Wrightsville Beach – June 22, 2017
Matt, of Tex’s Tackle, reports that red drum fishing has been consistent inshore. Topwater baits have been catching some of the fish that are cruising grass lines and shallow bays, and soft plastics like the Gulp jerk shad or Z-Man EZ Shrimp rigged with little to no weight are another good option. There have also been some fish hanging around the docks, and the best tactic for them is mud minnows, cut mullet, or Gulp on a jig head fished around the pilings.
Sheepshead are being caught around local docks, and fiddler crabs are the #1 bait.
A few anglers are reporting speckled trout. The trout will hit topwater baits or shrimp imitations under a popping cork, especially early in the morning. Look for trout, as well as bluefish and ladyfish, under dock lights at night.
There has been some good flounder fishing near the inlets, as well as back in the creeks. Gulp shrimp and jerk shads have been catching some of the flounder. Fishing with live bait on a Carolina rig will also produce.
Fishing in the Cape Fear River has been steady most days. Some good-sized flounder, including a few 5+ lb. fish, have been coming in. Live menhaden are catching most of the flatfish; however, larger Gulp and Z-Man soft plastics will also work. Some speckled trout, red drum, black drum, and sheepshead have been caught in the river as well.
Surf anglers are reporting plenty of small flounder, with a few keepers mixed in. Some sea mullet, croaker, pompano, and black drum have also been biting at times. Look for more slot-sized reds to start cruising the surf. Cut mullet, menhaden, and bluefish on a fish finder rig is a good way to fish for them. Or you can use jig heads with a Gulp or Z-Man plastic to cover more water.
When the water on the beach is clear, the spanish mackerel and ladyfish can be caught on small casting jigs (ranging from 1-2 oz.). The most consistent fishing for spanish is usually on a higher tide at dawn and dusk.
The flounder fishing has been good at the nearshore ARs. Fish either a bucktail tipped with a Gulp or a live bait on a Carolina rig. There have been a few schools of spadefish seen as well. Jellyfish or clams are the best baits, but shrimp will work when they are feeding more aggressively.
Reports on the kings have been coming from 10-25 miles offshore. Most of the fish have been small, with only a handful of fish in the 15-20 lb. range. Live menhaden, cigar minnows on dead bait rigs, 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 as well.
Spanish mackerel fishing has been hit or miss. The fish are out there, but they are scattered. You may have to move around before you find them. Troll Clarkspoons behind lead weights or planers, and use smaller spoons like the 0 and 00 sizes. Casting jigs rigged with a fluorocarbon leader and fished with a very fast retrieve are great for the spanish, as well as the false albacore when they are mixed in.
There are also plenty of amberjack being caught offshore.
The grouper fishing has been good. Most anglers are going 30+ miles out for the scamps and reds, but some gag grouper can be caught closer in. Live cigar minnows and pinfish are the best options, but frozen cigar minnows, squid, and strips of false albacore will also work. Attach these baits to a Barefoot Decoy jig or just a bottom rig with a large 8/0-10/0 circle hook.
The cobia fishing has been slow. There will still be a few fish cruising around bait pods, nearshore ARs, buoys, and inlets. You can cast bucktails covered in Pro-Cure and tipped with larger Z-Man soft plastics towards fish that you have spotted or just target the typical productive areas. Bottom fishing with cut or live bait is another good option. Bluefish, pinfish, and menhaden will all work as bait.
Gulf Stream fishing has been decent. There are a lot of small blackfin being caught, while the mahi and wahoo have been scattered. Look for some blue and white marlin to be mixed in as well. A variety of baits and lures have been working. Skirted small and medium-sized ballyhoo are the #1 option, but plenty of fish have also been caught with plugs. Trident Lure Micros, BWC’s Flying Scooter, Green Machines, and cedar plugs are all good options. Keep a topwater popping rod ready if you want to throw to any schooled up fish.
Heading inshore around 200-300′, the bottom fishing has been very strong. Large triggerfish are biting cut bait and squid on bottom rigs. Pinkies and beeliners will also take the same offerings. Have another rod working a BWC Roscoe jig or a Mantis jig for red grouper and African pompano.
Trevor, of ProFishNC, reports that inshore flounder fishing has been good. Z-Man white curly tail grubs and Blue Water Candy 3/16 to 1/2 oz. jig heads with Pro-Cure is working best.
Spanish mackerel fishing has been up and down due to all the recent rains. Red drum fishing has been consistent with lots of 18-22” fish, and live menhaden and jigs are getting most of the attention from the reds.
Cobia fishing has been excellent so far this season, despite the lack of bait on the beach. Amberjack fishing has been hot with vertical jigs up to 20 miles out. There are strong numbers of jolthead porgies showing up on the bottom while fishing for sea bass, and plenty of silver snapper and flounder have been active on the nearshore reefs.
Jamie, of Seagate Charters, reports that red drum are biting well along the area beaches and around the inlets. Flounder have been feeding throughout the area, with even more fish arriving this week in the inshore waters. Live bait and topwater plugs have been working on the reds, and soft plastics from BWC and Z-Man have been catching both flounder and redfish.
Off the beach, spanish mackerel, bluefish, and false albacore have been biting on traditional trolling gear and casting jigs.
Rick, of Living Waters Guide Service, reports that there are lots of small blackfin tuna (from 3-12 lbs.) out in the Gulf Stream. There has been scattered mahi and lots of billfish in the area as well.
Bottom fishing is very good with gags, reds, and scamps, as well as for the normal assortment of grunts, pinkies, triggers, and beeliners.
Nearshore structure is holding lots of little kings and some very big spanish mackerel.
William, of Johnnie Mercer’s Pier, reports that black drum have been making a strong showing, and live shrimp on the bottom has been working the best. Flounder fishing has been good, with fish up to 18” being caught on live mud minnows.
Bluefish and spanish are showing up in the mornings on calm days when the water is clear. There have been quite a few tarpon and king sightings, but none have yet been decked this season. Look for the king and tarpon fishing to pick up once the weather settles back down.