Southport – April 12, 2018
Annette, of Dutchman Creek Bait and Tackle, reports that both keeper red and black drum are around in the ICW. The reds are falling for fresh shrimp as well as artificials (such as Storm shrimp). The black drum are being caught exclusively on fresh shrimp.
A few flounder have been landed, but most have been undersize. They’re falling for artificials and mud minnows.
In the surf, anglers have been connecting with whiting, croaker, and a few bluefish. Fresh shrimp on bottom rigs has been the most productive method.
Luke, of Spot On Charters, reports that the redfish are still eating, and they’re falling for artificials (such as Vudu shrimp) and topwaters (at the right conditions). Due to recent rough winds and an abundance of rainfall, water clarity in the Cape Fear River and ICW has diminished. Fishing should improve, though, as the water clears and temperatures rise.
There are still some trout around, and they should be targeted with small presentations like MirrOlure MR17s and swimbaits on belly-weighted hooks.
The striped bass have slowed down a bit, but they can still be found up river. Large white paddle tails and topwater baits have been successful for landing the stripers.
Off the beach, the tautog bite has been steady. Fishing structure and drop-offs with fresh shrimp has been the key to finding the ‘taugs.
Mark, of Angry Pelican Charters, reports that the black sea bass are still biting well. They can be caught in the 5-10 mile range, but the larger ones are being found in 80+’ of water over structure.
In the same areas as the larger sea bass, various snapper are feeding as well.
In 90-100’ of water, schooling king mackerel are being found, and they are holding tight to structure. Finding water of 65 degrees or warmer with structure/ledges has been the key to finding the kings.
Slightly warmer water is starting to hold some offshore cobia, and the schools of false albacore are becoming thick enough to walk on.
Action along the beach continues to be slow, with cooler water than normal for this time of year. Large bluefish are starting to move through the area, and whiting are biting along the beaches and in the mouth of the Cape Fear River.
Robert, of Reelin’ Pelican Charters, reports that red drum have been biting well inshore. Finding warmer creeks and fishing structure like docks have been the most productive areas to target, and Carolina rigs with mud minnows seem to be the best method for getting the redfish to eat.
Around the same areas, there have been some good-sized black drum caught (up to 25”). Using mud minnows on Carolina rigs has also produced a steady black drum bite.
Around Bald Head Island, there has been good whiting action. Fishing the falling tides with fresh shrimp on a double bottom rig is the key to catching these fish.
Offshore, there have been some nice black sea bass caught in the 20-30 mile range and around the tower, with the smaller ones closer in. Dropping down cut squid has done well for the sea bass.
Further out, the wahoo and blackfin tuna bite has been strong. Trolling Fathom lures and ballyhoo around the Nipple has produced good numbers of fish.
Wally, of Oak Island Fishing Charters, reports that the redfish bite has remained steady, with many slot-sized fish being caught. Fresh shrimp on Carolina rigs has done the trick for the red drum.
Some black drum are still being caught. They have been mostly smaller or just legal-sized fish. The black drum are also being landed on fresh shrimp.
Around 30 miles offshore, good numbers of small king mackerel have shown up, and they can be tempted with spoons as well as cigar minnows.
In 130-140’ of water, there are plenty of triggerfish and snappers. Dropping down squid or cut bait has been the key to catching both.
Ryan, of Fugitive Charters, reports that the smaller king mackerel are schooled up in the 35-40 mile range. They’re falling for trolled spoons. As the water temperature increases, they should be moving toward the tower.
Bottom fishing in the 30-40 mile range has been steady, producing black sea bass, pinkies, and grunts.
Several yellowfin tuna have been caught in the Gulf Stream, and the mahi are also starting to show up.
Closer to the beach, the small bluefish have moved in, and they should be followed by the spanish mackerel before long.
Dave, of Ocean Crest Pier, reports that anglers have been catching decent numbers of whiting. Bottom rigs with fresh shrimp have been the key to catching these fish.
A few nice black drum have been caught, and they are also falling for shrimp on the bottom.
Several bluefish, mainly smaller ones, have been landed by anglers throwing Gotcha plugs.