Northern Beaches – December 13, 2018
Betty, of TW’s Bait and Tackle, reports that bottom fishing in the surf has been very productive on the southern Hatteras beaches. Large sea mullet, puffers, and sheepshead are feeding well on shrimp.
A good number of bluefish are being caught on both cut baits and shrimp fished on the bottom.
Large speckled trout have been in the deeper holes along the beach. Soft plastics fished with a 1/4 oz. lead head has generated the most action.
Flounder are being caught around Ramp 43, with fish biting on both bottom rigs and slowly-dragged Gulp soft plastics.
Puppy drum are a bit scattered (and will be until the water gets colder), but they are being caught from Buxton to Frisco.
Citation red drum are out at the point for anglers casting large Carolina-rigged baits. The action has slowed down with this last storm, but days of close to 100 fish were being seen right before.
Black drum are being caught around Avon, with a couple large fish (to 13.5 lbs.) mixed in.
The northern beaches have been slow, with mainly sea mullet and bluefish being reported.
Anglers fishing the little bridge in Manteo are catching speckled trout and stripers using soft plastics.
Soundside anglers are reporting striped bass being caught around bridge pilings and deeper docks.
Fishing closer to the inlet has produced a few speckled trout and sheepshead mixed in with the stripers.
Offshore trips have had a rough time with the weather, but boats that got out have found good fishing on blackfin tuna, with a few yellowfins mixed in.
Some large bigeye tuna (to 191 lbs.) came in right before this last storm, and wahoo (to 41 lbs.) are also being caught on trips that go out to the Stream.
As the colder weather settles in over the next few months, there will be a slight shift in fishing on the island’s beaches.
Surf fishing anglers can expect to find bluefish while fishing shrimp on bottom rigs. Choosing cut baits, such as frozen finger mullet, can produce red drum. The drum will also bite soft plastics through the winter, but the bait-and-wait method tends to be more productive.
The sounds will see a nice run on striped bass as they push their way back into the rivers to spawn. Soft plastics and cut baits will both work in getting bites.
Offshore boats know that tuna is a year round fishery in the Outer Banks. Yellowfin and the occasional blackfin will stay in the reports, and hopefully the fleet will see a good showing of the giant bluefin tuna.
Bridgette, of Oregon Inlet Fishing Center, reports that blackfin tuna have been biting well when boats have gone out to the Stream. Of course, the weather has been a factor on recent trips, but the numbers of 20-30 lb. class fish are there.
The upcoming weeks should see the return of bluefin tuna in the area. The Outer Banks has become well known for this fishery, and it provides anglers with a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience these giants.
The yellowfin tuna show up throughout the winter and are usually mixed in fairly well once the bluefin arrive.
Inshore trips will see good numbers of striped bass being caught, as well as some winter flounder closer to the inlet.
Tammy, of Pirate’s Cove Marina, reports that getting offshore has produced blackfin tuna, and a few yellowfins have been mixed in.
Winter anglers should watch for the arrival of bluefin tuna. They tend to arrive in January and can run until March. Yellowfins will be mixed in, as they are a year round fishery for the area.
Mike, of Jennette’s Pier, reports that anglers are still seeing a decent number of under-sized speckled trout mixed in with flounder while fishing soft plastics just past the breakers.
Bluefish have been hooked by anglers fishing bottom rigs tipped with shrimp and cut baits.
There are under-sized striped bass being caught around the pilings with soft plastics. The pier has seen this resident school of 18” fish all year, and they anticipate the fish hanging around through the winter.
In the coming colder months, bottom fishing will be successful for large dogfish sharks and bluefish.
Justin, of Avalon Pier, reports that anglers are finding a decent bite on speckled trout. Most have been undersized, but larger fish (to 21”) are mixed in. Casting soft plastics on 1/4 oz. jig heads has worked best on the trout bite.
Some striped bass are also hitting soft plastics, and they are in the 16-18” range.
Anglers bottom fishing with cut bait have found a few puppy drum, but the bite has not been consistent.
Through the winter, anglers anticipate catching puppy drum and bluefish while bottom fishing. The schools of striped bass around the pier should stick around as well, and they are more likely to hit soft plastics.
John, of Bob’s Bait and Tackle, reports that anglers are finding a good surf bite for speckled trout, red drum, and bluefish. The fish are coming while both bottom fishing and casting soft plastics.
In the sound, stripers have been biting well for anglers fishing around the bridges. Anglers are catching fish on live eels and by casting or slow trolling larger 5” Gulp and Z-Man soft plastics. This fishery will stick around through most of the winter.
During the winter, surf anglers on the northern beaches will be focused on catching red drum through February, but beaches from Rodanthe down through Hatteras tend to see the better numbers of fish.
Bottom fishing with cut baits will also catch bluefish and dogfish sharks.
Keith, of Corolla Bait and Tackle, reports that anglers on the northern beaches are catching puppy drum, speckled trout, and bluefish, as the water has not excessively cooled as it did last year at this time. Anglers are reporting a good amount of bait still in the surf, and hopefully that will be a good sign going into the winter.
If the water stays in the upper 40’s and low 50’s, anglers can expect to catch some puppy drum and possibly larger bluefish. Carolina rigs with cut bait work great through the winter. With some luck, the big schools of bait will push into the surf zone and bring with them a striper bite