Wrightsville Beach – May 11, 2017
Matt, of Tex’s Tackle, reports that inshore there has been a good number of large bluefish being caught. The fish have been in the creeks, but the majority are being caught near the inlets or just off the beach. Large topwater plugs have been working well, but almost any suspending bait or topwater will work if the blues are around.
A few anglers are reporting speckled trout; however, it’s been tough to find areas where you can get away from the bluefish. Look for fish near the inlets, boat basins, and in deeper sections of creeks. Topwater baits have been catching a few fish earlier in the day, and Z-Man Trout Tricks and PaddlerZ are good options once the sun gets up a little higher.
Smaller red and black drum are still feeding around docks and deeper holes in the creeks. Fresh dead shrimp, cut mullet, or mud minnows fished on a jig head or Carolina rig has been working. There has been some decent flounder fishing in the inlets, but the majority of the fish have been undersized. Gulp shrimp and jerk shad have been catching most of the flounder.
There have been a few decent reports of slot-sized reds cruising the flats on higher tides and then feeding around oyster reefs at lower tides.
Surf anglers are reporting sea mullet and black drum, mostly on shrimp and Fishbites. A few smaller bluefish and some small flounder have been reported as well.
Good numbers of kings and spanish mackerel have started to show up. Look for the kings to be anywhere from 3-15 miles offshore. Most of the spanish have been within 5 miles of the beach. Trolling Clarkspoons behind lead weights or planers is accounting for most fish.
Black sea bass has been good in the 10-15 mile range. Squid on a two-hook bottom rig or a 2 oz. Roscoe jig is working best. Gag grouper can be found as close as 15-20 miles offshore. If you can make it out towards the 40-50 mile range, you should start to see scamp and red grouper in addition to the gags. Live cigar minnows and pinfish are the top options, but frozen cigar minnows, squid, and strips of false albacore will also work.
Cobia are making their way to the beach. The fish will hang around the nearshore AR’s, buoys, and inlets, as well as on passing sea turtles and rays. Keep an eye out for schools of menhaden or other baitfish moving down the beach.
The wahoo and blackfin tuna bite has been decent on days that have been fishable. Try to locate structure and bait that are close to a temperature break, and continue to work the area if you catch a few fish. Weed lines are another good indicator of a current seam and will usually hold some fish.
Mahi reports have been scattered for the most part so far, but they should make a much stronger showing this month, along with some billfish. 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 topwaters, but a few are also being caught while trolling cedar plugs, green machines, and ballyhoo.
Arlen, of Intracoastal Angler, reports that topwater fishing for both red drum and trout has been good in the Cape Fear River and in areas around Figure 8. Super Spook Jr. has been the best choice.
Sheepshead are starting to show up around waterway dock pilings and bridges.
Nearshore boaters are seeing spanish mackerel in good numbers. Yo-Zuri plugs, as well as spoons and planers, are getting the bites while trolling, and Blue Water Candy jigs are getting bites while casting to surface feeding fish.
Cobia have made a showing this week, mostly around pods of menhaden and turtles. Casting bucktail jigs has produced bites, and live baits are also working.
King mackerel fishing has been strong in the 10-12 mile range.
Grouper and sea bass fishing has been good in 90’+ of water. Gulf Stream fishing has been up and down, with wahoo as the main action. Trolling ballyhoo and Sea Vixen lures are producing the best bites.
Trevor, of ProFishNC Charters, reports that king mackerel fishing has been good nearshore. Hank Brown rigs with dead cigar minnows and medium-sized Yo-Zuri plugs are getting the best results.
Spanish mackerel have shown up in decent numbers, and there has been a nice mix of fish (up to 5 lbs.). Cobia are showing up around bait schools and nearshore structure. Blue Water Candy cobia jigs with 8” glow color curly tails that have been coated in Pro-Cure is very effective on the cobia.
Red drum are feeding heavily in the grass along the marsh, with both sides of the tide producing fish. Flounder fishing has improved over the past week, as some fish are being caught from nearshore locations to back in the marsh.
Bottom fishing is producing lots of large gray trout, sea bass, and an occasional keeper gag grouper. The fish are being found inside 10 miles.
Jamie, of Seagate Charters, reports that red drum have been feeding well along the ICW and creeks surrounding area beaches. Live menhaden on Carolina rigs have produced the majority of bites.
Spanish mackerel have arrived just off the beach, and they are taking spoon and planer combinations as well as casting jigs. There are a few large bluefish in the area, but that action has slowed.
Cobia are now around, so having a Blue Water Candy cobia jig handy will improve chances of bringing these fish to the boat.
Rick, of Living Waters Guide Service, reports that offshore fishing has been great this past week. Large blackfins, wahoo, and mahi are providing most of the action. The mahi fishing will only get better in the weeks to follow.
Jigging has been good for bottom fish and amberjacks. Nearshore fishing has been productive, too, with nice-sized spanish, school kings, blues, and the occasional bonito.
Warren, of Johnnie Mercer’s Pier, reports that there have been lots of spanish mackerel in the 1.5 to 2 lb. range caught on Gotcha plugs. The bite’s been lasting all day long. School-sized bluefish are also in the mix, and a few remaining chopper blues are being hooked on live baits.
Bottom fishermen are seeing flounder, including a few 16” fish in the mix. The water temperature has held steady in the low 70s.