Northern Beaches – April 12, 2018
Betty, of TW’s Bait and Tackle, reports that the offshore fleet has begun constantly coming in with boxes full of yellowfin tuna. A few bigeyes and big bluefins (released) have been caught as well.
Surf fishing on the southern Hatteras beaches has been good. Solid numbers of puppy drum are being caught in the surf around the point using cut mullet fished on bottom rigs.
Large numbers of dogfish are mixed in with the reds, and they will take just about any cut bait.
In the last few days, anglers on the point have seen several citation drum in the surf, with as many as 15-20 fish being caught in one day. Fishing a Carolina rig with 4-6 oz. of weight and cut bait could get an early season bite from these iconic fish.
A few “chopper” bluefish (up to 32”) have also been caught in the Hatteras surf on cut bait. With water temperatures rising, expect to see more bluefish in the coming weeks.
Some black drum have been landed by anglers fishing shrimp on bottom rigs just behind the breakers.
Sea mullet and croakers are biting in the areas around Ramp 48. These fish have been hooked on smaller pieces of shrimp or squid on a double loop bottom rig and 2-4 oz. of weight.
Blow toads are biting in the surf on most of the island’s beachfront, from Frisco up through Duck. Small hooks on a double loop bottom rig with shrimp or bloodworms should entice the blow toads to bite.
Pier anglers are catching large numbers of skates, dogfish, and puffers.
The water temperature in the surf has been 48-52 degrees.
Tammy, of Pirate’s Cove Marina, reports that good numbers of yellowfin tuna are being caught, with most boats coming in with at least close to their limits. Trolling has been the most productive method, though some fish have been caught off the greenstick. Without any major changes in weather, the offshore fleet expects to keep finding the yellowfins.
Boats are still finding some giant bluefin tuna in the area, though with the season closed, all fish over 73” have to be released. On Easter, anglers caught and released six bluefins fishing offshore of Oregon Inlet.
A few scattered bigeye tuna have been caught by the fleet as well.
Kevin, of Oregon Inlet Fishing Center, reports that yellowfin tuna have been biting well in recent days. Many of the boats are returning with full boxes, and most of the fish are in the 30-40 lb. range. Boats trolling ballyhoo paired with Sea Witches or Ilander lures in blue/white and pink/white have been getting the most fish to strike. These numbers of fish are a good sign that anglers may start seeing a more spring-like pattern in the coming weeks.
Two bigeye tuna were mixed in with the yellowfins last week.
A few blackfin tuna are still in the area, and they’re also hitting skirted ballyhoo on the troll. These are mostly smaller blackfins, but boats have also shown up at the docks with a few larger fish (20+ lbs.).
Bluefin tuna fishing has begun to fizzle out in the area, with fewer boats reporting hookups.
Georgia, of Jennette’s Pier, reports that large numbers of skates and dogfish sharks are biting for anglers fishing frozen cut bait on a Carolina rig.
Blow toads are also showing in decent numbers for anglers fishing with shrimp on smaller double loop bottom rigs. Smaller weights in the 1-2 oz. range help in detecting the more subtle bites.
Bluefish have been reported off the pier, and more numbers of fish should be moving into the area at any moment.
The water temperature at the pier has hovered around 52 degrees.
Mark, of Bob’s Bait and Tackle, reports that good numbers of puffers and sea mullet can be found in the surf. Anglers fishing a double loop bottom rig with 1-2 oz. of weight and cut shrimp or bloodworms are having the most success.
A few smaller bluefish have been landed up on the northern beaches, and they’re falling for cut mullet fished on bottom rigs.
Striped bass are still being caught in the sound, though the number of anglers targeting them has gone down. Soft plastics fished on 1/4 oz. jig heads (or casting small Spro bucktails) around structure are producing the scattered bites.
Keith, of Corolla Bait and Tackle, reports that surf fishing has begun to turn on in the area. Puppy drum are being caught by anglers bottom fishing frozen cut mullet. Due to the winds and surf on the beaches, 3-6 oz. of weight is what it’s been taking to hold baits down.
Dogfish sharks and skates are being caught by anglers targeting the reds, as the dogfish are more than willing to feed on the same cut baits being used for the drum.
A few puffers are biting on the northern beaches. They can be caught with bloodworms or Fishbites bloodworm strips on a double loop bottom rig.
More anglers are reporting medium-sized bluefish in the area. Anglers should anticipate seeing better numbers of the blues with the more stable weather conditions.
Water temperatures in the area have moved into the low 50s.