Carolina Beach – June 7, 2018
Lewis, of Island Tackle and Hardware, reports that there is a lot of fresh water in the river, where plenty of black and red drum are biting. Sheepshead have been abundant in Snows Cut, but there is not much speckled trout action going on anywhere. This could be due to a harsh winter kill, or the specks could have just migrated down south, as plenty of SC anglers are finding fish. Local anglers will hopefully have better luck between July and August when water temperatures are at their highest.
In the surf, whiting and pompano are biting, as are a few small flounder (especially around the south end). The pending state record croaker, a monster 6 lb. fish, was also recently caught in the suds.
Spanish are a little further out than usual, and the cobia bite is strongest between 1-3 miles, though a few are also biting way offshore.
Kings are in the 35 mile range, mahi are biting between 40-50 miles, and the usual suspects for this time of year (wahoo, blackfin, and mahi) can be found in the Stream.
Christian, of Seahawk Inshore Charters, reports that red drum are the best fish to go for in the CB area right now. Most of the catch has been in the 16-19″ range, with a few upper-slot fish mixed in. Carolina-rigged live minnows are working the best, especially when fished on any kind of rocks, shells, or structure during low tide.
You are likely to come across a black drum while fishing for the reds, though the black drum prefer dead shrimp. You may have to wade through some less-than-desirable catches to find the good fish.
Flounder have also been mixed in with the reds, though most have been undersized. Mud minnows are the best bait, but really any live minnow that you can get your hands on will work until the mullet show up in force.
A few sheepshead have come in on live fiddler crabs when fishing near dock pilings with some good growth on them, especially during a slack tide.
Off the beach, bluefish and spanish are biting metal jigs.
Guion, of Green Creek Outfitters, reports that red drum are out in full force in the creeks. The bite has been the best on topwater (Skitter Walks or anything with rattles on it), but you have to get on the water early in order to make the most of the bite. The first hour of sunrise is the best time to find the reds before they start to get stubborn, and they will typically hang out in the same bays pretty regularly. You will have the best shot at them if you sneak up on the school, but hang tight if you spook them because the fish won’t go far.
After the sun gets a little higher, start throwing Gulp shrimp near oyster beds with a slow retrieve. There are also plenty of puppy drum up under ICW docks during the sunny part of the day.
Good numbers of flounder have been caught off the beach, as well as spanish mackerel and bluefish.
Rod, of OnMyWay Charters, reports that there are plenty of spanish just off the beach, with the best bite being just north of John’s Creek in 25-35’ of water. You can also find the spanish around the tideline (2.5-3 miles out) after a falling tide. Clarkspoons will always produce fish of any size, but Big Nik’s Spanish Candy jigs have been getting the bigger ones (3-4 lbs.).
There hasn’t been a lot of cobia action, but school kings are readily biting in the 8-12 mile range and even out around the ledges near the Schoolhouse area. Slow trolling dead cigar minnows with Blue Water Candy dead bait rigs in pink or cotton candy have been working wonders.
No real nearshore mahi yet, but a strong presence of flying fish between 8-10 miles indicates that the dolphin will be moving closer to shore at any time.
Bottom fishing has been fantastic in the 20-35 mile range.
In the Gulf Stream, fishing has been strong when the weather cooperates. There are plenty of mahi and tuna out there, and ballyhoo with Sea Witches (in blue and white, blue, and chartreuse) are great at catching them.
Jesse, of Ocean Stinger Fishing Charters, reports that spanish mackerel are biting strong along the beach in 20-35’ of water and at the Liberty Ship. Troll #1 planers and 00 Clarkspoons rigged on a 30’ 20 lb. test fluorocarbon leader at 5-7 knots to increase your chances of finding a big fish.
The king mackerel bite is best around 20-30 miles off the beach. Pulling Drone spoons on #6 planers with 40’ of 50 lb. fluorocarbon leaders has been effective, but keep in mind that you should be matching the color of your lure to the color of the water. Silver/green in the early morning, silver/blue around midday, and silver/gold around sunset are all great choices.
In the Stream, blackfins, yellowfins, and mahi are all biting, and there is plenty of bait around. Most of the fish have been coming from 18-25 fathoms, especially around 55 miles east of Masonboro Inlet. Trolling over structure at 6.5-8 knots has produced a lot of bites, but the most important thing to know is how to fish the temp break and tides. Good artificial baits are Fathom Half Pints in pink, white, or silver, or another option is pink UV squid teasers, which are good in choppy water.
Woody, of Kure Beach Pier, reports that 9-11 lb. bluefish have been caught on king rigs and mackerel trees. Whiting have been caught on bottom-rigged shrimp, and a few spanish have shown up sporadically. The rain has made water conditions bad, but bait fish have come back around as the water has cleared.
Abby, of Carolina Beach Pier, reports a couple flounder, blues, croakers, and spots have all been landed. Shrimp or finger mullet have been responsible for everything except for the spots, which were caught on bloodworms.