Southport – April 27, 2017
Jimmy, of Wildlife Bait & Tackle, reports that the big blues (in the 7-15 lb. range) are still around. Anglers are connecting with them in multiple locations, including in the surf on cut bait, out on Yaupon Reef, and on the shoals.
The big red drum are also on the reefs and in the surf. Several citations have been written in the past week, and most anglers are hooking the fish with cut mullet or live mud minnows on the bottom.
The speckled trout bite has been good, with artificials being the go-to to hook the fish. Throw curly tailed grubs or artificial shrimp like DOA, Billy Bay, or Gulp, though a few anglers have also had luck with mud minnows either on a Carolina rig or under a cork.
Anglers have hooked sheepshead around the ADM pier, with fiddler crabs or barnacles pulled off from the pier being the best way to connect with these crustacean lovers. Fish in the 4-5 lb. range have been reported.
Black drum are being landed in the Elizabeth River and the Davis Canal using frozen sand fleas and shrimp on a two-drop bottom rig.
If the seas lay down, anglers are having luck with early season spanish mackerel. A few have been landed on Gotcha plugs from the piers, and those out in the ocean have been trolling Clarkspoons to connect with the mackerel.
Angie, of Dutchman Creek Bait and Tackle, reports that anglers are still catching the big chopper blues from the surf and the pier.
There are whiting around in the surf, and small croakers are starting to show up.
Nearshore, anglers are finding bonito and reds on the reefs.
Offshore, those dropping to the bottom are connecting with black sea bass, and trolling is producing wahoo and some early season mahi.
Mark, of Angry Pelican, reports that inshore the whiting bite in the mouth of the Cape Fear River continues to be solid, with fresh shrimp and squid connecting anglers to fish.
Water temperatures are pushing close to 70 degrees along the beach, and the shark fishing is picking up.
There have been a few cobia sightings so far this year, but there isn’t much size to the fish yet.
The large chopper bluefish can be found around schools of bait from the inlets to the nearshore reefs. Stingsilvers and Clarkspoons will draw strikes from the big fish.
Offshore in the 20+ mile range, the black sea bass and king mackerel bite has been steady, with bottom fish falling for standard rigs tipped with squid.
Shane, of Fin-Fisher Charters, reports that the peanut pogies have moved back into the area and have turned on the bite for quite a few species.
The flounder are hitting the small bait fish, with keeper-sized flatfish now moving back into area waters.
The speckled trout and red drum will also fall for peanut pogies, rigged on a Carolina rig, but both species are now actively hitting topwater lures. Use MirrOlure Top Dawgs to connect with both species, with the reds being medium-slot fish.
The black drum bite has been hot, with fresh cut shrimp on a Carolina rig being the ticket.
Wally, of Oak Island Charters, reports that anglers are catching keeper-sized black and red drum in the creeks on fresh shrimp.
The king mackerel have returned around 15 miles out, and slow trolling dead/frozen cigar minnows should connect with the kings.
Black sea bass and snapper are biting 20 miles offshore, with cut bait and fresh shrimp both tempting bites from the bottom feeders.
Ryan, of Fugitive Charters, reports that the king mackerel are starting to show up on the beach and nearshore, and spanish are moving in from the south. Troll Clarkspoons to connect with the spanish.
A little further offshore past the spanish, Atlantic bonito are mixed in with the bluefish and will also take trolled Clarkspoons.
The warmer waters should kick off the mahi bite any day now.
Vance, of Ocean Crest Pier, reports that anglers are connecting with blues, including the chopper-sized fish. A 44 lb. king mackerel hit the planks recently, and the black drum action has been good for those dropping down, with fish weighing in at over 4 lbs. being brought over the rails.