Fish Post

Northern Beaches – May 10, 2018

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Betty, of TW’s Bait and Tackle, reports that surf fishing has really begun to kick off, with mixed bags of croakers, spot, sea mullet, and blow toads. Anglers have reported good bites on double loop bottom rigs with pieces of shrimp and sand fleas.

Puppy drum are being caught in the area from Buxton to Frisco on Carolina-rigged cut baits.

The Frisco anglers are finding a bunch of “bait stealing” skates taking cut mullet meant for reds.

The Point has still been seeing good runs of citation red drum around sunset. On some nights, anglers are releasing 30-40 fish. Using cut mullet on larger Carolina rigs are producing the bites. Some sharks are also having a great time taking the same cut baits.

The area’s piers have large numbers of sea mullets and blow toads filling coolers. Shrimp has been the top producing bait for the Avalon and Nags Head piers.

Schools of bluefish are being caught all around the northern Nags Head beaches. A majority of the fish are medium sized (14-18”) and are biting cut bait on a bottom rig.

Smaller-sized schools of striped bass have been hanging around the piers. These “schoolie” fish are being caught on Z-Man and Gulp soft plastics with 1/4 oz. jig heads.

Nearshore anglers have been seeing schools of large black drum off the southern Hatteras beaches working their way north.

In the inlets, bluefish have made for good days of catching, with many large (32-37”) chopper fish being caught by anglers using topwater poppers.

Inshore anglers are finding a good number of slot-sized red drum in the sounds alongside the bluefish.

Stripers are being caught around area bridges, and anglers anticipate one final push as the fish move out of the rivers after the spawn.

Offshore boats have been reporting great numbers of mahi with the start of the spring run. These are mostly the larger “gaffer” fish, and limits are being caught quickly around the temperature breaks in the Gulf Stream.

Yellowfin tuna are being caught in good numbers. Boats have been having a great year, and there is no sign of the action slowing down.

A couple sailfish were released last week by boats trolling ballyhoo for tuna.


Norma, of Oregon Inlet Fishing Center, reports that boats are having excellent mahi fishing. A lot of large bull dolphin are being caught, and they are a welcome start to the spring for many anglers. The majority of fish in the boxes have been gaffer-sized fish hanging around the major temperature breaks.

Tuna fishing continues to be good, with multiple yellowfin and blackfin brought in daily.

A scattered wahoo or two seem to come in as a bonus fish on these trips. The ones being caught are larger (40+ lb.) fish that love to make quick, screaming runs on mahi-class tackle.

The sounds are producing good numbers of bluefish and stripers for anglers fishing cut baits and soft plastics.

Head boats have been quickly filling coolers with good-sized sea mullet for anglers bottom fishing with shrimp and squid. Smaller bluefish are mixed in and taking the same cut baits.


Nikki, of Pirate’s Cove Marina, reports that great numbers of yellowfin tuna have hit the docks to start the week. Most fish have weighed 30+ lbs. and are coming off trolled ballyhoo.

Mahi fishing has been great, with anglers limiting out on gaffer-sized fish. Some smaller bailers are mixed in, but they are far from the norm with this first big push. Trolling skirted ballyhoo in pink and green/yellow has worked well for bites.

Blackfin tuna continue to have a strong showing, as multiple 20+ lb. fish are being brought in daily.

A few sailfish were released last week.

Nearshore boats continue catching large numbers of chopper bluefish on topwater plugs. Using steel leaders is a great idea, as these fish have not been line shy.

Jeff Harlan with a 32″ bluefish that was tempted by cut mullet in the Outer Banks surf.


Mike, of Jennette’s Pier, reports that anglers have been catching great numbers of bluefish. Most of these fish are 1-2 lbs. and are biting cut bait fished off the bottom.

Puffers and sea mullet are biting well on smaller pieces of shrimp fished with a double loop bottom rig.

Some gray trout have been feeding on shrimp fished on the bottom.

Skates and rays are always around to take any of these bottom rigs with cut bait.

There is a school of stripers that continues to hang around the pilings. Fishing Gulp soft plastics on trout rigs has been getting bites when the fish are feeding.


Pete, of Nags Head Pier, reports that sea mullet and blow toads are biting well for anglers. Double loop bottom rigs with shrimp and bloodworms are producing.

A few puppy drum are being caught by anglers using larger cut baits, such as mullet or menhaden, on a Carolina rig.

Tailor bluefish have been feeding well on just about any cut bait that anglers are putting in the water. There are a few chopper bluefish schools in the mix, but the bigger ones are not the norm.

A few flounder are being caught on soft plastics.


Mark, of Bob’s Bait and Tackle, reports that stripers have been biting well in the surf zone. These are not the large stripers that have been seen in past years, but smaller (20-25”) fish that are still fun to catch on artificials.

Scattered flounder are being caught around the inlet, with most fish biting soft plastics fished on a 1/4 oz. jig head. Both Z-Man MinnowZ and Gulp Mullet are great producing baits.

Bottom fishing the wash in the surf is producing sea mullet and a few puffers.


Keith, of Corolla Bait and Tackle, reports that there is a strong sea mullet bite in the surf. Double loop bottom rigs with shrimp have produced fish. Another popular bait getting fish to bite are the Fishbites bloodworm strips that are extremely durable and last 3-4 fish per bait.

Bluefish have been feeding well on the 4×4 area beaches. Sea Striker spoons and Gotcha lures work very well and are durable options for these aggressive feeders.

A few puppy drum are biting Carolina-rigged cut bait in the same areas.