Southport/Oak Island – July 5, 2018
Angie, of Dutchman Creek Bait & Tackle, reports that backwater fishing is all about slot red drum and some nice flounder, with a few small trout coming in as well. Live bait has been the preferred method of targeting all three of the big inshore summer species. A few sheepshead have also been caught here and there, with fiddler crabs and sand fleas proving to be the best bait.
On the surf side, anglers using shrimp are finding that plenty of pompano and a decent number of whiting and black drum are coming to shore. The occasional red drum and flounder can also be found in the suds, and a spot run here or there is easy to take advantage of when fishing bloodworms.
Trout and black drum can be caught in the early morning off local piers.
Flounder are biting from 3-5 miles out, with the best fish found around McGlammery Reef. Anglers using live bait and Gulp-tipped bucktails are having no problem putting flatties in the boat.
Spanish are biting near Jaybird Shoals, and kings can be found around Lighthouse Rock. Cigar minnows are still the all-around best choice for drawing mackerel strikes. Mahi are also biting in the same areas, with pink/white Sea Witches seeming to do the most damage.
Mark, of Angry Pelican Charters, reports that bait pods along the beach are still holding spanish, bluefish, and some huge tarpon. Trolling spoons or light-lining live bait around the bait pods will draw strikes.
Shark fishing near the river channel and along the beach continues to be fantastic in 35-40’+ of water. Live bait or fresh spanish is sure to get the sharks’ attention.
King mackerel (5-15 lbs.) are biting alongside some unusually large spanish mackerel about 8-10 miles off the beach. Larger Clarkspoons or cigar minnows trolled behind Big Nics in pink, blue, and green have been producing limits of fish.
Mahi and large kings are coming in near rocks and ledges between 15-25 miles. The bigger fish are keying in on the bigger live bait, so it’s been worth taking the time to find the right bait before heading out.
Luke, of Spot On Charters, reports that flounder fishing has been the name of the game over the past few weeks. Flatties are popping up virtually everywhere, from the mouth of the river, around Bald Head Island, close to Southport, both north and south, and even off the beach.
The water has been clear in the river, and a lot of keepers are coming in on Carolina-rigged live mullet and pogies. Down south in the river has seen plenty of 2-3 lb. fish, where the same baits are working.
Off the beach in 20-30’ of water has been the nearshore flounder hotspot. Look for structure in the area and send a Carolina-rigged bait down, or drop a bucktail tipped with a curly tail grub. Bouncing it off the bottom should entice a bite in no time.
Robert, of Reelin’ Pelican Fishing Charters, reports that red drum are scattered throughout inshore waters, with not many out front. They’re traveling in small schools, and your best bet of finding them is to search deep holes about halfway through the falling tide, especially during the early morning when the water is cooler.
Flounder fishing is hot right now, with fish being caught from creek mouths, to the waterfront, and out into the ocean. Live bait is preferable for the flatties, but bucktails are always dependable as well.
Spanish and snake kings are readily biting from the beach out to the 15 mile range. Cobia can be found in clean water around bait pods, and tarpon are starting to show up on the east side of Bald Head Island.
Bailer mahi can be caught between 10-12 miles.
Offshore, blackfin and mahi are biting consistently. Wahoo have moved in for the summer and can be found between 30-40 miles.
Big black sea bass, weighing in at about 4 lbs., are being caught 25-30 miles out, especially on ledges between the Tower and the South 40.
Wally, of Oak Island Fishing Charters, reports that the flounder bite has been turning on the river and nearshore ARs, with live mullet proving to be the best bait.
Spanish are just about everywhere, with the most productive fishing coming from Clarkspoon/planer combos in 35’ of water. Kings anywhere from 8-20 lbs. are a little deeper in 45-65’ of water, where frozen cigar minnows are getting the most bites. Larger spanish have been mixed in with the kings.
Bottom fishing, especially in depths of 120’, has been producing plenty of grouper, with live pinfish serving as an excellent choice for bait.
Ryan, of Fugitive Charters, reports that spanish are big in both size and numbers just off the beach. Spoons are the best option for quantity, but dead baits are getting the biggest fish. Look out for sharks (even hammerheads), as they’ve been taking bait in the same areas.
In the 10 mile range, kings are all over the place, with some cobia mixed in. The kings, though small, are happily biting dead cigar minnows and Mackahoos.
Nice dolphin are coming in as close as 10-12 miles, and a sailfish was hooked as close as Lighthouse Rock. Water temperatures are to blame for fish biting in unconventional ranges, with temperatures holding steady at 88 degrees as far as 15 miles out.
Between 30-35 miles, more kings are biting, along with scattered mahi and some cobia.
Bottom fishing has been productive for grouper when the weather holds, and while squid wings have been hard to find, cut Boston mackerel has been proving an effective substitute for bait.
Steve, of Ocean Crest Pier, reports that anglers have been tearing up fish. Plenty of trout, some nice spanish, several citation pompano, multiple tarpon, flounder running as big as 4+ lbs., and a handful of nice kings have all been coming in.