Morehead City – May 11, 2017
Matt, of Chasin Tails, reports that the cobia have finally arrived, with over 15 fish hooked in the Cape Lookout area. Most of the fish have been caught off of menhaden pods and turtles along the beach, and a few anglers have caught the fish bottom fishing in Barden’s Inlet at Cape Lookout. Shad and live eels should work on the fish, and those wanting to use artificials should use jigs like Bowed-Up, Meat Hog, and Sea Striker Bug Eyes.
Chopper bluefish are continuing to be caught from the beach. Try sight casting topwaters and jigs. Pencil Poppers have been working great on the fish around the Cape Lookout area, and those looking for blues in boats should troll spoons or cast jigs to the fish around inlets and beaches.
Bonito are showing up on the AR reefs (AR-315 and AR-285 have been the best), and in trolling Yo-Zuri Deep Divers in the smallest size should connect anglers to the fish. Casting jigs at first light around the ARs can also hook anglers up with fish on the surface.
Spanish are moving into the area early, and although they aren’t thick yet, larger schools are expected any day. Spoons behind #1 planers have been the way to connect with the fish, and Clarkspoons or Bowed-Up spanish spoons in an array of colors are working well, too.
Speckled trout are holding in marsh areas, and now is the time to target the fish early in the morning at first light on topwater lures. Heading out towards the river, anglers have also had success hooking the fish on Z-Man soft plastics. Red drum may be hooked while fishing for trout.
Flounder are starting to move inshore, with anglers catching flatfish at the Port Wall and the deeper channels. Live minnows is the best way to tempt bites. The ARs haven’t fired up yet like they should, but anglers wanting to give it a chance should jig Spro 2 oz. bucktails tipped with Gulp 4” shrimp.
Gray trout are being caught at the high rise bridges, and jigging chrome Stingsilvers has been getting the job done. Dropping down shrimp in the same areas should yield a nice black drum bite.
Sheepshead are starting to chew, and the Port Wall area seems to be the best place to target them since the fish are just now moving in. Target these fish with live fiddler crabs and sea urchins.
Anglers on the pier are connecting with the chopper bluefish, and they’re having the most success with Sea Striker bluefish rigs with finger or cut mullet.
Spanish have been spotted in schools from the piers, but no one has brought any over the rails as of yet.
Bottom fishing is yielding a mixed bag, including sea mullet, pigfish, croakers, and pufferfish. Bait shrimp, bloodworms, and Fishbites will all provide action.
Offshore, the dolphin have moved back in, with bulls over 30 lbs. beginning to be weighed in. Most of the fish have been caught around Big Rock, but they could be close to 14 Buoy and further.
Wahoo are still being brought in, along with tuna. Boats in the same area have already caught blue marlin, which is a good sign for those gearing up for Big Rock. Use fresh ballyhoo to target the fish.
Grouper season has opened, and dropping fresh menhaden on the bottom should get bites, along with action from sea bass, triggerfish, and snapper.
Paul, of Freeman’s Bait and Tackle, reports that anglers are still catching chopper bluefish around the Cape. Cobia have moved into the area as well, and a dozen have been landed in the same areas.
The sea mullet are biting off the surf, with red drum and black drum being caught as well. Offshore, blue marlin are being landed, and the mahi bite is picking up as the wahoo bite tapers out.
Inside, speckled trout are holed up in the marshes.
Justin, of Breakday Charters, reports that the bottom fishing has been good, with grouper showing up in 100’ of water. Drop down live bait or squid for all bottom feeders.
Gaffer mahi have returned, and they are slowly getting bigger and more numerous. Anglers should look for them from the Stream to 90’ of water, and although they will be moving closer to shore, anglers should expect to go at least past the 14 Buoy.
Anglers are starting to land blue marlin off trolling plugs.
The cobia are getting more prolific as the bait moves back in, and the bite should only improve over the next week.
The chopper blue bite is slowly decreasing, but flounder are starting to show up around the ARs. Target the flatfish with 2 oz. bucktails tipped with Gulp.
Chris, of Mount Maker Charters, reports that there are cobia, chopper blues, Atlantic bonito, false albacore, and amberjacks all inside of 75’. The falsies and bonito will take stingsilvers and tiny casting jigs, and anglers can connect with the amberjacks and cobia either using bucktails or vertical jigs.
Spanish are starting to move in, and anglers can cast to them on the east side.
Thomas, of Dancin’ Outlaw, reports that the mahi fishing has been great, and anglers should start trolling for them 40 miles out.
Blackfin tuna are still in the area, and the billfish bite has picked up, with blue marlin and sailfish caught.
Larry, of Oceanana Pier, reports that most anglers are getting action from black drum. The bite overall, including sea mullet, has slowed.