Morehead City – November 17, 2016
Matt, of Chasin’ Tails Outdoors, reports that the speckled trout fishing has been excellent, with anglers bringing good numbers of 6+ lb. trout to the scales. The cooler weather has the fish on the move, so anglers should be persistent and move to locate the schools of specs throughout the inshore marshes.
The Haystacks, Core Creek, rock jetties, Middle Marsh, and creeks off of the North River have all been productive areas for trout and the occasional redfish. Anglers have been catching fish on a variety of artificial lures and live baits. As the water cools and the shrimp move out, anglers should look to mud minnows as a bait that will produce bites when the trout are at their pickiest.
Flounder fishing has been red hot lately, with some huge fish coming to the scales. The Port Wall has been the epicenter of the inshore action. Anglers are also reporting good numbers of fish at AR-315, so the flatfish are moving out the inlet. Live mullet on Carolina rigs or soft plastics on 2-3 oz. Spro bucktails are tempting plenty of bites from this tasty bottom feeder.
King mackerel fishing has been steady, with anglers reporting great live bait action in the shipping channel and Dead Tree Hole. Live menhaden and bluefish are the bait of choice, but anglers can also fool the hungry kings while using dead cigar minnows on Hank Brown rigs or Pirate Plugs.
Surf zone anglers are reporting an excellent flounder bite from the beach, with good numbers of speckled trout and red drum mixed in. Live mud minnows on fish finder rigs are the best bet for fooling all three species. Black drum, sea mullet, croakers, and spots have been fooled by anglers fishing fresh shrimp on double drop bottom rigs.
Offshore anglers have had a hard time getting out with the recent weather, but wahoo, blackfin tuna, and the occasional mahi are still being caught in the Gulf Stream by anglers pulling naked and skirted ballyhoo.
Bottom fishing remains consistent, with snappers, black sea bass, and gag grouper all caught in the 20 mile range on live and cut bait.
Paul, of Freeman’s Bait and Tackle, reports that that flounder bite has been red hot in the Morehead City area. The Port Wall and Turning Basin have been holding good numbers of flounder. Carrot Island and Radio Island have also been local hotspots for flatfish.
The speckled trout bite remains excellent, with anglers reporting large numbers of keeper-sized fish throughout area creeks and marshes. Soft plastics on jigheads or suspending twitch baits have been the bait of choice for most anglers looking to put a gator trout in the boat, but anglers are also tempting plenty of bites with live shrimp or mud minnows under a popping cork. Fishing moving water with noticeable structure (like ledges, marsh points, or oyster beds) is the key to success when targeting specs.
Wahoo and blackfin tuna have been plentiful in the Gulf Stream. The Rise and Big Rock have been the hotspots recently, with anglers finding good numbers of both while trolling naked and skirted ballyhoo near temperature breaks, rips, and floating structure.
Offshore bottom fishing has been steady, with wrecks in the 80-100’ range producing gag grouper, vermillion snapper, black sea bass, and triggerfish.
Justin, of Breakday Charters, reports that the inshore red drum fishing has been excellent recently, with large numbers of puppy drum in in the area. Many of these fish are under-slot reds, but there are plenty of keeper-sized fish mixed in. Soft plastics like Z-Man Trout Tricks on jigheads have been putting good numbers of fish in the boat. Live bait on a Carolina rig or below a popping cork has also been tempting bites when the fish are picky and uninterested in artificial bait. Anglers are finding the hungry reds throughout area marshes and in creek mouths, particularly around structure like blow-overs, marsh points, and oyster beds.
Speckled trout have also been feeding heavily in the waters around Morehead City, with the vast majority of them being keeper-sized fish. Soft plastics on jigheads and suspending twitch baits have been the go-to for these large trout. Live bait like mud minnows or shrimp below a popping cork have also been very tempting for trout and are easier to fish for novice anglers. Look for trout in deeper channels in marshes and mainland creeks where they are waiting to ambush bait on the move.
Scattered flounder have also been in the same areas, with some large fish mixed in.
Chris, of Mount Maker Charters, reports that the false albacore bite has been excellent recently, with the best action early in the morning. Scattered spanish mackerel and bluefish have been mixed in, and they are taking interest in the same baits. Shiny metal and lead jigs tossed into the schools of feeding fish have been putting plenty of fish in the boat. Anglers can locate these large schools of fish by looking for diving birds and fish busting the surface.
The offshore flounder bite is steadily improving as the water cools and more fish move to nearshore structure. Live bait on Carolina rigs and 2-3 oz. bucktails tipped with cut squid strips or white Gulp shrimp have been fooling plenty of these tasty bottom feeders. AR-315 and AR-320 have both been great spots to target flounder, but any offshore structure like rocks or ledges should be holding fish.
Thomas, of Dancin’ Outlaw, reports that the weather has been keeping most Gulf Stream anglers at the dock, but when they can venture offshore, the wahoo and blackfin tuna bite has been excellent. Sailfish and swordfish are also being caught by anglers on the hunt for billfish. Naked and skirted ballyhoo is a favorite for all of these Gulf Stream species.
Closer to shore, the Dead Tree Hole has been a hotspot for king mackerel anglers. Most of these kings are being caught on live bait, but dead cigar minnows on a Hank Brown rig have also been tempting plenty of bites.
Bailey, of Oceanana Pier, reports that the speckled trout and puppy drum bite has been excellent for anglers fishing live mud minnows and mullet on Carolina rigs. The occasional flounder and black drum have also been caught on shrimp and squid strips.
Anglers are still finding excellent numbers of croakers, spots, and sea mullet while soaking fresh shrimp on double drop bottom rigs.