Fish Post

Southport/Oak Island – November 15, 2018

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Annette, of Dutchman Creek Bait and Tackle, reports that black drum are making a strong showing in the backwaters, with shrimp serving as the best bait. There is also still a sporadic flounder bite inside.
Speckled trout are showing up everywhere from the backwater creeks and river to the waterfront, surf, and nearshore reefs. A lot of small fish are coming in, but keepers are becoming more common, with fish over 6 lbs. in the realm of possibility. Rapala XR8s in gold or silver, MirrOlure MR-17s, Gulp shrimp and swimming mullet, VuDu shrimp, and the new soft plastic Burle shrimp are all getting bites, as are traditional live shrimp. A few gray trout have been mixed in with the specks.
Offshore, king mackerel and wahoo are biting in the 40+ mile range.

Tim, of Wildlife Bait and Tackle, reports that the water is mostly cleared up and fish are readily biting both inshore and off the beach. Trout fishing has really picked up in the river and backwaters, with good numbers of fish coming in daily. A lot of the fish are within the 13-14” range, but 18-20” specks are becoming more plentiful.
There are still some big flounder around, with fish as big as 10 lbs. swimming around (more flatfish action lately in the shallower water).
Sheepshead, black drum, and whiting are all hot, and plenty of both slot and over-slot redfish have been around, too.
Outside, the Shark Hole is providing plenty of king action, with most of the fish in the 12-18 lb. range. The Tower area has been hosting a good gag grouper bite, and you can expect the gags to keep moving closer to shore as the water gets colder.

Chris Williamson showing off the 28″ speckled trout he landed on a Rapala X-rap in the backwaters of Oak Island. The fish weighed in at 6 lb. 11 oz.

Mark, of Angry Pelican Charters, reports that inshore water clarity is much better than it was last month, and the bite has been solid on tide changes. Mullet and shrimp are plentiful, and they are definitely the go-to for red drum and speckled trout. MirrOlures and Gulp shrimp in green and electric chicken have also been a great option, with the Gulp shrimp working better under a popping cork. Hollow shrimp (4”) with very little lead are drawing strikes from some beautiful slot reds in very skinny water and around the mouths of feeder creeks in the marsh. The warmer, cleaner water is holding some big keeper flounder, which will happily fall for mullet or shrimp on a Carolina rig.
The king mackerel bite in the 65-80’ range has been great over the last couple of weeks, but with temperatures on the rise, the action along the beach is as good as it’s been since the last storm. There are still plenty of pogies around, and they’re really driving the nearshore bite, though dead cigar minnows are outperforming the live bait offshore.

Luke, of Spot On Charters, reports that the trout bite is on fire in the Cape Fear River all the way from the power lines on south, in the ICW, and around area inlets. There haven’t been a lot of mid-sized fish, with most of the catch consisting of either spikes or fish just under the 6 lb. mark. Most of the small fish have been hanging on the bottom, where Trout Tricks and paddletail grubs will attract attention when slowly bounced, and the bigger fish have been higher in the water column, where MR-17s are getting the nod.
The flounder bite has also been great. There haven’t been a lot of fish around, but almost all of them have been in the 3-5 lb. range. Carolina-rigged mullet have been doing the most damage. There are redfish around, too, and it’s easy to pick one up when targeting specks or flatties.

Robert, of Reelin’ Pelican Fishing Charters, reports that speckled trout are starting to show up, though sizes have been hit or miss, with some days being better than others. A variety of baits will fool the trout, but if you can find them, live mullet have actually been the best bait, especially for finding the bigger fish.
Redfish action is hot right now, with baby peanut pogies serving as the hot bait. Black drum are around as well, and bull reds continue to chew.
Kings have moved into the area, but the majority of the action has been between 20-30 miles off the beach. The fish are all fairly big, though, with the average bite coming from 20-30 lb. fish. Dead cigar minnows have undoubtedly been the best bait.

Dale Brooks with one of the over slot drum he landed in the ICW around Oak Island while fishing with Capt. Greer Hughes, of Cool Running Charters.

Ryan, of Fugitive Charters, reports that just off the beach, the water has cleaned up nicely, and pogies are finally moving back in for the first time since the storm passed. Big reds are around, as are spanish mackerel, and there are plenty of blues to catch, too. Kings are being caught off the pier and out to the 6 mile range. The kings aren’t very grouped up, but they haven’t fully pushed off yet either.
The Horseshoe and Shark Hole are holding higher quality kings (up to 40 lbs.). They still don’t seem to be around in big numbers, though, and the bite can be hit or miss depending on the day. Bonita and blackfin tuna have been mixed in with the kings. The tuna fishing has been the best between 15-17 miles.
Wahoo fishing has had mixed results out at the break, but you can expect big fish to be biting once the weather clears.

Steve, of Ocean Crest Pier, reports that poor weather has had an effect on the bite over the last few weeks, but there have been king mackerel ranging anywhere from 7-26 lbs. caught on king rigs. Bottom fishing has produced a few flounder on live shrimp.