Carolina Beach – October 11, 2018
Kevin, of Island Tackle and Hardware, reports that the river is still dirty. There have been a few trout caught here and there, but nothing to be very excited about. Conditions will probably still be less than favorable for another 2-3 weeks, so for now most of the inshore focus will be on the waters closer to Wrightsville Beach, where all the expected species are being caught, such as red drum, flounder, black drum, and some specks.
In the surf, fishing has been successful for a big mixed bag of fish, with plenty of whiting, croaker, pompano, spot, bluefish, black drum, flounder, trout, and redfish all being caught. Fresh shrimp is hard to beat, though bloodworms and Fishbites (in the sand flea and shrimp varieties) are also working well.
Bluefish can also be found just off the beach.
Offshore reports have been slim, but the anglers who are going out are finding wahoo. They’re making the trip out to 40 miles to find cleaner water.
Bottom fishing hasn’t changed, with all the standard species being caught. Black sea bass and snappers are the most prevalent.
Christian, of Seahawk Inshore Fishing Charters, reports that the red and black drum bite has picked up recently. The reds are hitting live mullet and Gulps, and the black drum are falling for Carolina-rigged shrimp in moving water around shell beds and rock structure.
A few small trout have been biting soft plastics.
Flounder fishing has been productive. Most of the fish are on the small side, but some 16-18” keepers are mixed in. The best place to look is in the shallow pockets on high water. Gulps or live mullet fished on a light jig head have been working the best.
Guion, of Green Creek Outfitters, reports that redfishing has been phenomenal close to the inlets and out in the ocean, with 40” old drum and slot-sized fish alike actively feeding. It’s not uncommon to experience 20-30 fish days, and the reds are ravenous, hitting anything from live mullet to cut lizardfish when it’s dropped to the bottom.
Trout are starting to come in as well, and they’re eager to hit topwater baits in the early morning and late evening. Like the reds, the specks are hanging close to the inlets where the water is saltier. Most of them are small keepers, with a few 18-20” fish mixed in.
Flounder are biting here and there on the flats and in the backwaters, but the best place to look for flatfish is outside the inlets wherever you can find pretty water.
Rod, of OnMyWay Fishing Charters, reports that big red drum have been hanging on the bottom in the inlets and around the Masonboro jetties. Live or dead menhaden fished on Carolina rigs should attract a bite.
Bluefish, spanish mackerel, and sporadic kings have been right off the beach. Trolling traditional spoon/planer combos should get bites.
Nearshore king mackerel fishing has been difficult due to the recent influx of dirty water. Things really don’t start clearing up until about the 10 Mile Rock area, and it is there that you can pull in some fish. The menhaden in the area haven’t been a good size for king fishing, so slow trolling dead cigar minnows has been preferable.
Bottom fishing has been producing sea bass, beeliners, grouper, triggerfish, and pink snappers in the 25-35’ range.
In the Gulf Stream, there are mahi, blackfin tuna, and wahoo biting in 160-200’ of water on the ledges and breaks, especially from south of the Steeples around the Blackjack area up to the waters north of the Nipple and Same Ole.
There are a lot of flying fish and bait pods in 160-180’ of water, and the big fish are stacked up. Try to get a good water shot, and then find where the water is converging to up your chances of getting a bite.
Overall, fishing is only going to get better. As the temperatures drop to the mid-seventies and high sixties, the king mackerel bite is going to be excellent, and you will probably still be able to find them in the 10 mile range well into December.
Jesse, of Ocean Stinger Fishing Charters, reports that spanish mackerel are being caught in 18-25′ of water off the beach. The king mackerel bite is picking up in the 25-30 mile mark in about 85-120′ of water, where bait has been more prevalent. Water temperatures have slowly been on the rise, and the water has been clearing up in the wake of Hurricane Florence.
Most of the kings are falling for medium ballyhoo and blue/white Ilanders, or small ballyhoo and red/white Ilanders. Skirt rigs on flat lines in the prop wash can also attract a bite.
In the Gulf Stream, the wahoo and mahi bite is really coming together now that the storm has passed. Running 50-55 miles off the beach to 20-25 fathoms has been the best tactic, and small ballyhoo rigged on Ilanders will put fish in the box.
For the mahi, trolling ledges with red, teal, and green colors combined with white on the outriggers and red/black/flash Ilanders on the planer rods has been effective.
The wahoo are more partial to pink/white and black/purple, both with large ballyhoo. Most of the fish have been caught on #3 planers in the early morning and #8 planers in the afternoon.
The blackfin tuna bite has been steady in the same areas, where black/purple and blue/white Fathom Half Pints and Sea Vixens have been catching fish.
Jasmine, of Kure Beach Pier, reports that at least one spot run has come through, and the last few weeks have seen anglers bringing in bluefish, red drum, and trout. More recently, the catch has turned primarily to pompano and black drum.
Kristen, of Carolina Beach Pier, reports that flounder, black drum, and sheepshead are all coming over the rails.