Morehead City/Atlantic Beach – Sep 13, 2018
Matt, of Chasin’ Tails Outdoors, reports that red drum action has been decent in the area, with most anglers focusing on the big red drum in the Neuse River. The bite has been up and down due to all the rain, but it seems like the fish are back in their normal patterns. When the second hard northeast wind blows, the fish should start heading back to the ocean, so right now is the time to fish hard. Fresh mullet and Z-Man SwimmerZ or DOA Airheads under a Blabbermouth Popping Cork should do the trick.
Inshore flounder anglers are finding fish with live finger mullet and mud minnows, but most of the flatfish action is coming from the AR reefs, where bucktail/Gulp combos are doing the most damage. The port area is also holding a lot of flounder, with at least one 12+ lb. monster being wrestled from the depths.
The deeper water around the inlets is staging some nice sea mullet, which are on the verge of a fall run. Gitter Rigs are the go-to setup for finding the sea mullet.
Bluefish and spanish (up to 27”) are hanging out in the surf, where Spanish Candies and heavy jigs are getting a lot of attention. Higher tides, which allow the fish to move close to the beach, have been the best time to fish. Surf anglers are also finding some sizeable red drum, especially around Fort Macon. Fresh mullet is the go-to bait.
A few spots are being caught here and there, but not in any big numbers. The big run typically happens at the end of September and lasts through October, so get your Fishbites and bloodworms ready.
Off the beach, spanish fishing is on fire from Cape Lookout down to Emerald Isle. The water has been crystal clear and full of bait around the Cape, so throwing Spanish Candies or trolling Clarkspoons in the area has resulted in some incredible catches.
False albacore have pushed in along the beaches in big numbers, and looking for birds working the water is a good sign that there’s going to be a decent bite underneath. Albie Snax, Epoxy jigs, and Spanish Candies should all find the fish.
Blues are schooled up, including a run of choppers that just moved through the Cape Lookout area. They’ll be eager to crush a topwater Chugger, so have one ready on the boat when fishing the nearshore waters.
King mackerel fishing has fired back up, with fish schooling up in huge numbers at the Northwest Places. AR-315 and the East Side have been holding some nice fish as well. Trolling live or dead baits will work, with cigar minnows getting the nod. Rig them up on dead bait rigs, Pirate Plugs, or Mac-a-Hoos to find fish.
Wahoo is the main story offshore, with 60+ lb. fish coming in from the 90’ Drop out to the Big Rock, the Northeast Corner, and the Swansboro Hole. Cow Bells, Jags, Smokers, Wahoo Bombs, and Sea Witches have been the ticket, with medium/large ballyhoo putting the most fish in the box.
Bottom fishing for grouper has been productive around the 14 Buoy out to the 90’ Drop. Sea bass can be caught in areas like the Northwest Places and Atlas Tanker. There have also been good numbers of silver snappers being caught along the bottom. Squid wings, spanish sardines, cigar minnows, and Boston mackerel will all get bites.
Chris, of Mount Maker Charters, reports that there is plenty of casting action to be found around Beaufort and Barden inlets for spanish, bluefish, jacks, and false albacore. Casting jigs and spec rigs will get the job done.
The flounder bite has stayed consistent on the nearshore reefs, where bucktail and Gulp combos continue to put fish in the box.
Offshore bottom fishing has produced gags, grunts, triggers, and black sea bass, all in 75-125’ of water.
Dave, of Cape Lookout Charters, reports that the drum bite has been great inshore. The tides have been perfect for ambushing bait on the falling tide. Topwater Spooks, T-Dogs, live mullet, and peanut shad have all been the best baits for the reds.
Black drum are coming in on live shrimp around the Haystacks and in the Newport River.
Spanish mackerel have been plentiful nearshore.
Justin, of Breakday Charters, reports that red drum are hitting live bait and soft plastics near docks and cut marsh banks. Flounder can be found in the same areas.
There have been plenty of trophy drum swimming in the Neuse River, where popping corks and 6” Z-Man SwimmerZ in pearl or sexy mullet colors will draw strikes.
Off the beach, flounder can be found near structure, where they are eager to attack bucktail/Gulp combos and live baits.
In the early morning, spanish, bluefish, and false albacore can be found breaking, and casting metal jigs at the feeding fish is working wonders.
Tom, of Dancin’ Outlaw, reports that fishing has remained slow, with wahoo and triggerfish making up the majority of the modest catch over the past few weeks. The wahoo (between 30-40 lbs.) have been found around the Rise, where medium ballyhoo and Sea Witches are doing the most damage
The triggers (4-8 lbs.) have been found in 23 fathoms, and squid has been the best bait.
Wayne, of Oceanana Pier, reports that spanish (as big as 6 lbs. 14 oz.) and bluefish (up to 13 lbs.) are providing the most action for anglers fishing Gotcha plugs, while false albacore (up to 14 lbs.), puppy drum, and spot have all been biting as well.
Shad and finger mullet have been working for the bottom fish.