Fish Post

Swansboro – April 12, 2018

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Jerry, of The Reel Outdoors, reports that with current conditions, the fishing has been fairly slow.

Pier and surf anglers are seeing some sea mullet and blowfish, but not much else.

Inshore, the red drum are starting to become more active, with some slot and over-slot fish being caught. Cut mullet, Gulp, and topwaters (in the right conditions) have all produced on the reds.

Offshore, the wahoo bite remains decent, with some nice fish being caught on both ballyhoo and high-speed lures.


Matt, of Pogie’s Fishing Center, reports that redfish is the name of the game right now. The reds are schooled up in the marshes behind local barrier islands, where Gulp and Zoom jerk shads, in addition to cut mullet, are working well. For the particularly skittish schools, free-lining a mud minnow under a popping cork will work wonders. Knowing the area that you’re fishing and playing the tides right is the best way to find the schools.

A handful of chopper blues are being found inside, but the bite isn’t strong enough yet to be particularly noteworthy.

Mainland creeks are holding black drum, where cut shrimp on scaled-down Carolina rigs are doing the best job of catching them. Puppy drum and flounder can also be found in the same areas, where similar tactics will produce.

Speckled trout are showing up here and there, with most of the local action being in the creeks on the White Oak River. Zoom Golden Brooms will increase your chances of finding a speck.

Overall, the fishing will get better as soon as the weather does, and the water is getting warmer every day.

Jenny and Cullen Caraway with a puppy drum that bit on shrimp while they were fishing docks around Swansboro.

Rob, of Sandbar Safari Charters, reports that reds are schooling up in the marshes near inlets and the mouths of inland creeks. Soft plastics on weedless jigs and cut mullet have been getting the most bites.

Black drum are in the inland creeks as well, and they are falling for cut shrimp.

Bluefish are starting to sprinkle in and are taking interest in large soft plastics and suspending plugs.

Speckled trout are biting further up in the rivers, and they can be caught by slowly working suspended baits like Halo shrimp and MirrOlures.


Johnathan, of On Point Charters, reports that red drum are still schooling up behind the barrier islands around Bogue Inlet. They’re hitting Fathom rat tail baits on 1/8 oz. Fathom jig heads, as well as cut mullet on Carolina rigs.

A few trout and flounder are biting in the same areas.

Sea bass are biting in the 10-15 mile range and are mostly going after squid.

Overall, recent cold weather has kept things slow, but warmer weather in the coming weeks will make fishing for everything more productive.


Bobby, of Teezher Charters, reports that the bonito have started showing up around 5 miles out on nearshore rocks. They’re biting Clarkspoons and diving jigs early in the morning, but if you see the fish on the surface, switch to light spinning tackle and cast into the school with a fast retrieve.

Black sea bass can also be found around nearshore rocks, where they will be hugging the bottom. Send down any standard bottom rig with any kind of cut bait (squid works the best) to get their attention.

Amberjack and grouper are also being caught.

In the Gulf Stream, wahoo and both blackfin and yellowfin tuna are biting. Skirting ballyhoo or Ilanders will produce on the ‘hoos, but don’t be surprised to catch a tuna this way, too. Keep an eye on your electronics, as you may find the tuna moving up and down through the water column and need to change baits accordingly. If you can mark them, jigging has been working in depths of 100-125’, while scaling down to small lures will fool the fish on the surface.

In the coming weeks as the water continues to heat up, expect to start seeing some nearshore cobia thrown into the mix.

Andrew Surbeck, of Pennsylvania, with a redfish that ate a Gulp jerk shad near Swansboro. He was fishing with Capt. Johnathan Garrett of On Point Charters.

Tammy, of Bogue Inlet Pier, reports that fishing has overall been slow over the past few weeks, with the current water temperature sitting just below the 60 degree mark.

Virginia mullet are starting to come in, though, with some anglers getting 30-40 fish overnight. Puffers can be found here and there.