Morehead City – July 20, 2017
Matt, of Chasin Tails Outdoors, reports that bottom fishing offshore has produced limits of grouper around the Atlas Tanker and 17 Rock areas. Black sea bass, ring tails, and amberjacks are also mixed in, and cigar minnows, squid, and sardines have been the hot baits.
Trolling on the east side of the Cape has landed anglers high numbers of kings. Although most fish have been smaller, one fish weighed in hit the 45 lb. mark.
A few dolphin have been hooked around the sea buoy and AR-285. Some dolphin have moved in just off the beach, but they’re not in great numbers.
Nearshore, anglers trolling #1 planers with Bowed-Up Lures spoons and Clarkspoons have boxed plenty of spanish. Pulling mackerel trees and birds with squid rigs have also produced high numbers of fish. When spanish have been schooling up and feeding on top, tossing a Glass Minnow jig has done the trick.
Inshore fishing for sheepshead has provided anglers with plenty of action. Dropping live fiddler crabs or sea urchins around bridges, near docks in the waterway, and on the Port Wall has produced fish pushing the 8-10 lb. mark.
Redfish have been holding around the Haystacks and the Core Creek areas. Targeting high tide around marsh edges and oyster bars has produced best. Throwing topwater plugs in the morning has worked well, and as the sun gets up, changing over to live mud minnows, Gulp soft plastics, and Redfish Magic spinner baits have landed good numbers of fish.
Speckled trout have been feeding well, with most of the specs holding between Core Creek and the Neuse River. Targeting them early morning with topwater baits and soft plastics under popping corks has worked best.
Flounder fishing has picked up, with higher numbers of fish being landed. There is a mix of keeper and under-sized fish around. Most fish are being landed while drift fishing behind Shackleford Banks and around the hook at Cape Lookout. The docks and bridges along the waterway have also held good numbers of fish. The best baits for the flatfish have been live mud minnows on Carolina rigs and Spro bucktails tipped with 4” Gulp shrimp.
Cody, of Freeman’s Bait and Tackle, reports that despite the warming water temperatures, the inshore fish are feeding well. Those targeting the Haystacks area have had double digit days on redfish and speckled trout. Most reds have been mid-slot, and the trout have been between 15-22”. Tossing soft plastics under a popping cork or rigged on jig heads has worked best.
A mix of keeper and short flounder have been caught as well.
Fishing around the turning basin has produced decent bottom fishing for croaker, black sea bass, gray trout, and sea mullet. Using fresh shrimp on a bottom rig has done the trick.
Out in the surf zone, anglers are catching a variety of fish on fresh shrimp and cut mullet. The catch has included sharks, skates, croaker, pigfish, flounder, pufferfish, pompano, red drum, and black drum.
Nearshore fishing remains steady, and trolling for spanish with Clarkspoons has provided plenty of action. Some recent spanish have pushed the 5 lb. mark. Jigging for flounder on the nearshore reefs has produced a mix of keeper and throwback fish. AR-315 has been as good a spot as any to stop and drop a bucktail.
Offshore, trolling ballyhoo has landed anglers a few large wahoo and high numbers of bailer dolphin. Billfish are hanging around just north of the Big Rock area, with more sails than any other billfish. A few blackfin tuna have been landed in the same area.
Justin, of Breakday Charters, reports that nearshore fishing has kept anglers busy with spanish, kings, and flounder. Tolling #0 Clarkspoons has been the ticket for catching double digit numbers of spanish, and most fish have been in the 15-20” range. Mixed in with the spanish, kings have been feeding, and most have been just under the legal limit (or just over).
Jigging with Breakday bucktails around the local wrecks and reefs has produced good numbers of flounder, although anglers will have to weed through the smaller ones to find the keepers.
The mullet have made their appearance inshore, and most inshore species are now preferring to eat mullet over other baits. Fishing for red drum in the waterway and marshes has produced a mix of under-slot and mid-slot fish, and rigging a live finger mullet on a Carolina rig has done the trick. Mixed in with the drum in the deeper pockets in the waterway, the flounder have also been willing to pick up a live mullet. Most flounder have been between 16-18”.
Targeting speckled trout on topwater plugs early in the morning has been the key to catching larger fish. Once the sun comes out, hitting the deeper pockets and holes with live mullet has produced better numbers.
Chris, of Mount Maker Charters, reports that the redfish bite in the Neuse River has produced quality fish. Those tossing popping corks rigged with soft plastics have landed fish in the lower to mid-slot range, and targeting marsh lines has been the best way to land limits of fish.
Flounder have been holding around the Haystacks area. There has been a mix of under-sized and keeper fish around, and most anglers are having the best luck pinning live finger mullet on Carolina rigs.
Off the beach, those trolling Clarkspoons are finding plenty of action with the spanish. Many trips have landed numbers well into the double digits.
Dolphin are still around, but the size of fish has dropped a bit. Trolling skirted ballyhoo has been the ticket for a good bailer dolphin bite.
Thomas, of Dancin’ Outlaw, reports that the dolphin have been plentiful, but most fish have been bailers, with only the occasional gaffer. Trolling ballyhoo around the Big Rock area has been the best tactic to landing high numbers of fish.
Billfish are present in the 100 fathom range.
Amanda, of Oceanana Pier, reports that anglers tossing Gotcha plugs are hooking up with spanish (up to 3 lbs.). Those fishing fresh shrimp on the bottom are landing spadefish, sea mullet, and croaker.
Large pods of menhaden have been holding around the pier, and those catching them and fishing the bottom are landing slot-sized puppy drum and flounder in the 2 lb. range.
A few blacktip sharks have been hooked from the end of the pier.