Wrightsville Beach – August 31, 2017
Matt, of Tex’s Tackle, reports that fishing has been good inshore for red drum, black drum, sheepshead, ladyfish, keeper flounder, and a few nice trout.
Live bait on a Carolina rig in deeper water or under a popping cork in shallow water has been working for the red drum and flounder. Gulp shrimp and Z-Man soft plastics have been catching some flounder and reds as well. Fishing has been good closer to the inlets lately, mostly because of rain and the large amount of bait in the ocean.
Surf anglers are reporting good fishing now that there are mullet in the surf, including catches of slot and over-slot reds, black drum, croaker, sea mullet, and ladyfish. Shrimp or sand fleas have been the best baits to target multiple species.
Spanish mackerel fishing has been strong along the beach and out to 5-6 miles. There are some nice-sized fish mixed in, and slow trolling live mullet or menhaden is the best way to target the big ones. Trolling Clarkspoons behind lead weights or planers will catch numbers.
There has been consistent fishing for flounder, gray trout, and big red drum at the nearshore ARs. Drop a bucktail tipped with a Gulp, a live bait on a Carolina rig, or a Stingsilver.
Kings have been anywhere from 5-30 miles offshore. There are a lot of small fish close the beach; however, there has been a few 20 lb. and larger fish mixed in.
There’s a handful of mahi and sailfish being caught. The sailfish have been as shallow as 65′ of water, while the mahi have mostly been 100′ and deeper.
Quality gag grouper are being landed in 65′ of water and further out. Amberjack, barracuda, and various bottomfish are also being caught. The red grouper and scamp bite has been good around 40 miles and further out. Live or frozen cigar minnows, pinfish, squid, and strips of false albacore will all produce.
The fishing in the Gulf Stream has continued to improve, with blackfin, sailfish, and wahoo all biting well. Trolling with smaller plugs and small ballyhoo should produce on the blackfins. For the wahoo, go with wire rigs and medium or large ballyhoo behind Ilanders, BWC Jags, or Sea Witches.
Arlen, of Intracoastal Angler, reports that red drum fishing has been great, especially in the creeks and on the flats behind Masonboro Island.
Topwater fishing for trout early in the morning has been improving, especially in the mid-Cape Fear River and Carolina Beach areas.
Good catches of sea mullet and pompano have been reported from the Wrightsville surf, mainly on sand fleas and fresh shrimp.
The spanish bite has been on fire, with acres of fish up to 5 lbs. being reported right outside the inlet.
Flounder fishing on the nearshore wrecks and reefs has been strong, with most of the action coming on 2 oz. bucktails tipped with Gulp or heavier Carolina rigs with live mullet.
There have been several over-slot drum caught from the jetty rocks of Masonboro, mainly on the falling tide on cut bait.
King mackerel action has improved, with most fish in the 7-10 mile range. The gag grouper bite has been hit or miss, with the best results coming from 80-90’ of water. Cleaner water in the 25 mile range has resulted in decent dolphin fishing, including several fish in the 15+ lb. range.
Scamp grouper and triggerfish have made up the majority of the catch for anglers bottom fishing in the 100-120’ range, mainly on cigar minnows and sardines.
Rick, of Living Waters Guide Service, reports that wahoo fishing is getting very good, with fish from 30-50 lbs. being the average. Blackfin tuna are starting to increase in size and appear in greater numbers.
The sailfish have been very scattered, but there are good numbers of them in the water. There is also the chance of hooking a white marlin when targeting the sailfish.
Bottom fishing is good in the deep. Try the 150-250’ depths for scamps, some reds, and gag grouper. There are lots of beeliners, triggers, pinkies, and grunts as well.
Closer in, the gag grouper fishing is steady in 80-100’ of water. There are also lots of grunts, as well as some nice sea bass and pinkies.
Nearshore trolling has been good from 5-15 miles out for spanish and king mackerel.
Trevor, of ProFishNC, reports that the flounder bite is on fire, and the full moon phase is pulling the fish to the inlets.
The red drum bite has been hot as well, whether fishing near docks for slot-sized fish or off the beach on nearshore hard bottom for the larger reds.
The sailfish have been biting hard in the 23 mile range.
There are plenty of ladyfish to catch and release on topwater. They can be seen chasing the schools of finger mullet along the beach.
Speckled trout are starting to show up in better numbers in the river.
Jamie, of Seagate Charters, reports that flounder are biting in area inlets and on nearshore ocean structure. They can also be found in the ICW and creeks around the beach. Live mullet or menhaden are top producers, as well as bouncing soft plastics.
Red drum are biting cut and live baits, as well as topwater lures.
Speckled trout have been taking topwater baits (like the Heddon Spook) and soft plastics from Z-Man and Blue Water Candy, but the bite has been a little slow. Cooler weather in the weeks to come will get the trout going again.
Ladyfish have also been providing plenty of topwater action this week in the ICW.
Spanish mackerel and some king mackerel are striking Clarkspoons trolled behind planers up and down the beaches.
Warren, of Johnnie Mercer’s Pier, reports that black drum are falling for shrimp and sand fleas in the mornings and evenings. The drum are mostly slot-sized.
Redfish are being caught in the surf, hitting well on both cut and live baits.
Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and small kings are striking Gotcha plugs and diamond jigs throughout the day, but most are being caught around dawn and dusk.
Tarpon are being caught from the end of the pier. They are eating live baits (such as menhaden and bluefish) by those using a traditional king fishing set up. The tarpon can also be caught by soaking large pieces of cut bait.