Southport/Oak Island – October 25, 2018
Annette, of Dutchman Creek Bait and Tackle, reports that trout are popping up in the backwaters, though the bite hasn’t been exceptional yet.
The occasional flounder and red drum has been caught inside as well, but most of the better flatfish action can be found in the surf and at the nearshore reefs. Gulp and Vudu shrimp are the top baits for all three inshore species, and the reds have recently taken a liking to frozen mullet, even over live bait.
Kings can be found just past the suds, where pier anglers and trolling boats can easily pick up a fish or two.
Tim, of Wildlife Bait and Tackle, reports that fishing has been phenomenal inshore and from the beach, with red drum, black drum, and flounder making up the majority of the catch. The waters around Bald Head Island and the West End have been the best places to look, with the latter producing flounder anywhere from 5-10+ lbs.
Trout fishing has been the most productive in the afternoon and evening, with morning topwater fishing producing nothing more than a few blowups.
Pompano fishing from the beach has slowed down, and there haven’t been any spot runs over the last few weeks. All other species can be caught all up and down the beach, though.
Small 12-18 lb. kings have been coming from the Shark Hole, and the Shallotte Inlet area has been producing 30 lb. kings right off the beach.
Mark, of Angry Pelican Charters, reports that fishing has improved drastically in the last two weeks. Mullet are readily available in the surf and backwaters, and the local surf fishing hotspots (especially the point) are producing plenty of redfish, trout, and big flounder.
The nearshore redfish action has been hit or miss along the beach, with the best action coming later in the day towards the early evening hours. Bluefish, spanish mackerel, and a few false albacore are all feeding on the schools of glass minnows that have been stacked up along the beach.
The first menhaden since Florence passed are being found in Long Bay, and with them came the king mackerel beach bite.
Offshore, kings are being caught on dead bait rigs and skirted ballyhoo. Water clarity is better in the 80’+ range, where structure and ledges are holding a few fish. In terms of quality and quantity, though, the bite isn’t as hot as it should be this time of year.
Luke, of Spot On Charters, reports that fishing has been getting better by the day, with the lower Cape Fear River (south of Snow’s Marsh) producing plenty of fish. Flounder in the 3-4 lb. range are common, and there are definitely some bigger fish hugging the bottom, too.
A lot of speckled trout are coming in, though most of them have been small. A sunset topwater trip to Carolina Beach Inlet will produce some bigger specks.
As for red drum, there are plenty around in all shapes and sizes, including a solid school of 40”+ fish that’s been swimming through the area recently.
For all three species, look for birds, bait, and signs of life, and you’ll find fish nearby. Carolina-rigged mullet is still the go-to bait for everything, though the mullet have been sparse in the lower Cape Fear. If you want to use live bait, it’s best to find it in the ICW before moving to the river to fish.
Robert, of Reelin’ Pelican Fishing Charters, reports that the backwaters have been holding big schools of reds, and while you may have to stay pretty mobile until you find them, it’s easy to get a bite once you do. Most of the fish have been in the 22-24” range, but the occasional upper-30” fish will be swimming in the same school as the smaller fish. The slot reds have been falling for mullet and pogies, while the bigger fish will go for bigger baits.
Some keeper flounder have been coming from the southwest, but most of the fish in the river have been barely legal. The same goes for the trout that have been caught in the area.
Black drum in the 20-22” range have been ravenous in the backwaters, as they’ll eat shrimp, mullet, and even artificials. Some decent sheepshead have been around as well.
Bull reds and kings have been patrolling the beachfront. For the kings, live bait has been successful. Most of the kings have been between 10-15 lbs., with the occasional 20 lb. fish mixed in. Look for schools of bait to find your fish.
Ryan, of Fugitive Charters, reports that even though it’s a bit early for them, some nice-sized whiting have shown up toward the river channel, in the same areas as the big red drum that have been consistently caught over the last month or so. The whiting were biting small strips of mullet, while the drum have been going for cut and live mullet, in addition to pogies.
Kings and spanish mackerel are showing back up, and there are still a lot of bluefish to be caught. Most of the king action has been to the south, but the teenager-sized fish in the Southport/Oak Island area are willing to bite. Overall, the nearshore bite is getting back to where it should be.
Offshore, the bottom bite has been hit or miss. Going a little off the Frying Pan shoals seems to be where the best action is, and all the standard bottom fish have been coming in.
With the full moon phase, wahoo fishing should be fantastic for anglers looking to troll.
Steve, of Ocean Crest Pier, reports that king mackerel have been caught on live blues, and small black drum and flounder have fallen for live shrimp. Shrimp has also produced big red drum over 41”.