Southport/Oak Island – June 21, 2018
Annette, of Dutchman Bait and Tackle, reports that surf anglers are mostly catching whiting and croaker, with the majority of bites for both coming on fresh shrimp.
The piers are seeing whiting and croaker, too, as well as red and black drum. For the drum, try soaking cut bait or live finger mullet. There’s also been some speckled trout action from the piers. The fish have been small, and live shrimp has been outproducing any other method for targeting the specks.
Inside, the boats are doing well with both flounder and red drum. The action has been steady for both species on live bait and artificials.
Tim, of Wildlife Bait and Tackle, reports that the inshore flounder bite has been steadily improving these past couple of weeks. More anglers are catching both more fish and bigger fish, including some citations. The flounder have been hitting a variety of baits, including peanut pogies, dead finger mullet, and Gulp soft plastics.
As for finding flounder, reports have been coming in from a wide variety of locations. The better bite, though, seems to be at the mouth of creeks, rather than up in the creeks now that water temperatures are on the rise.
The red drum action has been steady, with fish being located up in the creeks, around marsh areas, and holding on docks. They’re hitting on the same baits as the flounder.
Black drum are staging in the same spots as the red drum, but they will much prefer shrimp.
In the surf, the main two species have been pompano and whiting. The whiting are running a little small, but the pompano have been a better class of fish (2-3 lbs.). For bait, go with Fishbites or sand fleas. Surf anglers have been more successful this year than in recent years at finding pockets of sand fleas on the Oak Island beachfront.
The shark fishing has also been strong for surf anglers.
Off the beach, spanish mackerel have been showing in mixed sizes. At times anglers are reeling in the bigger (3-4 lb.) spanish, and on other days all they can find are the 0.5-1.5 lb. class of fish.
At Lighthouse Rock, there have been kings and cobia landed.
The bottom fishing bite has been hit or miss on the grouper. The other assorted bottomfish—such as sea bass, grunts, porgies, and beeliners—have been steady, though.
Gulf Stream reports have been slow, other than mahi as the main target.
Mark, of Angry Pelican Charters, reports that mahi are starting to work inshore of the Stream, with a mix of peanuts and gaffers as close as 15 miles from the beach.
Bottom fishing continues to produce fish over ledges, rocks, and wrecks in 80+’ of water.
The king mackerel bite in the 8-10 mile range can’t be beat, with good numbers of juvenile and even some 20+ lb. fish coming over the gunnel. Cigar minnows behind Pirate Plugs or skirted live bait will draw strikes from the kings.
Large spanish are feeding alongside the kings in about 50’ or water. Closer to the beach, finding clean water east of the river or west of Lockwood Folly will pay off when it comes to locating spanish. Falling tides have been producing good numbers of fish as well, especially at the inlets and on the tidelines.
Luke, of Spot On Charters, reports that the flounder bite is getting strong in the Cape Fear River, with solid 3-4 lb. fish coming in. Most of the flatties are coming on Carolina-rigged pogies and striped mullet.
The drum bite is exceptional as well, with many upper/over slot fish to be found.
Nearshore fishing is producing keeper flounder, over-slot drum, cobia, and big spanish mackerel. There’s also nice king mackerel in the 10-12 mile range.
Robert, of Reelin’ Pelican Fishing Charters, reports that the red drum and flounder bite is hot in the creeks.
Flounder, spanish, and kings are all steady in the ocean around reefs.
With speckled trout now open, most of the big fish have been coming from the beachfront. The majority of the catch has been coming from live pogies on a Carolina rig.
Ryan, of Fugitive Charters, reports that the nearshore bite has been all about big spanish mackerel. Fish up to 26” are coming in, as are plenty of other keeper spanish of all sizes.
Sharks are just about everywhere off the beach and are biting pogies and cut baits. Big blacktips, spinners, blacknoses, and a few Atlantic sharpnoses have made up the majority of the shark catch.
Kings are biting fiercely in the 10-15 mile range, where cobia and some citation-sized spanish are also mixed in. Beyond the kings in the 15 mile range, mahi are spread out and ready to be caught.
Bottom fishing has been very productive between 30-40 miles. Sea bass, beeliners, and pinkies are all taking bait on the bottom, and the opening of the American red snapper season should prove successful once it comes.
Steve, of Ocean Crest Pier, reports that trout action is picking up and some nice flounder have come in, too. A few black drum have been caught here and there, and the spanish bite is staying strong. The pier has enjoyed a conglomeration of many species, and since the water has been consistently clear, fishing should only get better.