-16”). Black drum, ladyfish, jack crevalle, and more are also feeding inshore right now, and they will pounce on shrimp or a variety of artificials that anglers are casting for the trout and puppies.

Flounder are still feeding in all their usual haunts around the Southport waterfront and lower Cape Fear River, but the flatfish action has been a bit slower than in past weeks. Casting live menhaden, finger mullet, or Gulp baits to the edges of docks, rocks, and other structure should still produce some flatfish action, however.

Spanish mackerel are still going strong around the mouth of the river, along the beachfront, and at the nearshore reefs. Trolling Clarkspoons, casting metal jigs and plugs, or drifting and slow-trolling with small live baits will put the spanish in the boat.

King mackerel are feeding at spots from the 50-60’ depths on offshore. Live menhaden and dead cigar minnows are both top choices for anglers trying to hook up with the mackerel.

Bottom fishermen are also reporting solid grouper action around offshore bottom structure.

James, of Whatever’s Chewin’ Charters, reports that red drum (most upper to well over-slot) are so numerous that they’ve become a nuisance to anglers trying to catch flounder and other species on some recent days. Live baits are top choices for the reds, but they’ll also bite a variety of artificials.

Dylan Lissor (age 10) with a 20" flounder that bit a live finger mullet off the Southport city pier.

Flounder are still feeding in all the usual areas, but there have been a lot of small fish around lately. Live baits like finger mullet are top choices for the flatties.

Big numbers of jack crevalle are in the area, and they’re feeding around Southport and in just about all of the local creeks on high, falling tides. They’ll strike nearly anything, but small metal jigs are excellent choices.

Ladyfish have shown up in force as well. Targeting lighted docks at night is the best way to connect with the ladies, and looking for the fish busting bait on the surface will let anglers know exactly where they are. Like the jacks, a variety of baits and lures will fool the ladies, and they’re also excellent targets for saltwater fly fishermen.

Sharks are feeding between Oak Island and Bald Head (most blacktips with an occasional bull). Large cut baits are tough for the sharks to pass up.

Angie, of Dutchman’s Creek Bait and Tackle, reports that anglers are still catching flounder from the Southport waterfront out to the nearshore reefs. Live baits like mud minnows and finger mullet are fooling most of the flatfish.

Jean Sherba of, Fredricksberg, VA, with her first fish, a 4.5 lb. tripletail she hooked from Oak Island Pier on a piece of shrimp.

Red drum are feeding in the area’s grassy marshes and around Bald Head Island, and anglers are hooking good numbers on live baits and Gulps and other artificials.

Speckled and gray trout are also making an appearance around the lower river. Deeper areas are generally better for the trout, and live baits or soft plastics will get their attention.

Spanish mackerel action has slowed a bit on the piers, but boaters are still catching big numbers while trolling Clarkspoons and other lures just off the beaches.

Cathy, of Oak Island Pier, reports that anglers are still connecting with some flounder on small live baits fished under the pier.

Some spadefish and black drum are taking an interest in bottom rigs baited with shrimp.

Large schools of small jack crevalle have also been feeding around the pier, and they’re biting Gotcha plugs and just about anything else anglers are casting.

Live-baiters at the end of the pier are hooking sharks, and they lost a large cobia after a long fight last week.