Morehead City – April 27, 2017
Matt, of Chasin Tails, reports that the big bluefish have been all over the place this past week, from the surf, up at the Cape Lookout shoals, and inside of the hook at the lighthouse on the flats. These fish will hit metal jigs like Jig Fish Lures, Kastmasters, and stingsilvers, though some anglers have also caught them on Z-Man 5” jerk shad or Mag-Z topwater lures. The larger lures like MirrOlure Top Dogs and Heddon Spooks have worked as well, and those looking for a sure bet can toss finger mullet or cut mullet, which is rarely turned down. Make sure you use wire leader when fishing for the choppers.
Trolling Clarkspoons and Bowed Up spoons along the beach and inlet area is producing all the smaller fish, around 2 lbs., and although it is early, a few spanish have been mixed in with the bluefish.
False albacore can be found stacked up along Shackleford Banks, anywhere from Atlantic Beach up to the east side of Cape Lookout. The schools are always moving, but once you are clear of the inlet, start looking for birds working from the surf zone out to a mile or so. Jigs modeled after glass minnows, between 1/2 and 3/4 oz., are the way to connect with the fish.
A few bonito have been caught around the reefs, and any day the action should kick in. The ones so far have been caught on Yo-Zuri Deep Divers in the smaller size, around ARs like 315, 320, and 285.
Those looking to target the gray trout should look for them around the AB Bridge and the Beaufort High Rise Bridge. Try jigging chrome 1-1/8 oz. stingsilvers and Glass Minnow jigs to connect with the trout.
The speckled trout action has been in the back creeks and marsh areas. Core Creek up to the Neuse River has been holding fish, along with the finger creeks in the Neuse River area. Anglers working the Haystacks are catching limits of fish, and deeper pockets and creek mouths also seem to be holding trout. Early mornings, when the fish move onto the flats, throwing topwater lures like Rapala Skitterwalks can get strikes from the specks, as well as MirrOlures MR17s and Yo-Zuri twitchbaits. Anglers wanting to throw artificials like Z-Man and Bett’s Halo Shrimp are also connecting with the fish, and those using live bait should bring a few dozen mud minnows with them.
Redfish are in the same backwater areas as the trout, and live mud minnows are working well, along with popping corks and Gulp baits. The topwater bite has also picked up, and the fish seem to be around the Shark Island area, with the bull reds hanging around the Shoals.
The AR-330 is holding amberjacks, and you can connect by jigging spoons or by dropping menhaden or cigar minnows down on the reefs.
Those fishing in the surf or from the pier are connecting with the chopper blues, and bottom fishing is producing sea mullet, pigfish, and pufferfish. Fishing mid-way down the piers back towards the surf zone seems to be the best area to catch these fish. Bait shrimp, squid, bloodworms, and Fishbites on bottom rigs have all been working.
Offshore, the wahoo fishing remains good, though the bite is all over the place. Big Rock down towards the Swansboro Hole and Rise is where most of the fish have come from.
Anglers trolling for wahoo have also run into schools of blackfin tuna, and a few dolphin have been spotted as well.
Paul, of Freeman’s Bait and Tackle, reports that bluefish are dominating most of the action around the area, with anglers casting mullet to the big chopper blues to connect with them.
The sea mullet bite has been good off the piers and from the surf, with shrimp and bloodworms proving effective.
The red drum and black drum are active around the shoals. Inside, the speckled trout and gray trout are falling for artificials.
Falsies are off the beach, but bonitos have yet to move into the area. No spanish mackerel catches as of yet, but anglers are starting to see the fish.
Offshore, the wahoo bite is still on, and those wanting to connect should troll ballyhoo behind a skirt or on a planer rod. There are scattered yellowfin tuna in the same areas.
Justin, of Breakday Charters, reports that chopper bluefish are producing most of the activity, with Hopkins spoons and topwater plugs giving anglers action.
The red drum are out on Cape Lookout, and casting 1-3 oz. bucktails to them should connect anglers to the fish.
The false albacore are moving through the area and can be found around the ARs. Yo-Zuri Deep Divers will hook the falsies.
Flounder are in the area, and can be hooked using bucktails. Anglers should expect 15”+ fish, and those making it out to AR-330 can expect a hot bite.
Speckled trout are back in the marsh areas and will take MR17s and Trout Tricks.
Chris, of Mount Maker Charters, reports that chopper blues are in the area, including the backwaters, and anglers are catching them on the flats on poppers. Look for them in the shallows around the Cape, and you may be able to sight cast to the fish in water as shallow as 2’.
Bait fishing on the bottom around the Cape has connected anglers to smooth dogfish.
Inside anglers are jigging up gray trout, between 13-15”around bridges, on stingsilvers and Gulp baits.
The Atlantic bonito are starting to move into the area, and anglers can cast to them using stingsilvers or trolling Yo-Zuri lures. False albacore may be mixed in.
Thomas, of Dancin’ Outlaw, reports that wahoo fishing has been great, with yellowfin and blackfin tuna mixed in. Look for the fish around 40 miles out, and troll seawitches with ballyhoo to connect.
The mahi have just started to show up in the same areas.
Larry, of Oceanana Pier, reports that anglers are connecting with black drum, sea mullet, and big blues. Cut bait is the best way to connect with the fish, including the big blues, but casting a Gotcha plug will tempt bites from the smaller blues, too.