Fish Post

Wrightsville Beach – April 13, 2017

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Matt, of Tex’s Tackle, reports that there has been some nice-sized speckled trout being caught. Anglers have been reporting fish near the inlets, boat basins, and in deeper sections of creeks. Z-Man Trout Tricks and PaddlerZ have been catching a lot of these fish. Billy Bay Halo Shads and MR17s have been producing fish as well. Light fluorocarbon leaders, Pro-Cure, and lightweight jigheads will increase your chances.

A few groups of red and black drum are still feeding around docks and deeper holes in the creeks. Fresh dead shrimp, cut mullet, or mud minnows fished either on a Blue Water Candy jighead or Carolina rig will produce bites if the fish are there. Look for some schools of reds to start to move to the flats on higher tides.

Some flounder are starting to be caught inshore, including a handful of keepers.

A few chopper blues are being caught on large cut bait, topwater plugs, and swimbaits in the creeks and waterway.

Surf anglers are reporting good catches of blow toads, sea mullet, and black drum, mostly on shrimp and Fishbites in shrimp flavor. A few bluefish and some small flounder have been reported. This time of year a big 5+ lb. bluefish can be caught at any time, and typically they aren’t picky. Large Hopkins spoons, topwater plugs, or cut bait should get a bite.

Good numbers of false albacore and Atlantic bonito have been showing in the 8-10 mile range. Scattered fish have made it into the 3-5 mile range, but bigger schools could arrive any day now. Trolling #1 Clarkspoons behind a #1 or #2 planer or lead trolling weight is one of the best ways to catch these fish. Yo-Zuri Deep Divers are also very effective. Look for birds and suspended bait marks, as a lot of times the fish will be very close to natural ledges and artificial reefs. They can also be caught casting Shore Lures, epoxy jigs, and Stingsilvers.

Fishing for black sea bass has been good in the 10-15 mile range. Squid on a two hook bottom rig is a safe bet, but the fish can also be caught on a number of artificials such as bucktails tipped with Gulp, Hopkins spoons, and the 2 oz. Roscoe jigs.

Some smaller king mackerel have moved into the 18-25 mile range, but the bigger fish are still 30-40 miles out. Natural ledges and live bottoms are good places to start trolling dronespoons or dead baits such as bonita strips or cigar minnows. These fish will start to make their way inshore throughout April, typically once the water warms to 66-68 degrees.

In the Gulf Stream, the wahoo bite has been strong on days that have been fishable. Trolling ballyhoo behind Blue Water Candy Jags and Ilanders has accounted for most of the wahoo. Blackfin tuna have been reported both on jigs and topwater, but they are also being caught while trolling cedar plugs, green machines, and ballyhoo. A few scattered mahi have been reported as well as a few sailfish. Anglers dropping to the bottom with bait or vertical jigs have been catching African pompano, amberjacks, pink snapper, and triggerfish.

Jack Bigoness with a 36” bluefish that bit a MirrOlure while trolling in a kayak. The fish was landed in Pages Creek from a kayak.

Trevor, of ProFishNC Charters, reports that a few bonito have started to show off the beach. The bite has been scattered, but look for the bite to improve in the next week or two.

Black sea bass and jolthead porgies are being hooked in the 1-8 mile range. “Big head” bluefish have shown up in the backwaters. The blues are falling for cut bait and whole frozen mullet on wire leaders, with the average at 8-15 lbs.

Red and black drum are now into their spring feeding patterns and are beginning to take an interest in artificials and shrimp.

Gray trout have shown up in great numbers around nearshore structure and the inlets. The grays are falling for Z-Man curly tails on 3/8 oz. pink Blue Water Candy jigheads.

False albacore are holding in the 5-10 mile range and are being hooked mostly on Yo-Zuri Deep Divers trolled at 8-9 knots.

Blake Crumpler (age 13), of Rocky Point, with a false albacore caught while trolling off Wrightsville Beach.

Jamie, of Seagate Charters, reports that speckled trout, flounder, and slot-size red drum have been biting all week around Wrightsville Beach. Topwater plugs like the Xcalibur Spook and Rapala Skitterwalk have been getting results. Soft plastics from Blue Water Candy and Z-Man are also getting attention from these fish.

Chopper bluefish have invaded the creeks around Wrightsville Beach and are falling for the same offerings.

The first bonitos have arrived at the nearshore structure off Wrightsville. Casting jigs and trolling Rapala X-Raps have been getting the bonitos to bite. Clarkspoons with planers will also bring bonitos to the boat.

In the coming weeks, anglers should bring larger-sized spinning outfits with a cobia jig at the ready. It will soon be the time that they can appear by the boat while fishing nearshore structure.

Holden Lee, of Raleigh, with a black drum that fell for shrimp in a sound near Figure Eight Island.

Lynn, of Shearwater Charters, reports that bluefish have shown up in good numbers along the beach. Metal jigs, planers, and spoons are getting the bluefish. King mackerel have been biting this week starting in the 20 mile range, with dronespoons and planers getting the bites.

Wahoo and blackfin tuna are being found up and down the Gulf Stream break. Cedar plugs and skirted ballyhoo have been fooling the tuna, and the wahoo have been eating ballyhoo behind a planer.

Luke Moser, of Wilmington, with a 26” black drum that hit fresh shrimp in the Wrightsville Beach surf.

Warren, of Johnny Mercer’s Pier, reports that bluefish are beginning to show up in decent numbers, and most anglers are getting them on white Gotcha plugs. There are flounder showing up daily, with a mix of both small and keeper fish coming over the rail.

In addition to a few remaining blow toads, the sea mullet have made a showing. They are both falling for fresh shrimp on two hook bottom rigs.

The water temperature has been hovering around 60 degrees.