Morehead – May 10, 2018
Matt, of Chasin’ Tails Outdoors, reports that while the search for cobia is on, only a few have been spotted so far. Once the water temperature rises a bit and more bait shows up, the cobia should start biting, so look for the action to pick up in the next few weeks.
Sea mullet are abundant in the area, especially around Barden’s Inlet at Cape Lookout. The fish that were in the Turning Basin have been pushed out by the recent rain, but as the water cleans up, the fish are starting to feed again. They are falling for Sam’s Gitter Rigs tipped with bait shrimp.
Chopper blues have seen a great run over the last two weeks. They’re all up and down the beaches, around the Cape Lookout area, and on the sand flats just inside the inlets. Topwater lures are best when the fish are feeding on the surface, while larger metal spoons work when they’re hanging a little deeper. Trolling Bowed-Up spoons and Clarkspoons has been effective when going after some of the smaller blues behind Shackleford Banks.
Spanish mackerel are also starting to arrive around Shackleford Banks, in addition to the waters around the Cape Lookout shoals. The beaches and inlets should start providing plenty of spanish action soon.
False albacore are currently hanging along the beaches and will be easy to catch if you come across a school and use heavy glass minnow jigs or Albie Snax to attract them.
Gray trout are stacking up at the reefs just off the beach, especially around AR-315, where jigging Stingsilvers off the bottom has proven successful. The fish should be moving toward the inlet and into the basin over the next week, so expect to find 13-15” fish on average.
Redfish are still at Shark Island and starting to trickle inside to area marshes.
In the surf, chopper blues are a prime target, with fish as big as 15 lbs. coming in by the dozens. The best place to find the biggest fish has been between the Oceanana Pier and Fort Macon Park, where Sea Striker finger mullet rigs or topwater poppers have been the best tactics. Smaller blues are biting Gotcha plugs. Spots, croakers, pompano, blowfish, and spanish have all been seen here or there, and red drum are biting bait shrimp and cut mullet on rougher days.
Thanks to a stretch of decent weather, anglers are able to make it offshore and catch wahoo, gaffer dolphin, blackfin tuna, decent numbers of yellowfins, and even a blue marlin. The Rise and the Swansboro Hole are seeing the best action, but fish are starting to move up toward the Big Rock area.
Paul, of Freeman’s Bait & Tackle, reports that red drum can be found in Core Creek, where working the bridges while using artificial baits is your best bet at catching them. Gray trout are being caught under the Atlantic Beach Bridge, where (surprisingly) spanish mackerel are also being found.
The sheepshead bite is starting to pick up, and fiddler crabs are working well as bait.
Bluefish are just off the beach in the morning. The catch consists of everything from chopper-sized blues down to some smaller ones. The sea mullet bite has been luke-warm, with nighttime seeming to be the best window.
Anglers are still waiting on a decent flounder bite to pick up. As of now, only a few flatties have been found along the wall and on nearshore reefs.
Grouper season recently opened, and there are good numbers of them biting nearshore. A decent amount of triggerfish, amberjack, and other bottom fish can be located in the same areas.
Good cobia fishing is right around the corner, as some of the fish have already been sighted around AR-315. There are plenty of bait balls in the area, which should start attracting the bigger fish. Using large bucktails with a curly tail trailer or hooking a menhaden (live or dead) will increase your chances of catching one.
The offshore bite has been strong, with wahoo and dolphin making up the majority of the catch. A handful of blackfin and yellowfin tuna are also still hanging around.
Chris, of Mount Maker Charters, reports that jigging has been productive since the start of grouper season. Amberjack and gag grouper have been found by vertical jigging in 125’ of water, while flounder and black bass are hanging between 75-90’ of water and south of Beaufort Inlet. Jigging bucktails will work for the bass and flounder.
There are still plenty of chopper blues in the area and a few schools of giant black drum (40-70 lbs.) working their way north.
The appearance of leatherback turtles and a few bait balls is a sign that the cobia will be here soon. A few of the fish have been seen deep on the edge of the break in 68-71 degree water.
Dave, of Cape Lookout Charters, reports that 10-12 lb. bluefish are biting topwater baits at Cape Lookout and in the marshes, while red drum and trout have been pounding topwater baits (such as Top Dogs) in the North River.
Big red drum are just off the beach, and bucktails and big spoons have been responsible for catches of some really nice fish.
Justin, of Breakday Charters, reports that chopper blues are on the flats, where topwater baits will catch them. Trolling the beach with Yo-Zuri Deep Divers and spoons will produce on the blues as well.
Flounder are moving into the marsh and biting live baits on Carolina rigs and jigs with artificial shrimp. Keeper flatties are also starting show up nearshore. Using bucktails with a Gulp or Z-Man trailer will do the trick.
Offshore, there are tuna, mahi, and wahoo biting rigged and skirted ballyhoo.
Tom, of Dancin’ Outlaw, reports great fishing over the past few weeks. Yellowfins, wahoo, and dolphin have all been biting offshore in 30-40 fathoms from the Rise to the Big Rock.
Robin, of Oceanana Pier, reports that despite rough weather, anglers are still finding fish. Sea mullet and bluefish (on Gotcha plugs) have made up the majority of the recent catch. A 2.4 lb. pompano was caught on shrimp.