Topsail – March 23, 2017
Brittany, of East Coast Sports, reports that anglers in the surf are catching sea mullet and blow toads on two hook bottom rigs baited with fresh shrimp. The fishing has been better during high tide periods.
A few skates and stingrays are biting shrimp, along with other cut bait. There have been some small black drum landed, with a few keepers mixed in. Towards the inlets, look for red drum to be biting cut bait, such as fresh shrimp .
Bluefish are beginning to show up, and once the water temperature begins to rise, there should be more caught. Cut mullet fished on the bottom is very effective for the blues.
Inshore anglers are reporting black drum and speckled trout. The drum are hanging around man-made structure and oyster beds in the creek areas. Fresh shrimp on simple bottom and Carolina rigs are getting the bites from the black drum.
Red drum are being found in similar areas as the black drum. They will also take fresh shrimp and scented soft plastics this time of year.
Look for more red drum to arrive back in the marsh once the water temperatures being to rise.
Speckled trout fishing has remained good this winter, and the fishing should only improve as spring arrives. Scented soft plastics by Z-Man and Gulp fished on jigheads are great choices for trout right now. MirrOlure MR17’s and 18’s are also accounting for hookups on the trout.
The weather has kept offshore anglers at the dock recently, but once the weather settles, look for some action from the nearshore structure out to the Gulf Stream. Nearshore boaters should see good numbers of black sea bass on the bottom just outside the inlet out to 90’+ of water. The larger fish will likely be found in the deeper areas. In the same areas the bass are being found, anglers should also see some grunts, porgies, and tautogs.
Gulf Stream boaters will find decent wahoo fishing this time of year out towards the break. Blackfin tuna will be scattered in the same areas and out deeper. Skirted ballyhoo and lures will get most of the action form the wahoo and blackfins.
Chadwick, of South End Anglers, reports that speckled trout fishing has been good around some of the creeks west of the ICW. Deeper zones and areas with darker mud bottoms have been holding the majority of fish. Look for the trout to move from the deeper areas up on the flats during warm spells and during the middle portion of the day.
The trout have also been holding around some waterway docks and canals throughout the area. The best docks have been the ones that have deeper water and that are away from heavy current. Once the water warms, look for the fish to become more widespread.
The trout have been falling for a variety of Z-Man plastics, such as Swimming Trout Tricks, PaddlerZ, and MinnowZ. Pro-Cure bait scents and 1/8 oz. Fathom jigheads are working well with the soft plastics. Betts Halo Shad, 1/4 oz., retrieved slowly along the bottom are also accounting for hookups from the trout.
Red and black drum are feeding around oyster beds and waterways docks. The reds have mostly been undersized to lower-slot sized fish. Fresh cut shrimp on Carolina rigs and 3/0 circle hooks have been working best on the drum.
Bluefish are beginning to make their return to the marsh, and so far there has been a decent mix of 3+ lb. fish. They are taking the same offerings as the trout, and red drum are also falling for cut bluefish fished on the bottom.
Jim, of Plan 9 Charters, reports that bluefish have recently made a showing in the inlets, chasing baits intended for trout and red drum. Sea bass are on the reefs and ledges from just offshore on out.
Closer to shore, the sea bass have mostly been short. Larger fish are showing 15+ miles out, and grunts and porgies are being found in the same areas. Nearshore areas have been producing tautog and sheepshead.
False albacore are in the 20 mile range, and they should stay around until the bonito begin to arrive in April.
Mike, of Native Son Guide Service, reports that sight fishing for red drum has been good recently. There have been numbers of fish showing up on the lower end of the slot.
Trout fishing seems to be getting better by the day. The fish are still in their winter patterns, and the fishing should improve this month as we get closer to the full moon.
Atlantic bonito should make their appearance the first week of April, but don’t be surprised if it happens earlier this year. The baitfish migration will dictate their arrival.
Flounder are being found in the 90’ range, and once the water begins to rise, they will move closer to shore.
Robin, of Jolly Roger Pier, reports that blow toads and sea mullet are being caught on two hook bottom rigs baited with shrimp. During the warmer weather there were a few bluefish showing up. There haven’t been any during this recent cold snap, but the fishing will improve once the water temperatures begin to rise.
Vinita, of Surf City Pier, reports that sea mullet, blow toads, small flounder, and a few black drum are being caught. A 2.47 lb. drum was caught over the weekend, and the black drum fishing will continue to improve over the next few weeks.
Fresh shrimp on bottom rigs is working best for the mixed bag of bottom fish.
Frank, of Seaview Fishing Pier, reports that anglers are having great success with sea mullet. Some folks are catching 40-50 fish during their outings. Blow toads are also being caught while targeting sea mullet. Fresh cut shrimp on two hook bottom rigs are fooling the fish.
There have also been skates and a few sting rays caught at night.