Ocean Isle/Holden Beach – October 25, 2018
Jeff, of Ocean Isle Fishing Center, reports that the fishing action is slowly recovering in the Ocean Isle area. In the backwaters, good catches of both flounder and trout are being made, with small pogies on Carolina rigs doing the best work. On the outside, big bull reds have been working pods of larger pogies along the beachfront.
Brant, of Ocean Isle Fishing Center, reports that larger king mackerel are scattered along the beachfront in 20-30’ of water, and they are preferring areas with schools of menhaden nearby. The recent hotspots have been Shallotte Inlet and further south toward Myrtle Beach.
Gag grouper fishing has been good in 70-90’ of water, and there are some schoolie kings in that area as well.
The wahoo are holding on the break, and this is a prime time to find them.
Tyler, of Rigged and Ready Bait and Tackle, reports that black drum and flounder have been biting well up the Shallotte and Lockwood Folly rivers. Also, the trout bite is starting to pick up in the ICW and inlets.
In the surf, the main target has been red drum. Big bull reds are being caught frequently by anglers using finger mullet, chunked mullet fillets, or menhaden.
The king bite has improved dramatically in the last two weeks, with kings now being found right off the beach. Live menhaden should get the job done.
Wahoo continue to bite, and blue/white Ilanders combined with ballyhoo still get the nod. The water around the Steeples has been the best place to start fishing, especially in 150-200’ of water.
Tripp, of Capt’n Hook Outdoors, reports that the flounder bite is starting to pick back up as some cooler water has moved in, and most fish are eating finger mullet in deep holes around the area creeks.
Bull reds are holding steady, with cut pogies on Carolina rigs getting the most attention.
The speckled trout bite has been decent, and most of the fish are coming off live shrimp fished around oyster beds.
Nearshore, the pogies have appeared in big numbers along the beach, and some good-sized kings have shown alongside them. The kings are mostly being caught in 15-30’ of water around the piers and bait pods.
Spanish are also being caught along the beach, with Clarkspoons serving as the best way to fool them.
Tim, of Tideline Charters, reports that water temperatures have been cooling, and shallower water has been holding more fish as a result. Fishing live shrimp on the bottom of deeper creek drains during the falling tide has produced plenty of keeper black drum, while using live mullet in the same areas has regularly brought in 20-25” red drum.
The trout bite is still a little slow, but better numbers of short fish are showing up, which is a sign of good things to come. Vudu shrimp have accounted for most of the bites, and combining them with a popping cork on higher tide stages has been the way to go.
Targeting the edges of creek banks with copper-colored Gulp shrimp on jigs has landed a few of the flounder that are hanging around.
Big red drum are still swimming along the beaches, with most of the fish in depths of 25’ of water and around the bait pods. Fishing large cut bait (mostly pogies, but mullet if the drum are being picky) on the bottom has been effective, and using heavy tackle and then getting the fish back in the water quickly is paramount to ensuring the population stays healthy.
Cecil, of Rod and Reel Shop, reports that a few trout are being picked up inshore. Live shrimp is working the best, though some artificials are working as well. Unfortunately, most of the fish are either just under or barely over the legal size limit, and there haven’t been widespread reports of bigger fish anywhere in the area.
In the surf, there hasn’t been a big spot run yet, but the occasional spot will still bite. A lot of pretty bluefish are hitting cut mullet, and a decent amount of whiting and croaker have come from the suds as well.
Over-slot red drum fishing is phenomenal right now, with fish between 30-40” being caught in the surf, out at the reefs, and down at the Little River jetties. Live mullet and small pogies have been the best baits for the big reds.
Bluefish are swimming at the mouth of the inlet, which is unusual for them, and the spanish have disappeared recently.
David, of Ocean Isle Beach Fishing Pier, reports that some reds between 25-30” have been caught, and black drum up to 6.14 lbs. have come in as well. Whiting, pompano, and flounder are also biting. Bloodworms and frozen shrimp have been the go-to baits for pier anglers over the past two weeks.
No big spot runs have come through yet.