Sarah Gagliardo

Carolina Beach – April 13, 2017

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Wes, of Island Tackle and Hardware, reports that anglers inshore and in the river are connecting with a decent amount of black drum using fresh shrimp. Expect the fish to be smaller to just keeper size.

The redfish are becoming active, more so in the river, and they are falling for artificials and MirrOlure MR18s.

Speckled trout are being found in the boat basins and up the creeks a little bit. These fish are also just legal-sized and smaller, as it seems the larger trout have moved on. Use the same bait as for the redfish, including the MR18s, to connect with the specks.

Anglers are beginning to catch small keeper flounder in inshore waters, finding success with live minnows.

Dolan Davis, and his dad Chris, with a 5 lb. sheepshead landed behind Bald Head Island on cut shrimp. They were fishing with Capt. Christian Wolfe of Seahawk Inshore Fishing Charters.

In the surf, whiting has provided the most action to those throwing shrimp.

False albacore have returned to the area, and Stingsilvers or Gotcha plugs should connect you to the fish.

Large chopper bluefish have also made an appearance off the beach, with anglers catching them from the surf and close to shore. The best way to target these 30”+ fish is with live or cut bait.

For those heading out into the 20-25 mile range, trolling dead bait 6-8 miles per hour should yield king mackerel as well as barracuda.

Dropping down and bottom fishing in the same area, black sea bass are still being landed, as well as the typical mixed bag of bottom fish that have moved back into the area, like vermilion, pinkies, and grunts.

Heading to the Gulf Stream, there has been a good wahoo bite, with blackfins mixed in. Trolling ballyhoo with high speed rigs (in black/blue and black/purple), such as Ilanders, Blue Water Candy, and Big Nic is connecting anglers to the fish.

Randall Robison, of Morehead City, with a wahoo caught on a #12 planer, 8” black/blue/purple Ilander, and a medium ballyhoo. The fish was caught 1/2 mile inside of the Swansboro Hole in 198’ of water. He was fishing with Capt. Jesse Gawlik of Ocean Stinger Fishing Charters.

Christian, of Seahawk Inshore Charters, reports that there are good numbers of black drum holding off of shell points and oyster beds in water depths of 2-6’. Most fish are ranging from 14-16”, with a few smaller ones mixed in. A few 20” fish have been landed as well. Use cut shrimp on a Carolina rig to connect with the fish.

Anglers are finding reds (in the 16-18” range) mixed in with the black drum, with a few lower slot fish present, too. The reds will eat shrimp and scented soft plastics (such as Gulp and Z-Man).

There are still speckled trout in the area but not in the same consistent numbers as the past few months. Target the fish with soft plastics like DOA and Z-Man in currents off shell points and hard structures.

Bonito are beginning to show up with false albacore in the 3-5 mile range.

Jason Shannon, of Wilmington, with a striper caught in the Cape Fear River. The fish bit a soft plastic on a jighead.

Luke, of Topwater Guide Co., reports that the flounder are making their way back inshore. The flatfish have been caught on 4” Gulp jerk shads in new penny and Gulp shrimp in pearl white rigged on 1/4 oz. jigheads. Bump the Gulps on the bottom to connect with fish ranging from 15-18”. Those looking for bigger fish should head to the inlets.

Red drum have been hit or miss, moving from their winter patterns into their summer patterns. Creek mouths and deeper cuts along the waterway, as well as larger creeks, are holding fish. Most of the reds are falling for fresh shrimp or Gulp shrimp on Carolina rigs. The fish are still small, with most in the 15-21” range.

Anglers have been catching some trout, mostly in the 16-21” range, in about 4’ of water. The fish seem to be holding over mud and shell bottoms where the water is a bit warmer. Try throwing Down South lures in purple rain to connect to the specks.

Jesse Woodell and Jake Auman with a striper that fell for a diving plug in the Cape Fear River.

Rod, of OnMyWay Charters, reports that the Atlantic bonito have shown up, mixed in with false albacore. Trolling typical spanish mackerel Clarkspoons, Yo-Zuri Deep Divers, or Big Nic Spanish Candy works great on these fish. The warm water has pushed all the way inshore of 15 miles, and 12-14 miles out anglers can find 68 degree water, along with king mackerel that have moved in with it.

Bottom fishing continues to be good for large black sea bass, snapper, and triggerfish in the 18-25 mile range.

The wahoo bite in the Gulf Stream around the full moon has been excellent, along with blackfin tuna and even a few yellowfin tuna. Fish are being caught from 140’ out to 300’ of water. Don’t run over the fish; fish the ledges and good rock bottom areas in 140-170’ of water. The 170 Rock has been a hot spot recently.

Anglers looking for spanish on the beach and mahi in the Stream should expect them to start showing up in the next few weeks.

Rachel DiMauro with speckled trout caught in Carolina Beach State Park on shrimp.

Jesse, of Ocean Stinger Fishing Charters, reports that the king mackerel bite has been good in 85-110’ of water. The kings are schooled up on ledges and drop-offs about 20 miles off the beach, and they should be moving closer to shore as the water temperatures continue to rise. Donespoons in gold/silver and yellow/silver behind #2 planers are doing the trick.

False albacore are in the same areas as the kings, and they’re hitting green or pink topwater skirt rigs with silver heads.

The Gulf Stream is holding wahoo and blackfin tuna. Early morning has been the best time to target the tuna, and they are hitting 6 squid UV teasers with a small pink/silver or blue/silver chase bait set back in the chop.

Wahoo are in the same area, and planer rods with small blue/black or black/purple Ilanders rigged with ballyhoo should tempt bites.

Capt. Luke Donat, of Spot-On-Charters, with a 27.5” speckled trout that was caught and released in the Carolina Beach Inlet. The fish was landed on a Betts Halo Shrimp.

Anthony, of Kure Beach Pier, reports that anglers are connecting with black drum, whiting, and bluefish. A few bonito have also been landed.

Cameron Gilmore with a 22.5” striper that was caught in the Cape Fear River. He was fishing with Capt. Jot Owens of Jot It Down Charters.

Cathy, of Carolina Beach Pier, reports that the action for anglers has been slow, with only a few mullet and croakers landed.