Morehead – June 21, 2018
Matt, of Chasin’ Tails Outdoors, reports that red drum seem to be spread all through the marsh now thanks to an influx of live shrimp in the backwaters. Topwaters, spinner baits, and Gulps have all been working well on the artificial side of things, while mud minnows or shrimp on Carolina rigs and popping corks are best for live bait. Anglers may even come across a speckled trout, though the bite hasn’t picked up quite yet.
Flounder can be found in the creeks, along the port wall, around ICW docks, and behind Shackleford Banks. Live mud minnows on flounder rigs are your best bet. Sheepshead can be found in similar areas, with fish over 10 lbs. coming in. The Atlantic Beach Bridge is a great place to find the sheepshead. As always, fiddler crabs are the best bait.
Spanish and blues are the hot ticket off the pier and beach, with Gotcha plugs and Spanish Candy jigs pulling in the most fish. A few cobia have come in as well, and even a few tarpon have been seen. On the bottom, sea mullet, spots, croaker, and a few drum have been landed. Bait shrimp, bloodworms, Fishbites, cut mullet, and squid are all effective baits.
Nearshore, it looks like cobia season is coming to a close, but a few fish could still be out there and ready to bite.
Spanish fishing has remained strong, with lots of boats limiting out on larger (6+ lb.) fish every day. Trolling Clarkspoons, Bowed Up spoons, and mackerel trees on #1 planers will get the job done no matter where you are, but the best places to find fish are along the AB beach from the inlet down towards the Double Tree and all around the Cape Lookout area. Spanish have also been surface feeding around AR-315, where glass minnow jigs and Spanish Candy lures have both been working for anglers who would rather cast than troll.
Lots of kings have been coming in, with fish over the 30 lb. mark already being weighed in. These bigger kings are being caught over on the east of Cape Lookout, though plenty of smaller fish have been mixed in with the spanish found all over the area. Mack-a-Hoos rigged with cigar minnows are the most attractive bait, but live bait is proving effective as well.
Nearshore flounder fishing has been improving by the day, with really nice catches coming from the east side ARs and ARs 315, 320, and 330. Jigging Spro 2 oz. white and glow bucktails tipped with a 4” white Gulp shrimp is the way to go.
Dolphin are starting to show up around the standard northwest areas, but a lot have been found closer inshore as well. The 14 Buoy toward Big Rock has been hot, with the local Monkalur serving as an effective weapon to target the mahi. The standard ballyhoo and Sea Witch combo has been working as well.
The bottom has been providing some of the best grouper action that’s been seen in a year, with fish as big as 63 lbs. coming in. Triggerfish and beeliners have also been plentiful, especially around the Atlas Tanker and the 210, 240, 305, and 1700 rocks. Sea bass action has been strongest around the Northwest Places, where squid and Blue Water Candy 2 oz. Roscoe jigs have been tearing the fish up.
Cody, of Freeman’s Bait & Tackle, reports that flounder fishing is really starting to heat up in the sound and ICW. Sheepshead and black drum fishing is also hot right now along ICW docks. Ladyfish are being caught after dark on live shrimp under the AB Bridge lights.
Speckled trout season is open, and topwater is your best bet for getting in on the action. The first 30 minutes during sunrise is the absolute best time to target the trout, especially around good grass and shell bottoms.
Red drum fishing has been great, with a plethora of slot fish being caught in a variety of areas. Tar Landing Bay and the Haystacks are two great starting points when looking for the reds.
On the beachfront, surf fishing has produced bluefish, spanish, flounder, red drum, croaker, pompano, and a few sea mullet.
Nice mahi have been coming in from as close as the sea buoy, where a sailfish was hooked as well. Tarpon have been rare, but they are migrating down the beach and can be caught. Live bluefish or pinfish will attract the tarpon.
Barracuda are practically jumping in the boat around reefs, and spadefish (which are much tougher to catch) can be found around wrecks. King mackerel fishing is at its peak, with live menhaden or dead cigar minnows working well when slow trolled around wrecks and in the shipping channel. Amberjacks are also thick on the wrecks and are nailing topwater plugs and live baits.
Offshore, blue marlin are the most consistent target. Mahi are much more scattered now, as most of them have moved closer inshore.
Gag grouper has been the primary catch on the bottom, particularly between depths of 100-150’.
Chris, of Mount Maker Charters, reports that live bait fishing for jumbo spanish mackerel has been effective, especially near Cape Lookout. Trolling live pogies in about 50’ of water has been particularly successful.
Shark anglers can find blacktips on fly setups, with 12 wt feather flies seeming to be the most preferable.
Amberjacks can be found just outside of Beaufort Inlet, where pogies are attracting the majority of fish. Pogies are also catching mahi on the east side.
Justin, of Breakday Charters, reports that drum can be found all along the ICW, where jigs and mullet are doing the most damage.
Flounder are making a good showing on the reefs and ledges near the beach, and 2 oz. bucktails with Gulp or Z-Man pearl trailers will catch the flatfish.
Kings and large spanish are also hanging around nearshore ARs and ledge areas. Either live or dead bait will work for both species of mackerel.
Dolphin have pushed to around 60’ of water. To find them, look around wrecks, ledges, and live bottom areas. Dead bait works, but live bait is preferable in blue water.
Dave, of Cape Lookout Charters, reports that there’s a good redfish bite inshore, where cut bait (particularly mullet) is making rods bend over left and right. Topwater speckled trout fishing is finally back, especially in the sound. Top Dogs and She Dogs are both excellent lures to use for the specks.
Spanish, kings, and bluefish are biting just off the beach. Trolling Clarkspoons has been working for all three.
Tom, of Dancin’ Outlaw, reports that the waters around Big Rock and some deeper waters offshore are providing fantastic dolphin fishing. Medium-sized ballyhoo on Sea Witches have been producing bites.
Marlin are hanging in the 200 fathom range.
Wayne, of Oceanana Pier, reports that spanish and blues are coming in on plugs, and a few cobia have been spotted but not landed.