Carolina Beach – Sep 13, 2018
Kevin, of Island Tackle and Hardware, reports that the inshore catch over the past few weeks has consisted primarily of flounder and redfish. In addition, a few trout, sheepshead, and black drum are getting picked up here and there.
The flatties are being found in the river and Snow’s Cut, where the deepest water is holding the biggest fish. Live mullet has been working better than anything.
Drifting live mullet in area inlets has produced on the reds, with most of them measuring between 30-32”.
The few trout that have been caught are coming from back in the bays, with a lot of the action coming from the Fort Fisher area. The bite is sporadic, but it should continue to strengthen.
The sheepshead and black drum are in their usual spots (mostly around structure), and they can be fooled with fiddler crabs and shrimp, respectively.
In the surf, anglers can look forward to battling and trying to evade a lot of pinfish. Getting your bait past them should produce whiting, croaker, the occasional pompano, and a puppy drum or two. Salted clams, artificial sand fleas, and fresh shrimp have been the top baits over the past two weeks.
Off the beach, bluefish and spanish are patrolling hungrily. Kings have been as close as 5-10 miles, but 25 miles has been the sweet spot.
On the bottom, black sea bass and other assorted bottom dwellers are chewing heartily.
Christian, of Seahawk Inshore Fishing Charters, reports that decent numbers of reds are showing up inshore. They are still a mixed bag of lower and upper-slot sizes, with a few over-slot fish coming over the rails as well. The best places to look for the keeper reds are around solid structure such as oyster beds and shell bottoms. Look for deep, hard-bottomed holes to hold fish more consistently than any other area, and finger mullet are producing the most bites.
A fair number of black drum have been caught as well, and fishing in holes that feature structure should produce bites. Many of the black drum have been hanging out around their red cousins, but if you want to target them specifically, switch to fresh cut shrimp instead of finger mullet. Most of the black drum have been between 14-15”, with some bigger ones mixed in.
Area flounder are congregating in creek mouths with a fast-moving current. Live mullet on bottom rigs have been producing, but Gulp shrimp or Z-man PaddlerZ are seeing success as well. Put the artificials on 1/4 oz. jig heads to keep your bait steady in quick-moving water.
Just off the beach, false albacore have been showing up in good numbers, and Big Nic Spanish Candies will do a great job of fooling them.
Rod, of OnMyWay Fishing Charters, reports that spanish mackerel action has been hot just off the beach, with most of the fish coming from 25-40’ of water. Trolling Clarkspoons and #1 planers is still paying off, and casting with Big Nic Spanish Candies or similar lures will draw strikes as well. If you find birds working the surface, there are likely to be spanish underneath, and the tidelines outside the inlets are holding fish, too.
King fishing has been fantastic, with most of the action coming from between 15-25 miles. Most king fishing trips in the past two weeks have seen limits of kings, and both slow and fast trolling is working to fool fish. When slow trolling, pull dead cigar minnows on Hank Brown rigs, and when moving fast, switch it up to Blue Water Candy Sea Witch/ballyhoo combos with a #2 planer. Drone spoons/planer combos have been working as well.
Inshore of the break, scattered mahi are tearing up small ballyhoo paired with small Sea Witches. A few wahoo (up to 45 lbs.) have come in as well, with the biggest fish falling for dead cigar minnows.
Bottom fishing has been fantastic in the 25-40 mile range. You’ll want to work the ledges and live bottom areas, with the goal being to find a hard bottom with a 2-4’ relief before anchoring up and dropping cut bait, spanish sardines, frozen northern mackerel, and squid. Expect to find plenty of black sea bass, pink snapper, beeliners, grunts, grouper, and triggerfish.
Jesse, of Ocean Stinger Fishing Charters, reports that the spanish mackerel bite has been good in the early mornings and late evenings. Targeting 25-45’ of water has been the best place to fish, and it’s important to pay attention to the tides. Lately, the rising tide has been best.
Silver/pink and green/silver 00 Clarkspoons rigged on long fluorocarbon leaders behind a #1 planer have been putting fish in the boat, especially when set a good distance off the stern.
King mackerel have been biting between 10-15 miles.
A little further out, between 25-30 miles and in roughly 90-110’ of water, you can find mahi in good numbers. Most of the fish have been between 8-12 lbs., and they will happily attack ballyhoo rigged with small skirts in blue/white, white/green, or purple/white.
Maddie, of Kure Beach Pier, reports that 10+ lb. blues, croaker, spanish (around 4 lbs.), whiting, and flounder (including 5+ lb. fish) have all been in the mix. Live shrimp has been the go-to bait.
Vicky, of Carolina Beach Pier, reports that croaker, mullet, and a few black and red drum have all been caught, with live and cut bait accounting for most of the bites.