Southport/Oak Island – Aug 2, 2018
Annette, of Dutchman Bait and Tackle, reports that when anglers have been able to get onto the inshore waters, they’ve been finding primarily flounder and red drum, with some black drum coming in as well. Trout have slowed down considerably.
Flounder, redfish, and black drum have been biting in the surf and off the piers when the wind and rain calms down enough for anglers to get bait in the water.
Nearshore and offshore trips just aren’t happening, but spanish and king fishing should pick back up when the weather finally breaks.
Tim, of Wildlife Bait and Tackle, reports that flounder are biting all over the place, with most of the fish coming from the Southport waterfront and the usual inshore spots. Puppy drum have been up in the creeks and marshes, especially at low tide in the mouths of creeks. Live bait is hard to beat, but Gulps in new penny have been working well, too.
Topwater fishing has been productive from 6:00-8:00 in the morning and from 6:30 pm until dark. Under overcast skies, topwaters can be thrown all day. Zara Spooks, Spook Jrs, and Top Dogs are all great choices.
Topwater fishing has also been productive for trout, which are biting in the river and on the ocean front. Black drum are biting in the Cape Fear River, too.
Off the beach, there’s a lot of bait, and some spanish are working it. Yaupon Reef and other nearshore structure are holding some flounder, where bucktails tipped with Gulps, cut croaker, or strip baits are helping anglers limit out on flatfish as big as 5 lbs.
Offshore fishing has been very slow due to the weather.
Mark, of Angry Pelican Charters, reports that the rain over the past two weeks has made fishing along the beach a real challenge, but you can find tarpon running the mullet schools right up in the surf from the Hot Hole to Ocean Crest Pier.
There have been some spanish holding around the nearshore reefs, and light lining live bait around them should produce some fish in the 4-6 lb. range.
King mackerel are feeding a little further off the beach in 55-70’ of water. Live bait or cigar minnows behind Big Nic rigs or Blue Water Candy Shovels have been producing good numbers of fish.
Shark fishing along the beach has been challenging in the dirty water, but live or cut bait fished over structure should draw some strikes.
No matter what you’re fishing for, finding clean water is going to be the key to a successful day.
Luke, of Spot On Charters, reports that while red drum and flounder are definitely out there, they aren’t grouped up at all. Even if you see them, they might not be willing to bite. The barometric pressure, which affects predatory fish, is all over the place, so even if you do find them, the drum and flounder seemingly have lockjaw.
The wind has been blowing in a different direction every day, and while it has been really hard to key in on fish, a good rule of thumb is to stay south of the power lines on the Cape Fear, as the best fishing is definitely from Snow’s Cut down to Bald Head. Carolina-rigged live baits have the best shot of getting a big fish.
The trick is to move around a lot. If you’re hitting a spot that’s normally pretty good but you aren’t getting bites, pack up and try somewhere else. Spread out over a large area while dodging storms, and if you find a good bite, stay on it.
Robert, of Reelin’ Pelican Charters, reports that inshore, some redfish have been biting in the creeks. They’re averaging between 20-22″, but some have been in the 24-27″ range.
Flounder (between 16-20″) are swimming in the creeks or out on the nearshore reefs, where they can be found alongside limits of gray trout.
Spanish mackerel, even the little ones, have been non-existent. Spadefish have been found on the reef, but they’re not going for cut shrimp, and jellyballs have been hard to find.
Offshore trips have been nearly impossible, but the kings that were hanging at the 90′ Ledge toward the Jungle should still be there when the weather breaks.
Ryan, of Fugitive Charters, reports that before the recent string of bad weather, big spanish were biting live bait near the beach, while smaller spanish were still biting Clarkspoons. Flounder were stacked on the nearshore reefs, and a couple of sailfish were caught within the 10 mile range near Lighthouse Rock.
The king bite had remained solid in the 15-20 miles.
Now, just about everything will have jumped the shoals and moved out beyond 15 miles to where the weather is a little calmer. Once the weather clears, expect the fish to start moving back in.
Wally, of Oak Island Charters, reports that lots of rain and wind have kept things all over the place, but there have been plenty of flounder and red drum in the backwater creeks, and most of them are biting live mullet.
Spanish mackerel are MIA due to water conditions, but kings can still be found in 65-90’ of water.
Dave, of Ocean Crest Pier, reports that with all of the rain, a lot of sharks, skates, croakers, and ribbonfish have made up the majority of the pier’s most recent catch. Before the weather took a turn for the worse, anglers were finding flounder, pompano, some black drum, and a couple of sheepshead.