Southport – July 6, 2017
Annette, of Dutchman Creek Bait and Tackle, reports that surf fishing has produced some speckled trout and spanish. Most trout are being landed while fishing live or fresh shrimp, and the spanish are hitting Gotcha plugs and Stingsilvers thrown from the beach.
Inshore fishing has produced steady catches of redfish and black drum. Redfish in the lower to mid-slot range have been feeding on live finger mullet fished on Carolina rigs around area docks and creek mouths. Anglers targeting black drum have had success using fresh shrimp on Carolina rigs around oyster structure in shallow water creeks and around bridge structure.
Speckled trout are hanging around and are always willing to take a live shrimp under a float rig, but those wanting to target them with artificials are having luck throwing Vudu shrimp under a popping cork. Most fish have been in the 2-3 lb. range, with a few fish pushing 4 lbs. Most of the trout are feeding near marsh lines at the higher end of the tide.
Nearshore, trolling Clarkspoons for spanish mackerel has been hit or miss, but those willing to cover some ground are finding good numbers. Targeting bait pods and nearshore structure has been the key to success.
Kings have been holding between the 10-20 mile range, and they are hitting dead cigar minnows best while trolling. Most kings have been around the 10 lb. mark.
Bottom fishing around the 20 mile range has produced grouper, black sea bass, beeliners, and porgies for those dropping cut bait to the bottom.
Jimmy, of Wildlife Bait and Tackle, reports that the flounder bite along the Southport waterfront, Cape Creek, and Cedar Creek has kept anglers busy. The bait of choice has been live finger mullet on a Carolina rig, but the flatfish have also been willing to take a Gulp or Vudu shrimp. Most fish have been in the 2-3 lb. class, but some fish weighed in have been between 6-8 lbs.
Speckled trout are still feeding well in the area, but the early morning bite has been producing the best. Anglers tossing topwater lures like Zara Spook Jrs around marsh edges have had the best luck on bigger trout (around the 5 lb. mark). Those electing to throw live shrimp under float rigs have done well landing limits of trout in the 2-3 lb. range.
Tossing topwater plugs in the morning will also land a few redfish in the 19-21” range. Gulp plastics and live minnows under float rigs also work well for the reds. Targeting oyster structure near deep channels has been the best bet for redfish.
Sheepshead and black drum are holding in good numbers in the Elizabeth River. Fresh shrimp has been the ticket for these fish. Focusing efforts on deep holes and pockets near oyster banks and shell structure seems to produce best.
Nearshore, the spanish and kings have been feeding from right of the beach to the 15 mile mark. For the spanish, trolling Clarkspoons (as well as casting Stingsilvers) near bait pods has worked well. For the kings, trolling dead cigar minnows has put the most fish in the cooler, and most kings have been between 7-15 lbs.
Tarpon have started to show up, and anglers should keep a close eye on fish migrating up the beach.
Nesbit, of The Tackle Box, reports that the inshore flounder fishing remains consistent, and anglers tossing live finger mullet on Carolina rigs have had the most success. Most fish have been between 2-3 lbs., but some fish over 5 lbs. have been landed.
Trout in the 1-4 lb. range have also been hanging around the area’s marsh points and creek mouths. Live shrimp or Vudu shrimp under popping corks has produced the highest numbers of fish, and topwater plugs have accounted for the larger fish (pushing the 5 lb. mark).
Bridge and dock structure in the waterway are holding 2-5 lb. sheepshead, and anglers dropping fiddler crabs have been finding plenty of action.
Nearshore flounder fishing has picked up from weeks past. Anglers are producing consistent limits of fish in the 16-18” range, and quite a few fish over the 20” mark have also been landed.
Out around the 15 mile range, small kings in the 5-10 lb. class have been feeding, and slow trolling live menhaden has worked best.
In the 20-25 mile range, dolphin have been willing to take a rigged ballyhoo or trolled dead cigar minnow.
Further offshore, dropping live baits has filled the coolers with keeper grouper.
Mark, of Angry Pelican Charters, reports that nearshore the king mackerel in the 8-12 lb. range and spanish over the 4 lb. mark have been feeding well. Finding the cleaner water outside of the river mouth and pulling large Clarkspoons has worked best.
Bait pods near the beach are holding a variety of fish. Bluefish, cobia, and tarpon have all been spotted feeding near these pods, and tossing topwater plugs and Stingsilvers has kept anglers busy with the blues.
Shark fishing near the mouth of the Cape Fear River continues to provide plenty of action for those drift fishing. Live baits with bright colored skirts have helped increase the amount of strikes, as it helps a bait stand out from the others.
Wally, of Oak Island Charters, reports that anglers targeting flounder inshore have recently landed good numbers of fish on live finger mullet on Carolina rigs. Red drum have also been mixed in with the flounder, and a majority of the fish have been in the 18-23” range.
The nearshore spanish bite remains steady, and those trolling Clarkspoons have landed fish in the 2-4 lb. range. Trolling around bait pods and nearshore structure has been the key to boxing high numbers of spanish.
Ryan, of Fugitive Charters, reports that the nearshore spanish bite has heated up, and 0 and 00 Clarkspoons on #1 planers have been the ticket. Landing spanish over 20” has not been uncommon just off the beach, and larger bluefish and a few small kings have been mixed in as well.
Fishing chunk baits behind the shrimp boats has provided anglers with fast-paced action on spinner and blacktip sharks.
Out to the 20-30 mile range, kings in the 5-8 lb. class are plentiful and are mixed in with a few mahi and spanish. Some of the recent spanish have hit the 7 lb. mark. Trolling Big Nic Mackahoos and dead cigar minnows has been the key to filling the boxes.
Bottom fishing in the 35-45 mile range has produced good number of black sea bass ( 18-19”). Triggerfish and beeliners have also been willing to take a piece of cut bait dropped to the bottom.
Dave, of Ocean Crest Pier, reports that flounder, croaker, speckled trout, sheepshead, and whiting have all been willing to take fresh shrimp fished on the bottom. Some of the speckled trout have been in the 2-3 lb. range, and a few of the sheepshead have passed the 4 lb. mark.
Anglers fishing cut bait from the pier are also hooking up with plenty of sharks and rays.
Those tossing Gotcha plugs are catching a few spanish, with some spanish pushing the 4 lb. mark.