Morehead – June 7, 2018
Matt, of Chasin’ Tails Outdoors, reports that the best action for red drum and trout has been found in the Haystacks and Core Creek areas.
In the surf, Fort Macon Park has seen the best action for bluefish and spanish, where Gotcha plugs are working wonders off the pier and both finger mullet and cut mullet are producing fish from the beach.
Spanish fishing is on fire once again, with most of the action at Cape Lookout. The bite has seemingly slowed around the Oceanana Pier, but it should heat back up at any time. The fish were schooling like crazy at AR-315, making them easy targets. Trolling Bowed Up spoons and Clarkspoons on planers has been working well, as has casting Spanish Candy and heavy glass minnow jigs. Don’t be surprised to pick up a bonito as well.
There are 2-3 lb. bluefish biting on the same lures as the spanish, and a few schools of choppers have been spotted on the shoals of the cape as well.
The first signs of snake king mackerel are also starting to mix in with the spanish, so keep an eye out for their lateral lines as to not confuse them. While they’re hitting the same lures, cigar minnows on dead bait rigs have been productive, too.
Cobia are still around, though the bite has been slowing down. They’ve been seen on the inside of the inlet at Cape Lookout and have been caught using dead menhaden while bottom fishing or by sight casting along the beaches.
Flounder are hot at AR-315, AR-320, and AR-285. Jigging white Spro 2oz. bucktails tipped with Gulp 4” white shrimp has worked best, as has putting live minnows on the bottom with a Carolina rig.
Sheepshead are also biting at the reefs, though a decent amount have been caught around the bridges and port area.
Dolphin are showing up closer to the beach, with the best places to catch them being the 14 buoy to the 90’ Drop. The Rise area and Swansboro Hole have also been producing fish, and some have been found closer to shore as well. Trolling C&H lures without bait and small-medium ballyhoo behind Sea Witches will catch smaller mahi.
A few wahoo, tuna, and billfish have been mixed in with the dolphin.
Big red grouper are showing up in the 30-40 mile range on the ledges at the 90’ Drop. Good fishing for amberjacks, grouper, sea bass, snappers, and large sharks can be found on the east side of some of the closer bottoms like the Atlas Tanker, 17 Rock, and AR-285.
Cody, of Freeman’s Bait & Tackle, reports that inshore water temperatures are climbing closer to 80 degrees, with predictable southerly winds switching the weather toward summertime trends.
In the ICW, black drum and sheepshead are abundant, and fiddler crabs are the best bait.
Feeding red drum can be found on hard incoming-flood tides. A well defined oyster point would be a prime location, and topwaters are the choice lure.
Sea mullet, bluefish, spots, red and black drum, pompano, and pinfish are all being caught in the surf, particularly on cut shrimp. Spanish and blues are falling for plugs off the piers.
Flounder, sheepshead, black drum, and a couple of confused cobia have been caught along the port wall. Overall, cobia fishing is slowing down. Sight fishing is a lot tougher than it was last month, so soaking baits is recommended.
Nearhore reefs are holding flounder and red drum, while wrecks are the best place to find amberjack.
Mahi are starting to move closer inshore by the day, so keep an eye out. As for now, the biggest fish are still being caught far off the beach. Blackfins and a few wahoo are also biting offshore, and blue marlin fishing is looking promising.
On the bottom, expect to find grouper, beeliners, and triggerfish.
Chris, of Mount Maker Charters, reports that both spanish mackerel and bluefish in the 1-3 lb. range are biting all over the place. Trolling spoons and casting jigs have both been equally effective.
Cobia is the name of the game right now. Cape Lookout and the Beaufort Inlet channel have both been hot spots, where both live bait and bucktails are catching plenty of fish.
On the bottom, 70-120’ of water has been the sweet spot for finding gag grouper, triggers, and sea bass. Dead bait has been working the best.
Justin, of Breakday Charters, reports that flounder are really picking up on nearshore reefs. Gulp or Z-Man-tipped bucktails (2 oz.) are proving effective at catching them.
Kings are biting in 50-80’ of water, where dead bait has been working well. Cobia are also biting dead bait, but sight casting while looking for free swimmers and fish on leatherbacks or rays has been productive when using a 2 oz. bucktail (white, pink, and orange have proven to be the best colors) with a heavy hook.
There are a lot of spanish still in the area, and most of them can be fooled by size 0 Clarkspoons behind a #1 planer. On the right days, casting jigs to breaking schools has been the way to go.
Amberjack fishing has been fantastic on nearshore wrecks in 60’+ of water, where poppers and live bait are both good choices.
Dave, of Cape Lookout Charters, reports that some beautiful slot and over-slot red drum are being caught in the sound and North River on fresh cut bait. Mullet and menhaden fished on either corks or on the bottom are proving to be the best choices.
Black drum fishing has been productive around the new bridge in Beaufort, and fiddler crabs are the best bait to use.
Spanish and small kings are coming in just off the beach.
Tom, of Dancin’ Outlaw, reports that not much has changed when it comes to the hot dolphin bite around the Big Rock. Targeting 40 fathoms seems to be the perfect depth for the mahi, while using either Sea Witches or ballyhoo will do a fantastic job attracting them.
When targeting dolphin, don’t be surprised to find a blackfin tuna or two in the same area. If you’re looking for billfish, drop your bait down to 100 fathoms to take advantage of a strong marlin presence.
Wayne, of Oceanana Pier, reports that the last few weeks have provided good spanish mackerel fishing, but the wind has now shifted again and is coming south directly down the pier. This has made for poor fishing conditions. Afternoon and evening thunderstorms in the forecast don’t help, but clean water will come back in soon, and hopefully the fish will come with it.