Wrightsville Beach – August 17, 2017
Matt, of Tex’s Tackle, reports that inshore fishing has been good for redfish and flounder, with a few trout mixed in. Docks, creek mouths, flats, and grass banks near deeper channels can all be good depending on the cycle of the tide. Live bait on a Carolina rig or under a popping cork is always a good choice, but Gulp shrimp and Z-Man soft plastics have also been catching fish.
Black drum and sheepshead are hanging around docks and bridges, and fiddler crabs work well for both.
Surf anglers are reporting slot-sized reds, black drum, croaker, sea mullet, and a few pompano. Fresh shrimp and sand fleas have been the best all-around baits, but cut mullet on a fish finder rig is a good way to target red drum, bluefish, and smaller sharks.
Spanish fishing has been good within a few miles of the beach, with some nice-sized fish in the mix. Troll smaller Clarkspoons behind lead weights or planers to target the spanish.
There’s been good fishing for flounder and big red drum at the nearshore AR’s. Try a bucktail tipped with Gulp, a live bait on a Carolina rig, or a Stingsilver.
A few cobia are being caught around bait balls just off the beach.
Kings are in the 10-30 mile range. There are a lot of small fish around, but the quality should start to improve very soon. There’s a few mahi and sailfish biting in that range as well. Live bait is a great option, and cigar minnows or ballyhoo on dead bait rigs will also work. Some boats are having success with Drone spoons and Yo-Zuri Deep Divers.
Gag grouper are being caught offshore in 80-100′ of water, along with amberjack, barracuda, and various bottom fish. The red and scamp bite has been solid in the 40+ mile range. Live cigar minnows and pinfish are the best options, but dead cigar minnows, squid, and strips of false albacore also work.
Gulf Stream fishing has picked up, with larger blackfin and a decent wahoo bite. Trolling with small plugs and small ballyhoo should produce blackfins, and pulling a spreader bar or daisy chain is a good way to attract their attention to the surface.
Wire rigs and medium to large ballyhoo behind Ilanders and sea witches work best for the wahoo. A planer or at least a large diving plug running below the rest of the spread is also valuable.
Arlen, of Intracoastal Angler, reports that red drum have been biting well along docks and on the flats behind Masonboro and Figure 8 islands. Reds up to 30″ have been caught, and the best producers have been topwaters and weed-less soft plastics.
Flounder fishing has been strong, mainly along deeper marsh banks and behind the inlets.
Sheepshead (up to 8 lbs.) have been reported from the area’s bridges and bulkheads, with a lot of fish coming from the Snow’s Cut area.
Spanish fishing nearshore remains steady despite the rain; however, the dirtier water has pushed the best action about 1-2 miles off the beach.
Fishing on the nearshore wrecks and reefs has been quite good. Strong numbers of keeper flounder are being caught, mainly on Spro bucktails paired with Gulp trailers. Anglers fishing the reefs and wrecks south of Masonboro Inlet are reporting good catches of gray trout (some up to 4 lbs.).
Tarpon have continued to be reported, mainly south of Carolina Beach.
Kings, dolphin, and a few sailfish are being caught in the 10-20 mile range, but the bite has been sporadic.
The wrecks in 90+’ of water have been holding African pompano for anglers using live bait. Bottom fishing in the 40-45 mile range is producing grouper action, mainly for those using cigar minnows.
Gulf Stream fishing has improved within the past week, with good catches of wahoo, along with a few sailfish and white marlin. Most of the action has come on skirted ballyhoo, and the bite has been the best from the Nipple to the north.
Rick, of Living Waters Guide Service, reports that offshore is getting better every week. The wahoo are back on the break in good numbers, blackfin tuna are getting bigger, and there are still good numbers of sailfish.
Bottom fishing is great in the 120-300’ range for scamps, reds, and gags, as well as pinkies, beeliners, and triggerfish.
Nearshore has been consistent for kings and a few mahi (in 80-100’ of water), and spanish on the beach have been both plentiful and large (in 25-40’ of water).
Trevor, of ProFishNC, reports that the redfish bite is on fire, both inshore and off the beach.
The flounder have been chewing well on both artificial and live bait. Using larger baits has been limiting the number of short fish.
Shark fishing has been producing steady action, and the best tactic is heavy gear paired with big baits (like false albacore).
Gray trout are chewing hard off the beach. Drifting cut mullet or jigging diamond jigs on the nearshore structure should produce plenty of bites.
Jamie, of Seagate Charters, reports that spanish fishing has been excellent outside area inlets.
Flounder fishing is also going well, but heavy rains have colored the water which in turn pushes flounder closer to inlets or areas of higher salinity and cleaner water.
Red drum are biting throughout the area, and live menhaden or finger mullet are great choices for the reds.
Speckled trout have been taking an interest in topwaters and soft plastics.
Warren, of Johnnie Mercer’s Pier, reports that black drum in the 2-6 lb. range are biting well in the early mornings. To target these fish, use fresh cut shrimp and sand fleas on Carolina rigs.
Spanish are being caught off the end of the pier on Gotcha plugs and other jigs.
Bottom fishing has been producing some whiting and a few ribbonfish.