Carolina Beach – March 22, 2018
Redd, of Island Tackle, reports that anglers bottom fishing offshore around the 25-30 mile area have connected with black sea bass, grunts, and snapper. The baits of choice have been cigar minnows and squid.
Those fishing the Gulf Stream have caught several wahoo, mainly on ballyhoo.
Inshore, a decent amount of redfish have been caught, mostly deep in the creeks. The majority of these fish have been between 18-22” and are falling for fresh shrimp on Carolina rigs, along with artificials like Gulp and Z-Man shrimp in the new penny/root beer color.
A few speckled trout are around, and they are primarily in the 14-16” range. The trout are biting on small presentations, such as Billy Bay and Storm shrimp in the lucky/root beer color. Anglers looking for trout should target creek mouths and eddies.
Several black drum have been landed using shrimp under Snows Cut Bridge, as well as in area waters around oyster beds and deep holes.
Upriver, the striper bite has been steady. White paddle tails throughout the day and topwater baits at first and last light have proved successful for these fish.
In the surf, whiting and croaker are present, and they’re falling for shrimp on bottom rigs.
Christian, of Seahawk Inshore Charters, reports that decent amounts of redfish are being caught, mainly in the 16-20” range, with a few mid-slot fish mixed in. Anglers targeting these fish should work the lower tides, using shrimp or scented artificials around oyster beds and drop-offs. Some decent black drum are also present, and they’re being found in the same areas as the reds. The black drum are mostly falling for shrimp on Carolina rigs.
There are some speckled trout around, but no consistent numbers lately. The trout should be targeted with artificials, such as MirrOlures or soft plastics.
Luke, of Spot On Charters, reports that the red drum bite has been excellent. Big schools have been found in Buzzards Bay and large creeks nearby. Vudu shrimp in white/chartreuse have been the key to catching these fish, as well as topwater baits in the morning.
Some trout are also being caught. The trout are running up to 20”, and they’re falling for small artificials, such as white swimbaits on belly-weighted hooks and MirrOlure MR17s in pink and black.
The striper bite has been very active in the Cape Fear, with smaller fish being found in the creeks and larger fish in deeper water. The lures of choice have been large paddle tails in white/silver and MirrOlures.
Rod, of OnMyWay Charters, reports that with cold water temperatures, the Atlantic bonito have yet to make an appearance.
Around the 20 mile range, some nice black sea bass have been caught. Vertical jigging around structure has been the key to landing these fish. Starting at 25 miles and out, plenty of false albacore are also being caught.
Anglers looking for king mackerel should stay between 38-48 miles offshore and find water temperatures of 68-70 degrees.
Anglers targeting the area 15-20 miles north of the Same Ole ledge in 250-350’ of water have found a hot wahoo and blackfin tuna bite. In addition, temperature breaks past the 100 mile fathom have attracted mahi to weedlines.
Jesse, of Ocean Stinger Charters, reports that water temperatures offshore have been slowly on the rise. At the 25 mile mark northeast of Masonboro Inlet, the temperature has reached 64 degrees.
Within the 20-30 mile range, the king mackerel bite is beginning to heat up. Due to the recent abundance of bait, the bite has been best in 85-120’ of water. Running blue/white Ilanders rigged with medium-sized ballyhoo on the inside outriggers with red/white Ilanders rigged with small ballyhoo on the outside outriggers has proved successful for the kings.
In addition, running flat lines with skirt rigs on the edge of the propwash has drawn additional strikes. Pulling white/silver Drone spoons on #6 or #8 planers has also produced fish.
The wahoo bite is beginning to pick up along the Swansboro Hole and points just south in 30-50 fathoms. Pink/white and black/purple Ilanders tipped with large ballyhoo on a #3 planer in the morning and a #8 planer in the afternoon have been the key to finding these fish.
In 20-30 fathoms, the blackfin tuna bite has been steady. Pulling small skirt rigs, such as Fathom half pints or Sea Vixens in blue/white or pink/white, has been the most successful tactic. These lures should be set far back.