Topsail – July 20, 2017
Carson, of East Coast Sports, reports that in the surf (and on the local piers) anglers are catching good numbers of black drum. The best way to target the black drum is two-hook bottom rigs tipped with shrimp. Surf anglers are also reporting catches of red drum that are falling for cut bait on Carolina rigs.
Inshore, good numbers of redfish are being caught (with a few speckled trout mixed in) in the early mornings and evenings. The reds are being landed by tossing Gulp shrimp around grass lines, docks, and oyster beds. Live shrimp and finger mullet have also been landing good numbers of reds, as well as a steady black drum bite.
Nearshore, flounder are continuing to be caught by jigging bucktails tipped with Gulp around the ARs and other structure. Black sea bass are also being caught using this method.
Offshore, mahi are being landed in the 10-20 mile range. Good numbers can be caught while trolling skirted ballyhoo. King mackerel are being landed further offshore in the 23+ mile range.
Grouper and grunts have been feeding well. The grunts are being caught on bottom rigs tipped with squid or cut bait, and the gag grouper are falling for Roscoe jigs, live bait, and dead bait.
In the Gulf Stream, anglers are connecting with mahi while trolling skirted ballyhoo. Bottom fishing in the deeper water is producing tilefish and red grouper.
Chadwick, of South End Anglers, reports that red drum fishing has been excellent along waterway docks and oyster beds throughout the marsh. The fish have been biting topwater plugs around sunrise and sunset. Live and cut menhaden fished on Carolina rigs, though, has produced the most consistent action throughout the day.
Flounder fishing has been decent inshore. Most of the action has been with undersized fish, but each trip is producing a few keepers. Live finger mullet and 3-5” menhaden are how most of the flounder are being caught. Fathom Inshore jigs scented with Pro-Cure will also fill coolers.
Night fishing around lit docks will produce a variety of species, such as ladyfish, speckled trout, bluefish, and redfish. Tossing MirrOlure MR17s, Fathom Inshore jigs, and live shrimp are all productive offerings.
Trolling with a planer and spoon setup has been producing catches of spanish, bluefish, false albacore, and undersized king mackerel.
Bottom fishing in the 8-16 mile range is producing sea bass, grunts, porgies, and the occasional keeper gag grouper. Squid baits and frozen cigar minnows are accounting for the most hookups.
Amberjacks are biting well around structure starting in the 8 mile range. Fishing live menhaden, flat fall jigs, poppers, and Z-Man plastics can all prompt a strike.
Mike, of Native Son Guide Service, reports that spanish mackerel are biting nicely off the beach. More fish are coming from #2 planer and Clarkspoon setups, but larger fish are being caught with #00 Clarkspoons and 2 oz. trolling weights.
Those seeking sizeable king mackerel can find them in around 65’ of water. The kings should move closer to the beach in the coming weeks.
Flounder fishing has been hit or miss, with the bigger fish being found nearshore around live bottoms. Inshore, the flounder have been in their usual spots—under docks and in creek drains.
Drum fishing has been spotty at best. Plan to cover a lot of ground to find the reds, and the best chances have been using artificials such as Z-Man soft plastics.
Jim, of Plan 9 Charters, reports that spanish mackerel fishing has been great. The spanish are averaging 14-18”, and some are pushing 6 lbs. Mixed in with the spanish are false albacore and bullet tuna. All are being caught on Clarkspoons trolled throughout the water column and by casting small jigs.
King mackerel are biting 5-15 miles offshore. The kings are being caught on spoons and Yo-Zuri deep divers, but bigger fish are biting cigar minnows on dead bait rigs. Mahi are being found mixed in with the kings in the 10-20 mile range.
Robbie, of Jolly Roger Pier, reports that anglers are having the most luck targeting black drum in the early morning. The drum are being landed on bottom rigs and Carolina rigs tipped with shrimp. A few red drum have also been caught on shrimp, but most of the reds are being caught on cut and live bait.
A few flounder have been landed on live mud minnows and finger mullet, but the fishing has been slow.
Bluefish and spanish fishing has been slow, too.
On the end of the pier, tarpon have been seen rolling.
Ed, of Surf City Pier, reports that black and red drum are being caught. The black drum are taking shrimp fished off the bottom and have averaged 3-5 lbs. Red drum are biting cut bait on Carolina rigs.
A lot of little pompano have been caught by those targeting spot, whiting, and croaker.
Flounder fishing has been hit or miss, with good numbers of keeper fish eluding most, but some have limited out in a few hours.
Fishing for spanish and bluefish has been very spotty, with the water clarity to blame.
Off the end of the pier, tarpon have been landed by those fishing menhaden on king rigs.
Tyler, of Seaview Pier, reports that anglers are catching good numbers of black drum fishing baits (primarily live and dead shrimp) right behind the breakers. A few red drum have been caught by those fishing cut and live baits in the same areas as the black drum.
Flounder fishing has been slow, but those seeking to catch them should use a live finger mullet on a Carolina rig.
Spanish fishing has also been slow. A few are coming from Gotcha plugs, but the bigger spanish have come from fishing menhaden on king rigs.
Tarpon are continuing to be seen rolling off the end of the pier.