Gary Hurley

Southport July 18, 2013

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Sarah Rushing with a citation spanish mackerel that bit a trolling plug 10 miles off Oak Island.

Steve, of The Tackle Box, reports that anglers are still connecting with excellent numbers of trout on most recent days around Southport (with some solid 20-24” fish in the mix). They’ve been biting topwater plugs, soft plastics like the Logic Lures Tandem rig, and live shrimp.

Red drum have also been on the feed, and anglers are finding them in the creeks, along grass edges in the river and ICW, and around deeper structure.

They’ve been keyed in on live shrimp recently, and float-rigging the shrimp in the shallows or Carolina-rigging them in deeper water is the best bet for the reds right now. Anglers may also be able to hook up while casting Gulp baits or topwater plugs.

Anglers are finding some solid flounder action as well, with the Southport waterfront and Caswell Beach rocks producing some of the best fishing lately. Bucktails tipped with live baits or Gulps have been producing many of the flounder, with live pinfish and mullet on Carolina rigs also producing results.

Black drum are feeding around oyster rocks in the marshes, and anglers casting dead shrimp around the oysters have been catching big numbers lately.

Sheepshead action has been strong as well, with some solid fish coming from the Southport city pier and Oak Island Bridge last week. Fiddler crabs and other crustaceans are the go-to baits for the sheepshead.

Lawson Hockman, of Hedgeville, NC, with an over-slot red drum that bit a live bait near Bald Head Island while he was fishing with Capt. Greer Hughes of Cool Runnings Charters.

Offshore, anglers are finding some king mackerel action at spots in the 50-70’ depths like the Cabbage Patch and Shark Hole. Live menhaden are the best bet for the kings, but anglers can also hook up while pulling cigar minnows on dead bait rigs.

A few spanish mackerel have been feeding off Oak Island between Ocean Crest Pier and the Hot Hole, with the best action around schools of menhaden in the area. Trolling Clarkspoons behind planers and trolling weights is the way to connect with the spaniards.

Not many boats have been bottom fishing lately, but the grouper bite should still be going strong at bottom structure in the 90-120’ depths. Live menhaden and pinfish are some of the best bets for the big groupers.

Angie, of Dutchman Creek Bait and Tackle, reports that there are still some speckled trout feeding around the Oak Island piers and inshore structure in the area. Live shrimp are producing most of the fish, but anglers can also hook up while casting artificials.

Good numbers of black drum are feeding around inshore structure, too, and they will bite live or dead shrimp.

Surf casters are hooking some flounder around the point at Lockwood Folly Inlet. Gulps and live baits are solid choices for the flatfish.

Before last weekend’s storms, the spanish mackerel bite off the beach at Oak Island had turned back on, and it should improve again once the water settles a bit.

Frank Marchetti with a 5.80 lb. flounder that bit a live mullet on the Southport waterfront. Weighed in at the Tackle Box.

Wally, of Oak Island Fishing Charters, reports that there’s been some excellent mixed bag fishing in the creeks and backwaters around Bald Head and Oak Island recently. Live shrimp have been producing much of the action, and drifting them on float rigs around grass banks and oyster bars has been tempting bites from red and black drum, speckled trout, and flounder.

Tommy, of Oak Island Pier, reports that bottom fishermen are connecting with some sea mullet and spot on shrimp and bloodworms.

Speckled trout are taking an interest in live shrimp around the pier in the early morning hours.

Soaking live mud or mullet minnows on the bottom is attracting attention from some flounder.

Plug casters are hooking a few bluefish while working Gotchas.

Vance, of Ocean Crest Pier, reports that anglers are still seeing good numbers of speckled trout around the pier in the early morning hours. Live shrimp and artificials are fooling the specks.

Spot and a few sea mullet are taking an interest in shrimp and bloodworms on bottom rigs.