Sarah Gagliardo

Swansboro – April 13, 2017

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Rich, of The Reel Outdoors, reports that sea mullet have been biting well off the beach, and anglers are finding bluefish and pufferfish mixed in. Throw shrimp or cut bait in the surf to connect with these species.

The drum are starting to move in the backwater, and the fish will respond to topwater and jerk shads. The reds are still in large schools, and anglers can expect in-slot and over-slot fish.

There are a few speckled trout being caught in the river, but the numbers have diminished as the waters have warmed. Those looking to connect with specks should use Trout Tricks or shrimp under a popping cork.

There haven’t been any flounder reported yet, but those looking for the early season flatfish should head out to the ARs and drop down lures like Spro bucktails.

Off the beach, the false albacore have returned, offering action for anglers in the area.

Offshore in the Gulf Stream, anglers are finding both wahoo and yellowfin tuna. Be prepared to head more than 50 miles out, past Big Rock, for the good bite. High speed trolling Blue Water Candy or Fathom rigs with ballyhoo should connect you with both species.

Matt Andrews, of Jacksonville, with a wahoo caught near the Swansboro Hole aboard “The Fish Reaper.” The ‘hoo fell for a black and blue Ilander.

Matt, of Pogie’s Fishing Center, reports that the red drum are still schooled up, but they are starting to break apart, allowing anglers to target individual fish. Weedless is the way to go, using Gulp, Zoom, or Z-Man Paddlerz. It’s also a good idea to supplement everything with Pro-Cure in blue crab scent.

The trout bite is starting to pick up. Most fish are undersized, but there are larger fish mixed in. Topwater is the way to go when targeting the specks.

The black drum bite isn’t what it was, but targeting deep holes with a Carolina rig and shrimp will still tempt some bites.

The flounder are moving back into the area, and anglers have reported hooking the flatfish when targeting reds.

Zach Belmonti, of Flint, MI, with a 10 lb. bluefish landed on a 3” Gulp shrimp in 3’ of water near Bear Inlet. He was fishing with Capt. Rob Koraly of Sandbar Safari.

Rob, of Sandbar Safari Charters, reports that redfish are schooled up on the flats in the bays and marshes. They have been picking up on Zoom flukes on light jigheads, as well as cut bait and live mud minnows.

The bluefish have moved in to area waters, with 1-3 lb. blues in the inlet and marsh channels anytime the current is moving. Work heavier jigheads with soft plastic quickly to connect with these fish.

There have been some bigger 10-12 lb. blues in the creeks and closer to the flats and marshes, and they are mostly singled out by themselves instead of schooled up

The sea mullet and gray trout are starting to sprinkle in the inlets and waterways. Use vertical jigs and Fishbites on bottom rigs to land both species.

Flounder are scattered around the sound, creek mouths, and inlets. Though mostly on the smaller side, there should be a keeper flatfish every once in a while. Target the flatfish with live mud minnows and soft plastics.

The bonito haven’t quite shown yet. They are expected any day, with false albacore mixed in. Bluefish, sea bass, and gray trout are hanging on the nearshore reefs, as well as tautaugs. Jig bucktails and Stingsilvers to connect, but target the taugs with crustaceans.

Dustan Tilley with a 6 lb. speckled trout caught and released in the New River on a jerk bait. He was fishing with Capt. Mike Taylor of Taylor Made Charters.

Johnathan, of On Point Charters, reports that red drum fishing continues to be good for anglers, and they should be able to sight fish for reds on the flats. The drum are currently favoring Gulp jerk shads and shrimp, and anglers can expect mid- to upper-slot sized fish, with a few larger fish mixed in.

Trout are still around, and the fishing is getting better as the waters warm. Those looking to target the specks should throw Gulp jerk shads or MirrOlure MR17s.

Large chopper bluefish have moved into the area and will eat just about anything, but anglers need to remember to use wire leader to avoid being cut off.

Patrick Green, of Maury, NC, with a 29” redfish that fell for a Gulp shrimp near the Emerald Isle Bridge.

Bobby, of Teezher Charters, reports that the surf has been quiet, with sea mullet and bluefish being the primary catch. False albacore have shown up, and bonito have been reported south.

Nearshore bottom fishing has been great, with anglers reporting black sea bass and flounder.

Offshore, those dropping to the bottom have connected with triggerfish and black sea bass.

The Gulf Stream is holding wahoo (citation-sized), along with blackfin and yellowfin tuna. A few sailfish have also been released. Anglers should target areas from Big Rock to Swansboro Hole.

 

Mike, of Bogue Inlet Pier, reports that anglers are catching mostly sea mullet and blowfish during evening hours. A few black drum have also been pulled over the rails, and those hitting the planks should use shrimp to connect with the fish.