Wrightsville Beach – September 14, 2017
Matt, of Tex’s Tackle, reports that inshore anglers are consistently pulling in red and black drum, sheepshead, bluefish, and speckled trout, along with several ladyfish. Most of the fish have been found in deeper channels near the inlets and around ICW docks with deep water and good current flow. Live bait on a Carolina rig has been producing fish around structure, while Gulp shrimp, Z-Man soft plastics, and Rapala X-Raps have been great for covering more water. Topwater baits will work for the drum, and the same is true for trout.
After sunrise, Zoom Super Flukes and MirrOlure MR17’s have been attracting the trout, while live menhaden and mullet have been landing some flounder and slot reds.
Surf anglers have been happy thanks to a strong bluefish bite, mixed with plenty of slot and over-slot red drum, black drum, croaker, pompano, and sea mullet. Sand fleas and fresh shrimp have been landing the most fish.
Surface trolling lures (like the Blue Water Candy spanish daisy and mackerel tree rig) have been working well for spanish along the beach. The nearshore ARs have seen a lot of flounder, gray trout, and red drum action, where a Gulp-tipped bucktail, live bait on a Carolina rig, or Stingsilver is the best bet for bait.
The kings have been hanging in the 5-20 mile range, with a handful of small mahi and sailfish biting as close as 15 miles. Live bait remains the best option when it’s available.
Gag grouper can be found around 65’ or more, where you’ve also got a good chance of pulling in an amberjack, barracuda, grunt, or sea bass.
The red grouper and scamp bite is holding steady at 40 miles and out, where live or frozen cigar minnows, pinfish, and squid are all continuing to produce. Decoy jigs and bottom rigs with large circle hooks have been working best.
Gulf Stream fishing is continuing to improve, especially when it comes to wahoo. Troll wire rigs with medium ballyhoo and implement a few Ilanders or Blue Water Candy Jags to get in on the action, and if you’re targeting wahoo specifically, you’ll want to also pull a planer or large diving plug behind the boat.
Jigging and bottom fishing has been good out near the break, where red grouper, scamps, amberjack, and triggerfish are all biting.
Arlen, of Intracoastal Angler, reports that reds are in the marshes from Masonboro all the way to the river. Fishing the east side of the waterway with Skitterwalks, weedless jerk shads, and Gulps have produced numbers of fish.
Flounder fishing has been decent, especially when using live bait around the inlets. Trout fishing is picking up, with most of the action found south of Whiskey Creek. Pink D.O.A. shrimp and Yo-Zuri 3D minnows are working the best so far.
In the surf, anglers are finding plenty of pompano and sea mullet, with a few black drum, spanish, and blues mixed in. Most of the fish have been caught on sand flea Fishbites and shrimp.
Just off the beach, the spanish bite continues to reign. There have been acres of fish reported just outside Masonboro, with Spanish Candies and Blue Water Candy diamond jigs pulling in most of the fish. The nearshore wrecks have seen some flounder action, and a handful of gray trout have also been hooked.
Kings are biting more in the 8-10 mile range, while gag grouper have been strong in 80-90′ of water. Beeliners and triggers are hanging around more in 120′. Cigar minnows will produce on the grouper, while cut squid is working best for the other bottomfish.
The Gulf Stream is providing fantastic wahoo fishing above the 200 line, but it’s been inconsistent locally. An influx of cooler water into our area will definitely improve the bite. Expect a few white marlin and sailfish to be found in the same areas.
Jamie, of Seagate Charters, reports that flounder fishing in the ocean has improved significantly in the last two weeks. In addition, the spanish bite is as good as it gets. Fish any inlet in the area with Blue Water Candy jigs or traditional Clarkspoon and planer rigs to get in on the action.
Some speckled trout are biting, especially around sunrise. Topwater plugs are working well, as are subsurface lures like the Rapala X-Rap and Yo-Zuri Crystal Shrimp.
Reds are feeding throughout the area, but the big ones are being found on the bottom around the nearshore ARs.
Ladyfish have invaded the inshore areas and are crushing schools of mullet all up and down the ICW, especially around lit docks at night. Using mullet as bait works wonders, but they will hit just about any artificial bait as well.
Trevor, of ProFishNC Charters, reports that live mullet drifting is the key to getting in on a strong nearshore flounder bite. In addition, some cobia are showing back up, and your best bet for finding them is around nearshore hard structure and inlet mouths.
The spanish have been biting everywhere thanks to the newly arrived glass minnows in the area, and trolling a small Clarkspoon at 4.5-6 knots will increase your chances of landing numbers of fish.
Bottom fishing in the 3-10 mile range is producing good catches of grunts, sea bass, and triggerfish.
Rick, of Living Waters Guide Service, reports that wahoo fishing is getting good, with 30-50 lb. fish being caught. Blackfins are getting bigger and more plentiful, and while there are plenty of sailfish out there, the sails are scattered.
The 150-250’ range is producing for all sorts of bottomfish, but there’s a strong gag grouper presence closer in (between 80-100’). Lots of grunts and some nice sea bass and pinkies have been caught in the same range as the gags.
Spanish can be picked up trolling nearshore, while the kings are in the 5-15 mile range.
Warren, of Johnnie Mercer’s Pier, reports that dirty water, rough wind, and an overly high tide are making it hard to find fish, with just a few blues and flounder making up the majority of the pier’s catch. Cut bait is working for the blues, and mud minnows are catching flounder.
A lot of tarpon can be seen jumping out in the ocean, but anglers aren’t having any luck landing them.