Ocean Isle/ Holden Beach
Jeff, of Ocean Isle Fishing Center, reports that anglers targeting speckled trout are seeing above average action for this time of year. Most fish have been landed while using live shrimp or mud minnows under popping corks, but anglers electing to throw artificials are having luck on Vudu shrimp. Working ledges and drops near oyster banks has accounted for most of the specks being caught.
Flounder have been landed by anglers fishing mud minnows on Carolina rigs. The flounder have been mostly undersize, but some fish have been in the 15-18” range.
Redfish are still feeding in the area creeks and flats. Anglers are having the most luck tossing live mullet on Carolina rigs during the last part of the falling tide, and targeting deeper holes near oyster structure has also produced good numbers of slot reds.
Derek, of Ocean Isle Fishing Center, reports that the nearshore spanish fishing has been less consistent because of dirty water in the area. Some days anglers are bringing back only 3-5 fish, and then other days are seeing catches of 10+ fish. Most spanish are running in the 12-15” range and being caught while trolling Clarkspoons at 5-7 knots.
Shark fishing has kept anglers busy, and the best technique has been drifting with fresh cut bait or while fishing behind shrimp boats.
In the 20 mile range, the small kings are feeding and are averaging 10-12 lbs. Out further to 30 miles, the kings are considerably larger (in the 15-20 lb. range). Most king bites are coming on dead cigar minnows trolled on two-hook king rigs or by slow trolling live menhaden.
When dropping to the bottom, anglers are hooking up with vermilion snapper, gag grouper, and black sea bass (in the 13-15” range). Anglers have had the most success using fresh cut bait on the standard two-hook drop rig.
The 45-65 mile range has not produced well and has had dirtier than usual water.
Shane, of Fin-Fisher Charter Service, reports that the topwater speckled trout bite continues to remain hot for anglers willing to fish early mornings. The Zara Spook Jr. has been the top producing topwater bait. Light lining pogies has also been an effective method for hooking trout. Anglers are finding the best success near moving current in around 9’ of water.
The redfish have started to feed heavily on live pogies, and many fish are in the 24-25” range. Healthy numbers of redfish, in to the double digits per trip, have been landed while fishing docks and structure in the intracoastal waterway.
Flounder fishing has heated up due to the presence of more baitfish in the area. Anglers are landing flounder in the 3-4 lb. class while fishing bucktails tipped with strip bait. Fishing marsh edges for the flatfish has been the most productive way to put numbers of fish in the boat.
Kevin, of Rigged and Ready Charters, reports that the nearshore spanish bite has slowed down due to the dirty water, but the sharks are feeding heavily around the mouth of the Cape Fear River. Drifting cut baits while using chum bags has produced blacktip sharks in the 100-150 lb. range.
In the 20 mile range, anglers are hooking kings while trolling cigar minnows and ballyhoo.
Offshore, the bottom fish have been feeding on squid and cigar minnows on the classic two-drop rig. Anglers are pulling up scamp grouper, beeliners, triggerfish, gag grouper, and amberjacks.
Cecil, of Rod and Reel Shop, reports that anglers fishing inshore have landed 2-3 lb. flounder consistently, and some fish have pushed the 27-28” range. Live peanut pogies and mud minnows have been the top baits for the flatfish.
Redfish and black drum have also been feeding in the area. Live shrimp fished on the bottom has been the ticket to boating black drum. The redfish have been prone to feed on live mud minnows fished under floats or on Carolina rigs. Sheepshead are also feeding around area docks and structure and are most willing to take a fiddler crab as their meal.
Nearshore anglers are finding spanish right off the beach, and most spanish have been caught while trolling Clarkspoons. Kings have been scattered in the 10-15 mile range. The top baits have been Drone spoons and cigar minnows.
Kyle, of Speckulator Inshore Fishing Charters, reports that the speckled trout bite continues to be consistent, but the sizes of fish vary greatly. Most fish have been in the 2-3 lb. range, but a few citation-sized fish have ben landed in the 6-7 lb. range. The trout are most active when using live shrimp under a popping cork.
Redfish and black drum have also been feeding in the same areas as the trout. When fishing the creeks for redfish, anglers are seeing fish in the 16-20” range while using mud minnows on Carolina rigs. The black drum are also mostly in the creeks and have been feeding best on live shrimp.
Flounder have been active in the Cherry Grove and Tubbs Inlet areas. Mud minnows on Carolina rigs have been the go to rig for the flatfish. Anglers are connecting with fish in the 2-3 lb. class but have landed fish as big as 7 lbs. in these areas.
Bob, of Ocean Isle Beach Fishing Pier, reports that anglers fishing live shrimp from the pier have landed good numbers of keeper speckled trout. Those electing to fish fresh shrimp on bottom rigs have landed black drum, whiting, and undersized to just legal flounder.