Fish Post

Carolina Beach – April 27, 2017

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Lewis, of Island Tackle, reports that anglers in the surf and on the pier are starting to connect with spanish mackerel, along with the chopper blues that are still around but are slowly dwindling. Cut bait and Gotcha plugs are the way to connect with both species.

Those setting up a king rig from the end of the pier have landed the first kings of the season.

A few cobia have been spotted from the pier, but no one has yet to land one.

Those dropping live bait on the bottom have connected with a few flounder, but the fish are small and not yet legal.

Red drum and black drum are starting to move in to the surf as well. The reds are taking cut bait, and those that are targeting black drum, many of which are legal-sized, should use fresh shrimp and sand fleas.

Anglers in the river are connecting with more black drum, many 14”+, and they will take fresh shrimp. Reds in the same areas will take live mud minnows, dead shrimp, and scented soft plastics like Gulp.

The speckled trout bite is strong across the river from Snow’s Cut. Anglers should grab the attention of the fish, many which are keeper-sized, using live shrimp under a popping cork.

Nearshore, king mackerel are starting to show up 2-10 miles offshore, depending on the wind. Slow troll cigar minnows or spoons to connect with the kings, many of which are still small, but there are a few 20 lb. fish around.

Charles Clary, of Wilmington, with a bluefish landed on cut mullet in the Kure Beach surf.

Christian, of Seahawk Inshore Charters, reports that red drum are being caught in decent numbers, and most fish are between 16-18”, with a few lower-slot fish mixed in. Look for them around oyster points with drop offs, in 3-5’ of water, and around grass banks on high tide.

Black drum are being found in similar areas where the red drum are, and most fish are between 15-17”, with 20” fish caught from time to time. Dead shrimp on a Carolina rig will work on both species.

The flounder are few and far between, but the speckled trout are starting to show up on rock structure during moving tides. Target them with topwaters and Z-Man products.


Luke, of TopWater Guide Co., reports that the redfish inshore are still in their transitional patterns, and anglers should look at the creek mouths for the fish as they move towards bigger bodies of water. Anglers are still seeing mainly smaller fish, 15-22”, but there are upper to over-slot fish occasionally.

Speckled trout have still been hanging around, though smaller in sizes (from 11-14”). Most of the fish are coming on MirrOdines in the 808 color and Down South Lures.

Flounder action is starting to pick back up, and they are being caught on soft plastics. The fish are in the 12-18” range, and anglers can expect to have better luck with the fish as the pogies and mullet start moving back into the area.

Nearshore, out to three miles, spanish have moved into the waters, and anglers can cast to them or troll to connect. Kings are mixed in and are striking diving Yo-Zuri or Bomber baits. Those casting can find success with Shore Lures in pink/white and green/white.

Russ Berkoben and Clifford Harper, from St. James, with a limit of king mackerel caught while fishing with Capt. Rod Bierstedt of OnMyWay Charters. The fish fell for slow trolled cigar minnows on Blue Water Candy dead bait rigs 10 miles off Carolina Beach Inlet.

Rod, of OnMyWay Charters, reports that nearshore there are scattered Atlantic bonito, but the bite is really hit-or-miss. If targeting the fish, hit the water in the early morning right at daylight.

The spanish mackerel are very scattered but should be showing up in good numbers starting any day now. Moving in from the south, anglers should look for them on ARs, the mouths of inlets, and ledges. Troll Clarkspoons at 5+ knots and look for bird activity to connect with the fish.

There is an excellent spring king mackerel bite, with fish from 26-34” being landed anywhere from 5-15 miles out. Slow troll dead cigar minnows on Blue Water Candy Hank Brown rigs and target live bottom, ledges, and ARs.

Offshore, the black sea bass and snapper bite is good in 18-25 mile range.

The Gulf Stream is seeing the first mahi action of the year. They aren’t in thick yet but are mixed in with plentiful blackfin tuna and the occasional bigeye. Anglers have also reported wahoo and sailfish.

Wahoo can be hooked using a Blue Water Candy mini jag down deep in a dark color off a planer rod. Use black/purple, red/black, or blue/black colors to attract the fish.

The big mahi run should start the first part of May, and then they should be coming in from the Stream to the 20-30 mile range.


Jesse, of Ocean Stinger Fishing Charters, reports that the nearshore bluefish bite is great, with small Clarkspoons behind a #1 or #2 planer being the way to connect.

The king mackerel bite has been good in 65-100’ of water, and anglers can find the fish schooled up on ledges and drop offs about 15-25 miles off the beach. Dronespoons in blue/silver, pink/silver, or yellow/silver behind #2 planers has been the ticket to connect with the fish.

False albacore are hitting green or pink topwater skirt rigs with silver heads, and they are feeding in the 20 mile range with the kings.

The wahoo and blackfin tuna bite has been steady in the Gulf Stream, and early season mahi have started to show up. Look for the blackin and mahi just north of the Same Ol’ Hole in 200’ of water.

The best wahoo bite has been along the 240 line, though the wahoo bite north, around the Swansboro Hole, has been a bit better. Planer rods are the way to go to connect with the fish, using small blue/black or black/purple Ilanders rigged with ballyhoo.


Anthony, of Kure Pier, reports that anglers are connecting with bluefish in the 10-12 lb. range, along with some of the smaller ones that are also in the area. The first spanish of the year were landed this past week, along with the pier’s first king mackerel of the year that weighed in at 22.5 lbs. A few small flounder, whiting, and croaker have been pulled over the rails for those using bottom rigs.


Cathy, of Carolina Beach Pier, reports that anglers are catching whiting and a few early season flounder when dropping to the bottom. The bluefish bite continues to be good, including chopper blues still in the area.