Sarah Gagliardo

Wrightsville Beach – October 27, 2016

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Matt, of Tex’s Tackle, reports that speckled trout fishing has been very good. Big numbers of 16-20” fish are being caught, and an impressive number of 5+ lb. fish have made a strong early showing. Most anglers are fishing in the creeks and marshes near the inlets, with good reports also coming from the waterway around the bridges and docks. Look for schools of glass minnows or groups of shrimp.

The red drum and flounder bite has remained strong as well. They are hitting Gulp fished on a jig head and are also responding well to live bait fished on the bottom. Look for these fish to be using a variety of structure: docks, oyster bars, and bridges.

There have still been some fish in the marsh. The black drum and sheepshead are biting around docks and oyster bars, with fiddler crabs and barnacles being the best baits.

Surf fishing has been improving, with great fishing at times. Anglers have the chance to catch red drum, speckled trout, and flounder in the surf right now. All three will eat a live mullet or mud minnow, and fresh cut bait will work. A Carolina rig or fish finder rig is the preferred way to fish live bait or cut bait in the surf.

Anglers fishing bloodworms, shrimp, and sand fleas are reporting pompano, sea mullet, croaker, black drum, and spot. The spot fishing has been hit or miss, but it should improve.

The fishing just off the beach rebounded quickly from Hurricane Matthew. The spanish mackerel are still around in decent numbers, but the drop in water temperature has made for a much stronger bluefish and false albacore presence. The albacore have been seen from 10′ of water just outside the breakers all the way out to 10-15 miles.

Boaters are still seeing good numbers of big bull redfish.

Offshore, anglers have been reporting improving catches of king mackerel since the storm. Many of these fish have been on the small side coming on Drone spoons, deep divers, and dead cigar minnows on Blue Water Candy Wedgies.

Gag grouper have been feeding at bottom structure starting at around 65′ of water. Also in the mix, anglers are seeing good numbers of black sea bass and grunts (in the same range).

Gulf Stream anglers have been reporting consistent wahoo fishing. Blackfin tuna have been on a pretty steady bite, and there have also been some gaffer dolphin caught and a few sailfish released. Anglers out in the Stream that are dropping to the bottom have had good catches of beeliners, triggerfish, pink snapper, scamp grouper, and red grouper.

Johnny Burke with a false albacore that fell for a metal jig outside Masonboro Inlet.

Johnny Burke with a false albacore that fell for a metal jig outside Masonboro Inlet.

Arlen, of Intracoastal Angler, reports that red drum fishing has been good in the backwaters and along docks in the waterway. Topwater baits and Gulp shrimp on jig heads have been the bait of choice, as well as live and cut mullet around the waterway docks.

A few black drum have been caught on the docks as well, mostly with cut shrimp. Trout fishing has been very hot, with both the sizes of fish and numbers being the best it’s been in several years.

Surf fishermen are reporting a few spots and sea mullet, mostly at night on shrimp or Fishbites.  In the morning and evening, some blues, false albacore, and a few spanish are being caught by anglers throwing casting jigs, with some blues as large as 3-4 lbs.

Logan Watson, of Wilmington, with speckled trout caught on Z-Man soft plastics on 1/4 oz. jigheads.

Logan Watson, of Wilmington, with speckled trout caught on Z-Man soft plastics on 1/4 oz. jigheads.

Nearshore, the spanish and albacore have been biting for anglers trolling Clarkspoons and deep divers. Casting jigs with spinning tackle and small Clouser style flies with a fly rod has also been productive for both.

A few large king mackerel are still being caught along the beach, but the bulk of the mackerel action is in the 8-12 mile range.  Over-slot red drum are also biting, mainly at the end of the Masonboro jetties and out at John’s Creek on cut mullet.

Grouper fishing has been good, mostly in the 80-90’ range for the gags, and scamps are being caught in the 40+ mile range. Black sea bass and beeliners have been mixed in as well.

Gulf Stream fishing has been strong. Catches of wahoo have been reported from boats high speeding as well as trolling ballyhoo, mostly around the Same Ol’ in 160-200’. Decent catches of blackfin have been reported in the 40-60 fathom range around bait marks.

Jacqueline Carroll, of Wilmington, with a red drum caught at Masonboro Inlet on a bluefish.

Jacqueline Carroll, of Wilmington, with a red drum caught at Masonboro Inlet on a bluefish.

Trevor, of ProFishNC, reports that speckled trout fishing has been red hot. Fast moving water in the creek areas has been the best bet, and Z-Man plastics and green grubs on jig heads has been the best bait.

False albacore have been thick just outside the inlet, but they seem to be scattering more offshore. Most of the fish have been in the 3-8 lb. range. King mackerel are feeding well, and most of the fish are coming on slow-trolled Hank Brown rigs with dead cigar minnows. Grouper fishing has turned on, and plenty of undersized fish are being caught in the 2-3 mile range.

There are nice-sized flounder in the backwaters this time of year. The fish are keying in on the shrimp migration, and they are falling for soft plastic imitations on jig heads.

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Jamie, of Seagate Charters, reports that trout are biting well throughout the area. DOA shrimp and Rapala Skitterwalk and X-Raps are all working.

Citation-sized red drum are around the inlets and nearshore structure. The fish are falling for fresh cut baits on the bottom.

Cael Honnold (age 10), of Clemson, SC, with his first barracuda. The fish bit a Clarkspoon while he was trolling with Capt. Eric Ramstrum of Nauti Times Boat Rental out of Wrightsville Beach.

Cael Honnold (age 10), of Clemson, SC, with his first barracuda. The fish bit a Clarkspoon while he was trolling with Capt. Eric Ramstrum of Nauti Times Boat Rental out of Wrightsville Beach.

Lynn, of Shearwater Charters, reports that spanish mackerel and false albacore are making a great showing just off the beach.

King mackerel are being caught in the 10-20 mile range. There is a lot of bait in that range, and the kings are taking advantage.

Caleb Howland, of Wrightsville Beach, with speckled trout caught on a grub off Wrightsville Beach.

Caleb Howland, of Wrightsville Beach, with speckled trout caught on a grub off Wrightsville Beach.

Warren, of Johnnie Mercer’s Pier, reports that red drum are being caught, with both keeper and over-slot fish being hooked. Bluefish are biting early and late in the day, and both bait and Gotcha plugs are getting the blues. Speckled trout are falling for jigs on the bottom, with fish up to 20” being caught.

Some king mackerel are being landed, including a 40 lb. fish. The water is still warm, so the fishing should remain good for weeks to come.

Anna Ucytil, of Holly Ridge, with a flounder that bit on a Gulp bait in Futch Creek.

Anna Ucytil, of Holly Ridge, with a flounder that bit on a Gulp bait in Futch Creek.