Ocean Isle – April 27, 2017
Jeff, of Ocean Isle Fishing Center, reports that anglers are connecting with keeper-sized black drum around oyster bars. Throw fresh shrimp on a Carolina rig to connect with the fish.
Red drum are starting to show up in the same locations as the black drum and are taking live shrimp. Expect fish between 19-25”.
Speckled trout are still being caught in the area, and now that shrimp have shown up, anglers should float live shrimp in the middle of the channels of Shallotte and Calabash rivers to connect.
Undersized flounder in the area are biting mud minnows or white curly tailed jerk baits like Gulp.
A few anglers in the area are throwing fiddler crabs to connect with sheepshead, though most are on the smaller side.
Derek, of Ocean Isle Fishing Center, reports that nearshore, the spanish mackerel are starting to move in. They’re in anywhere from 30’ of water to 8’ right outside the inlets and are mixed in with smaller bluefish.
Atlantic bonito are being found in the 5-10 mile range, typically in waters between 45-60’. Clarkspoons trolled behind a #1 planer will work on both the spanish and bonito, or anglers can throw casting jigs to the bonitos.
King mackerel are being found in the 2-30 mile range, and there is a really good bite at the Atlantic Ledge. The fish are small, between 8-10 lbs., and are taking slow trolled dead cigar minnows on king rigs. Those who want to pick it up a bit can use artificial lures like small dronespoons and Clarkspoons due to the smaller size of the fish.
The Gulf Stream bite, from 40-60 miles out, has slowed, with the tuna not biting like they have done in previous weeks. The water is 78 degrees, and with reports of anglers connecting with mahi down in Charleston, any day now the bite should pick up. The whole Long Bay region has been slow, but a few stray wahoo have been landed.
Bottom fishing in the same range, 40-55 miles, is yielding black sea bass, triggerfish, vermillion snapper, and amberjack.
Kevin, of Rigged and Ready Charters, reports that king mackerel are 25 miles offshore. Target the fish with #8 planers with pink dronespoons in 80-85’ of water. The fish are weighing in between 12-15 lbs., and anglers shouldn’t be surprised to hook an early season spanish when trolling for the kings. A few false albacore have also been hooked while trolling for the fish, and the warmer waters have pushed some of the kings far enough in that a few piers reported kings landed.
Bottom fishing is good in 20-40’ of water, with anglers connecting with black sea bass, grunts, triggerfish, and beeliners. Cut bait and squid are working to connect to the fish.
Those fishing in the river have connected with a few flounder, reds, and black drum. The reds, mostly under-slot, are falling for mud minnows on a cork rig, while the black drum are biting fresh shrimp on a Carolina rig.
Flounder are slowly moving back into the waters and are taking mud minnows as well. A 17” flounder was recently caught and released, so the sizes are slowly increasing.
Cecil, of Rod and Reel Shop, reports anglers are connecting with big bluefish in the surf, off the pier, and nearshore in the boats using cut mullet and finger mullet.
There are still some nice black drum being caught, as well as whiting, on fresh shrimp.
A few decent-sized flounder (16-28”) have ben landed on live minnows.
Those trolling offshore are connecting with spanish mackerel and the smaller snake kings from 3-20 miles out.
Kyle, of Speckulator Inshore Fishing Charters, reports that the flounder fishing is starting to come around a bit, and anglers should look for the flatfish around Tubbs Inlet, Cherry Grove, and the canals around Ocean Isle and Sunset. Use mud minnows to tempt bites until the menhaden move in, which should be any day.
Anglers are still picking away at the trout, both up and down the waterway and around the jetties. Artificials are working for the most part, with swim baits or paddletails on a jig head preferred. Floating mud minnows under a float will work, too, but the float method will be more successful once anglers have access to menhaden.
Reds are around, mostly smaller, in the creeks and along the docks in the waterways. Black drum are mixed in the same areas, and anglers can connect with the fish using cut shrimp and soft shell crabs.
A few bigger reds (citation-sized) have been landed off the Little River jetties by anglers who are anchored there and fishing last year’s cut menhaden on the bottom. Those fishing the same areas should find some upper-slot reds on the rocks, too.
A few spanish have been caught a little further off the beach, and although the bite has been better further south, they should be moving north soon.
Jim, of Ocean Isle Beach Fishing Pier, reports that anglers are connecting with whiting, bluefish, and pompano off the planks. Those targeting bluefish are finding success with Gotcha plugs, and shrimp are working on the mullet and pompano.