Fish Post

Carolina Beach – October 25, 2018

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Frank, of Island Tackle and Hardware, reports that trout have been all over the backwaters, but surf fishing is the main story. The suds have been producing a lot of pompano, small bluefish, a couple of flounder, some black drum, slot and over-slot red drum, and sea mullet. Most of the fish have been small, however.

Christian, of Seahawk Inshore Fishing Charters, reports that the red and black drum bite has picked up recently. The reds are biting both live mullet and artificials (especially Gulp baits), and the black drum can be hooked with Carolina-rigged shrimp. When fishing for black drum, look around shell beds and rock structures with moving water.
A few small trout are showing up, and they can be caught with soft plastics. Unfortunately, most of the fish have been undersized.
Flounder fishing has been productive, and while most of them have been throwbacks, there are still some 16-18” fish mixed in.
Overall, the action hasn’t changed much in the last few weeks, and fishing is starting to move into the typical fall patterns.

Guion, of Green Creek Outfitters, reports that there’s good trout fishing in the backwaters, but most of the fish have been smaller. That’s the typical first wave of fish for this time of year, though, and with cold weather on the horizon, the bigger fish will be ready to bite once the water temp gets below 68 degrees. The specks are scattered now, with the best bite closer to the ocean. Yo-Zuri Crystal shrimp, Z-Man BackwardZ shrimp, and DOA shrimp have been the best baits for the trout, in addition to little Top Dogs and X-Raps.
Flounder have been found when fishing the banks for trout, and slot red drum can be caught in the river. For the over-slot drum, the jetties and ocean are still producing.

Randy Marks with an over-slot red drum that hit a popeye mullet on a drum rig while he was fishing the surf at Fort Fisher.

Rod, of OnMyWay Fishing Charters, reports that water conditions have made for tougher fishing, but that doesn’t mean fishing hasn’t been excellent.
Bluefish and false albacore can be found right off the beach, and the spanish are still hanging in there as well. Expect the spanish to keep biting until the water gets below 65 degrees. Trolling 0 or 00 Clarkspoons on a 30 lb. mono leader will work for all three species, especially when combined with a #1 planer or trolling sinker.
King mackerel are swimming between 2-5 miles offshore. The best bite is coming from the Oak Island side of the shoals, though the Carolina Beach side has been good as well. Slow trolling with live bait, bluefish, or menhaden on the live bottom areas has been the ticket to getting a bite.
Kings can also be found in the 20-25 mile range. Again, live bottom is key. Find little (2-3’ high) bumps, and overall just try to focus on small to medium relief, ignoring the bigger ledges.
Bottom fishing has been on fire in the 20+ mile range. Lots of grouper, black sea bass, snappers, beeliners, and triggers are all being caught.
In the Gulf Stream, depths of 150-250’ are the best place to find a great wahoo and blackfin tuna bite, and the occasional mahi is still coming in from the prettier, clean water.

Curtis Crawford with a 38″ redfish that struck a live finger mullet in the surf at Ft. Fisher.

Jesse, of Ocean Stinger Fishing Charters, reports that spanish mackerel and bluefish have been found on the beachfront and around area inlets. Water in the 20-30’ depths has been best for the spanish off the beach, while the south side of the inlets has been the most productive. Clarkspoons behind #1 planers are doing the most damage, especially in pink or silver colors.
Offshore, the king mackerel bite has started to pick up around the 15-20 mile mark. The Schoolhouse ledges and the waters just north have been the best places to look, where planer rods are seeing the most action. Getting deep with #6 or #7 planers has been key, and white or silver Drone spoons have been the most productive. Rigged ballyhoo on skirt rigs have been working as well. If you’re getting nothing but short bites on the planers and outriggers, slow your speed a little to increase your chances of hooking a fish.
The wahoo action has been picking up in the Gulf Stream. Pink/white and black/purple JR Ilanders rigged with large ballyhoo have been producing some big fish, while #3 planers early in the morning and #8 planers in the afternoon have been successful.
The black tuna bite has been great on small skirt rigs (such as Fathom Half Pints or other 6-8” rigs). The best colors have been black/purple and blue/white.

Anthony, of Kure Beach Pier, reports a two strong weeks of fishing, with blues up to 2 lbs., pompano up to 3 lbs., and plenty of trout, spot, and spanish mackerel coming in. Bloodworms and shrimp have been the top baits.

The Carolina Beach Pier is closed for fishing for the rest of the season.