Fish Post

Carolina Beach – November 15, 2018

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Kevin, of Island Tackle and Hardware, reports that trout, redfish, and flounder can be found in the river and backwaters around the area.
In the surf and just off the beach, a little bit of everything is biting, with whiting, trout, bluefish, and flounder making up the majority of the catch.
Offshore trolling has been difficult, with boats finding it too hard to make the trip.

Christian, of Seahawk Inshore Charters, reports that inshore fishing has been all about red drum, black drum, and speckled trout. The reds have been hitting live mullet and Gulp, and the best place to look is in the creeks on low tide. Most of the fish have been under-slot, but keepers have been mixed in.
The black drum are going for Carolina-rigged shrimp, especially in the eddies around bends in the creeks or off shell points with moving water. Like the reds, most of the black drum have been small, but there are keepers in the mix.
Small trout are thick, though keepers are biting more frequently. Soft plastics are enticing the fish to eat, but live shrimp and mullet have been working better.
Flounder are slowly moving out to the ocean, but some fish are still being caught inshore. Most of them are small, but the occasional big fish can still be found. Live mullet and dead shrimp have been the best baits, along with Gulp shrimp and other soft plastics.

Mason Weisner, age 4, with a 17″ flounder that engulfed a piece of cut mullet in the surf at Freeman Park.

Rod, of OnMyWay Fishing Charters, reports that the water around the inlets and nearshore ARs is still holding plenty of big red drum. Number 8 circle hooks with live mullet or a bluefish/menhaden head should entice the reds to bite, but remember the slot limit and get the fish back in the water quickly and in good condition.
There have been a lot of bluefish along the beach, with the occasional spanish mackerel mixed in.
Kings have been biting primarily in the 14-18 (and sometimes the 20) mile range. Live bottom ledges and rocks are the best places to look, with the coral bottom inshore of the Schoolhouse and the rocks and ledges south of it consistently proving to be good places to fish. Yet another hot spot has been the rocks and ledges inside of 23 Mile Rock and the 30-30 area, and if you can get out to Frying Pan Tower, you can find all of the kings you want.
Most of the fish have been 8-15 lbs., and while there are a few spots that are holding 20 lb. fish, most of the bigger kings are down around the Southport area. The best way to find the big fish is to throw out Drone spoons and Sea Witches with double-hooked belly strips. Fast troll them to cover as much water as possible, just make sure you’re trolling over areas with a lot of hard bottom. If you’d rather slow troll, throw out small ballyhoo or cigar minnows on Blue Water Candy dead bait rigs.
The 18-30 mile range is holding plenty of gag grouper, with sizes anywhere from barely-legal up to 20 lbs. being caught. It’s been easy to limit out, but make sure that you’re getting any throwback fish back to the depths quickly. Either vent the fish or invest in a fairly inexpensive release jaw system, which is the easiest and quickest way to get the grouper back down alive.
There have been plenty of black sea bass, beeliners, grunts, and gray snapper biting in the 25-30 mile range. You will find the occasional pink snapper as well, though most of them are a little further out. When bottom fishing, don’t be afraid to move around and drop anchor at a few different spots if you’re not getting bites.
The wahoo bite has been good in the Gulf Stream, with plenty of blackfin tuna around. Find rocky or hard bottom in the 150-220’ of water range, and don’t spend too much time in any water deeper than 250’. Bottom fishing has been great between 130-150’ on live bottoms, with grouper and huge triggerfish making up the majority of the bite.

Connor DiMauro, age 9, with a 42″ citation drum caught on a live finger mullet near the Carolina Beach Inlet.

Jesse, of Ocean Stinger Fishing Charters, reports that both spanish mackerel and bluefish are still around in big numbers. They can be caught all over the place, from the inlets to the bridges and all along the beaches. A few schools of false albacore have been sighted between the Liberty Ship and the 5 Mile Buoy, likely due to the bad winds pushing the fish further off the beach than they would normally be at this time.
The wahoo and blackfin tuna bite has been fantastic in the Gulf Stream (when the weather allows it). Luckily, the long range forecast is looking up, and the ‘hoo action is only going to get better. The Swansboro and Yellowfin Holes seem to be the hot spots right now, but the fish should be moving more south. It’s also possible to come across the occasional late season sailfish when targeting the wahoo and blackfins.

Haley, of Kure Beach Pier, reports that the weather has been unpredictable, and the constant wind changes are definitely affecting fishing. With that being said, whitings, 1-2 lb. blues, and pompano are all being caught. Bloodworms have been the most popular bait.