Fish Post

Topsail April 11, 2013

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George Earp with a red drum he hooked in a Sneads Ferry canal.

Doug, of East Coast Sports, reports that Topsail’s surf and pier anglers are starting to see decent numbers of sea mullet, and plenty of pufferfish are still around and hungry. A few black drum have also been in the mix, primarily for anglers fishing the south end of the island. Double-hook rigs baited with shrimp are fooling most of the bottom feeders.

A few bluefish have begun to show up in the surf and ICW, and they’ll only get more numerous over the coming weeks as the water temperatures rise.

Red drum are still looking for their meals in the creeks off the ICW and New River, but warming water will soon push them out of the creeks and into more open water in the marshes and bays. Live and cut baits or soft plastics and other artificial offerings are the ways to tempt the reds to bite.

Speckled trout are also feeding in the creeks, with the best action off the New River but some anglers also connecting in ICW tributaries as well. Soft plastic baits and suspending lures like Rapala X-Raps, MirrOlure MR17’s, and Yo-Zuri 3D lures are attracting attention from the specks.

Anglers are starting to land a few flounder on hook-and-line, and giggers have been putting together some impressive hauls, so things are looking good for the flatfish season to come. Gulp baits or live mud minnows, finger mullet, and other small fish are the way to go for the flatties.

The water’s still a bit cool for the hotly-anticipated arrival of Atlantic bonito at nearshore structure like Divers Rock. With the spring finally here, it shouldn’t be long until the water pushes past 60 degrees and the bonito appear.

Candice Wetzel with an over-slot red drum that struck a sight-cast Texas Tackle Factory Red Killer in a bay near Sneads Ferry while she was fishing with Capt. Allen Jernigan of Breadman Ventures.

Searching for working birds or fish chasing bait on the surface and then casting diamond jigs or other small, flashy lures is the most exciting way to connect with the speedy tuna relatives. Anglers can also hook up while trolling diving plugs and Clarkspoons while fishing blind.

Not many boats have been to the Gulf Stream lately, but those who have are connecting with a few wahoo and blackfin tuna. With warmer weather and a reasonably calm long-range forecast, anglers can expect some better blue water reports to come in soon.

Daniel, of Flat Foot Fishing Charters, reports that anglers are seeing some decent black drum action, and the fish have been getting larger lately. The best action has been in deeper water near structure on the higher tide stages, and natural baits like shrimp, clams, and crabs are top choices for the crustacean-lovers.

Red drum are feeding in the local creeks, with some large schools in shallow water. The winter algae still coating the bottom is making them a bit tough to target at present, however. Soft plastics like Gulps and a variety of natural baits are the best bets for anglers looking to connect with the reds.

Speckled trout are feeding in the creeks as well and taking an interest in paddletail and shrimp-imitating soft plastics. They’re also starting to respond to MirrOlure MR17’s, and a few fish have already taken an interest in topwater plugs.

Wally Hayden, of Lake Anna, VA, with a 71 lb. wahoo that fell for a false albacore strip while he was trolling near the Nipple with Scott Zimmerman and Adam Hawley.

Atlantic bonito haven’t shown up at nearshore structure yet, as the water is still a bit cool, but anglers will likely see them by the middle of the month. Divers Rock off New River Inlet is ground zero for the bonito action, where casting diamond jigs and Shore Lures at fish feeding on the surface is an exciting way to hook up.

Allen, of Breadman Ventures, reports that the speckled trout and red drum bite off the New River is going strong. Most fish are still in the creeks, but there’s some action in the open bays as well. The most effective lures lately have been TTF soft plastics like the Hackberry Hustler and MirrOLure MR17’s.

Richard, of Seaview Pier, reports that bottom fishermen are hooking pufferfish and sea mullet (some small and some large, but few in the middle) while bottom fishing from the pier. Shrimp are producing most of the action with both, and they are tempting bites from a few bluefish as well.

Steve, of Surf City Pier, reports that anglers are connecting with plenty of pufferfish and sea mullet from the planks, primarily on shrimp. A few spot have been mixed in as well.

The water temperature is still in the 50’s, and anglers will see better fishing and more species around the pier as soon as it climbs into the 60’s.

Cheryl, of Jolly Roger Pier, reports that anglers are catching good numbers of pufferfish while bottom fishing from the pier in the daytime. Good numbers of sea mullet (and some fat ones) are biting at night, with an occasional mullet in the day. Shrimp will fool both bottom feeders.