Topsail May 23, 2013
Chris, of East Coast Sports, reports that Atlantic bonito, false albacore, and spanish mackerel are all chasing bait together within a few miles of the inlets. Anglers are hooking all three while casting diamond jigs and other small, flashy lures to schools of bait, working birds, and fish feeding on the surface. Trolling with diving plugs and spoons can also be effective when the fish aren’t feeding on the surface.
Bluefish have arrived in force along the beachfront, and anglers are hooking them while working metal lures from the piers and on bottom rigs in the surf.
Red drum have shown up in the surf at the south end of the island, and anglers are also hooking some black drum along the entire length of the island. Shrimp and cut baits are fooling the drum.
Some cobia have shown up just off the beaches as well, and they are following schools of menhaden around. Casting live baits or bucktails to cobia that anglers spot on the surface will often tempt them to bite.
Some king mackerel have been caught in the 20 mile range lately, and they’ll likely be moving closer to the beach soon.
Bottom fishermen are hooking some grouper around offshore structure, but it’s been tough to weed through the black sea bass to get to them. Larger baits will help anglers target the grouper amongst the bass.
Those making the run to the Gulf Stream have found some stellar dolphin and wahoo fishing over the past week. Both are taking an interest in trolled ballyhoo and skirted lures.
Inshore, there are still plenty of speckled trout feeding in the creeks, especially off the New River. Soft plastics or suspending hard lures will tempt bites from the trout.
Some schools of red drum are feeding in the bays off the New River and ICW, but they’ve thinned out a bit lately. Topwater plugs, soft plastics, and live baits are all effective on the reds.
Flounder action is still a bit slow but should be on track soon.
Anglers are starting to see some sheepshead around the ocean piers and at inshore structure. Fiddler crabs are top baits for the sheeps.
Daniel, of Flat Foot Charters, reports that most fish are still a few weeks behind schedule compared to most springs, but it’s a good thing now.
Atlantic bonito are still feeding around bait and working birds off New River Inlet, and anglers are hooking them and some stout spanish mackerel while casting diamond jigs to surface activity.
Red drum are feeding in the creeks and biting topwater plugs, soft plastics, and live baits.
Black drum are feeding around deep structure like bridges and docks inshore. The best bite has been around the tide changes, and fiddler crabs and fresh shrimp are fooling most of the fish.
Speckled trout are in the creeks and around some inshore structure as well. Live shrimp and a variety of artificial lures are tempting bites from the specks.
A few flounder are starting to show up, and they’re taking an interest in small live baits.
Allen, of Breadman Ventures, reports that anglers are catching good numbers of Atlantic bonito in the ocean off New River Inlet. The fish are feeding around structure and bait within a few miles of the inlet and will attack trolled spoons and plugs or metal casting jigs.
Speckled trout are staging on the move from the creeks to the main river and have been a bit tough to catch lately. When anglers find some hungry fish, they’ve been hooking them on soft plastic baits and MR17 MirrOlures.
Red drum are still cruising the flats and bays, but like the trout, they’ve been a bit finicky lately. Dead-sticking soft baits with added scents like Pro-Cure has been effective recently when conventional retrieves aren’t doing the trick.
Sheepshead have shown up around the area bridges. Anglers can tempt the sheeps to bite live fiddler crabs.
Flounder are finally beginning to feed a bit more actively inshore after a slow start to the spring. Anglers are putting some solid flatfish in the boat while casting soft plastics in some of the same areas they’re looking for the reds and trout.
Richard, of Seaview Pier, reports that anglers are connecting with sea mullet, pigfish, croaker, and other panfish while baiting double-drop rigs with shrimp and bloodworms.
Some bluefish and an occasional spanish mackerel are taking an interest in metal lures like Gotcha plugs.
Flounder fishermen are hooking a few on live minnows.
Kenny, at Surf City Pier, reports that there’s been some good plugging for bluefish and spanish mackerel from the planks lately.
Bottom fishermen are hooking up with sea mullet and a few black and puppy drum on shrimp and cut baits.
Jake, of Jolly Roger Pier, reports that anglers are hooking big numbers of bluefish and spanish mackerel (to 6 lbs. last week) while working Gotcha plugs and other lures from the pier.
Some puppy drum are taking an interest in shrimp and cut baits on bottom rigs.
Sea mullet have been biting on-and-off in the evening hours.