Ocean Isle/Holden Beach – July 5, 2018
Jeff, of Ocean Isle Fishing Center, reports that finger mullet are so thick in the creeks that you can practically walk on them. Subsequently, the flounder bite has been epic, with fish biting stronger than they have in a very long time. The flatties are virtually everywhere and are happily taking finger mullet and mud minnows, with a few even falling for live shrimp.
Red drum have been scattered throughout the area, but your best chance of finding them is to fish live shrimp at creek mouths in the middle of a falling tide.
The black drum bite has slowed due to water being too hot, as the current temperature is in the high 80s.
A lot of small trout have been around, with most of them being about 12”. Lockwood Folly is holding the bigger trout.
Sheepshead are still out there, and they’re getting as big as 7.7 lbs. The Ocean Isle Bridge is the best place to look for the sheeps.
Brant, of Ocean Isle Fishing Center, reports that spanish fishing has been excellent in depths of 25-35’. The king mackerel have been a little farther offshore, with most of the action being in the 55-70’ range. Almost all of the fish that have been caught have been between 10-12 lbs.
Some mahi have been mixed in with the kings, especially in depths of 65+’.
On the bottom, summer is definitely in full swing with all of the grouper and snapper biting in 100’ of water and deeper.
The Gulf Stream has been dead due to high water temperatures, so stay closer to shore to take advantage of all the good nearshore/offshore fishing.
Kevin, of Rigged and Ready Charters, reports that the waters near the beach have been providing plenty of spanish mackerel and bluefish action, especially when trolling Clarkspoons. There have been a lot of summertime king mackerel in the 10-20 mile range, where cigar minnows or any type of live bait should produce bites.
Good grouper fishing can be found between 45-55 miles offshore, with the hot spots being in 90-110’ of water. While searching for the grouper, you’re likely to come across plenty of beeliners, triggers, black sea bass, amberjacks, grunts, and big American reds as well. Your top three choices for bait should be pinfish, cigar minnows, and menhaden.
Tripp, of Capt’n Hook Outdoors, reports that inshore flounder have been steadily feeding on live mud minnows hooked on Carolina rigs. The average size for the fish has been 15-18”, so almost every fish landed has been a keeper.
Trout and both black and red drum can be found around oyster rocks and creek mouths. Live shrimp has been the most attractive bait for all three species. Most of the trout have been between 20-23”, while the blacks have been consistently fitting in the 15-20” range and the reds have been 17-22”.
Off the beach in 50-80’ of water, king mackerel are biting steadily. Most of the fish have been in the 8-15 lb. range and have been hitting a mix of cigar minnows and pogies.
Grouper are hugging the bottom in 120-150’ of water. Most of them have been eating live pinfish.
Tim, of Tideline Charters, reports that redfish has been the name of the game lately. Mid- to upper-slot fish are being caught on a variety of baits, with the tide level determining where the fish are likely to be located. Grass lines tend to hold fish during the high tide, where hanging shrimp under a slip cork rig will attract attention. The reds retreat to oyster bars during low tide, where Carolina-rigged finger mullet fished on the bottom should do the trick. To have the best chance of landing a big red, fish shallow water on the rising tide immediately after a dead low.
The deep banks around Sunset Beach are holding flounder of varying sizes. A lot of smaller fish have come in, but some 17-20” flatties are biting as well. Using live bait or a curly tailed Gulp on the bottom will be your best bet for getting a fish.
Speckled trout are filtering their way into the area, but almost all of them are small.
Stewart, of Rod and Reel Shop, reports that fishing is overall much better than it was last year, although it has been unpredictable due to the weather and high water temperatures. Spots are unseasonably hungry, and trout, flounder, and drum are all biting as well.
Kings are close to shore and biting between 2-3 miles, wherever you can find clear water and bait. They are mostly teenager-sized and are mixed in with some really big spanish. The spanish around Lighthouse Rock are particularly hungry, and anglers are getting bites as soon as the bait hits the water.
Mahi and other offshore species are seemingly reluctant to feed lately.
Donny, of Ocean Isle Beach Fishing Pier, reports that pompano have been running, and the last few weeks have seen plenty of spanish and trout in the morning, as well as a few small kings throughout the day. Sharks are biting throughout the night.