Wrightsville Beach – July 6, 2017
Matt, of Tex’s Tackle, reports that the red drum and flounder fishing has been solid inshore around creek mouths and steep grass banks. A good way to target both species is live mullet or mud minnows on a Carolina rig. Anglers can also try Z-Man PaddlerZ or Gulp jerk shads rigged on a jig head or a weighted worm hook. There have also been some reds and flounder hanging around the docks, and for these fish it’s best to use mud minnows, mullet, or Gulp on a jig head to fish around the pilings.
Sheepshead and black drum are being caught around local docks and bridges. Fiddler crabs and sand fleas are good choices for bait.
Look for trout, as well as bluefish and ladyfish, under dock lights at night.
Surf anglers are reporting small flounder, with a few keepers mixed in. Look for some slot-sized reds and small pompano to start cruising the surf. Cut mullet on a fish finder rig is a good way to fish for drum and bluefish, or you can use shrimp or sand fleas to target a larger variety of fish.
Nearshore, the flounder fishing has been good at the ARs. Fish either a bucktail tipped with a Gulp or a live bait on a Carolina rig.
Reports on the kings have been coming from 5-25 miles offshore. The fish closer to shore have been small, with only a handful of fish in the 15-20+ lb. range. Live menhaden, cigar minnows on dead bait rigs, Drone spoons, and Yo-Zuri Deep Divers have been catching most of the kings. A few sailfish and mahi have been caught in the 15-30-mile range.
Spanish mackerel fishing has picked back up. The fish have been near the inlets, with some citation-sized fish being caught within 3 miles out. Troll Clarkspoons (use smaller #0 and #00 sizes) behind lead weights or planers or cast jigs rigged with a fluorocarbon leader to catch both spanish and false albacore.
The grouper fishing has been good 30+ miles out for the scamps and reds, but some gag grouper can be caught closer to shore. Live cigar minnows and pinfish are the best options, but frozen cigar minnows, squid, and strips of false albacore also work.
The cobia fishing has been slow lately, but a lot of anglers have been seeing tarpon in the area.
Gulf Stream fishing has been okay. There are some small blackfin being caught, along with a handful of mahi. There are also a few wahoo around.
Marlin or sailfish are a possibility, but they haven’t been around in great numbers. Small and medium-sized ballyhoo skirted with a Sea Witch or Ilander are the #1 option.
Heading inshore (around 200-300′), the bottom fishing has been very strong, with large triggerfish, pinkies, and beeliners biting cut bait and squid on bottom rigs.
Arlen, of Intracoastal Angler, reports that red drum are being caught in the waterways around docks using live minnows. Then during high tide, the reds are on the back end of Masonboro and Lee islands and can be hooked using Gulp jerk baits and Rapala Skitter Walks.
Flounder fishing is good inshore in and around the creeks, with fish being caught on live bait and Gulp soft plastics.
Sheepshead are regularly taking fiddler crabs and sand fleas around bridges and pylons.
In the inlets, large red drum are being caught on cut bait fished on bottoms rigs, with fish over 40” reported.
Tarpon have been seen in the inlet and cruising the beaches.
Spanish mackerel numbers have been good, despite the dirty water, with anglers catching fish trolling #0 and #00 Clarkspoons and spanish daisy chains. Most of the fish are being found in 30-40’.
Kings are being caught in the 10-20 mile range, with cigar minnows as the primary bait.
Clearer water in the 25 mile range is producing dolphin and sailfish, with anglers catching both on trolled ballyhoo.
Bottom fishing offshore in 80-90’ water is producing gag grouper and sea bass on live bait and Blue Water Candy Roscoe jigs. In 110’ water, anglers are catching triggerfish and scamp and red grouper.
Gulf Stream fishing has been slow. A few gaffer dolphin and billfish have been reported.
Rick, of Living Waters Guide Service, reports that bottom fishing has been producing gag, red, and scamp grouper, accompanied by an assortment of the usual suspects (pinkies, triggerfish, and beeliners). All of the bottom fish are taking jigs, rigs tipped with squid, and live cigar minnows.
Offshore, there are plenty of small blackfins (in the 3-12 lb. range), a chance of mahi, and billfish that are taking Sea Vixen lures on the troll.
Trevor, of ProFishNC, reports that inlets have been very productive with larger flounder.
As the amount of bait has begun to grow, the number of drum being caught on live mullet and menhaden around the docks will increase.
Offshore, lots of smaller king mackerel are around, as well as spanish mackerel (some citation-sized), and all are within 10 miles.
The bottom fishing has been better than in recent years and is producing coolers full of flounder, porgies, sea bass, grunts, triggerfish, and many other reef species.
Jamie, of Seagate Charters, reports that spanish and some smaller king mackerel are biting well up and down the beach area. Traditional Clarkspoons and planers, as well as casting jigs such as Blue Water Candy Slingshot and Double Shot rigs, have been producing solid catches.
Some cobia are still being found around the ARs and nearshore live bottom areas.
Red drum are biting well throughout the area, and they can be taken on live bait (such as finger mullet and menhaden), as well as a variety of artificial baits (such as plastics from Z-Man and topwater plugs like the Rapala Skitter Walk).
Flounder are also on the feed, and they can be found everywhere from nearshore ARs to oyster rocks back in the creeks.
Warren, of Johnnie Mercers Pier, reports that bluefish and spanish mackerel (in the 2-6 lb. range) are being caught, with smaller fish hitting Gotcha plugs and the larger spanish taking live bait fished on king rigs.
Bottom fishing has been producing flounder in the breakers. They are taking Gulp shrimp and live mud minnows on Carolina rigs. Pinfish and croakers are also being caught on cut bait and shrimp fished on bottom rigs.
Smaller kings (in the 20-26” range) are being caught from the end of the pier.