Swansboro – Aug 2, 2018
Rich, of The Reel Outdoors, reports that the occasional red drum can still be found in the backwaters. The fluctuating water temperatures are causing them to move unpredictably, so it can be tough to find the fish in the short breaks between storms.
Speckled trout are showing up in better numbers than they were before, and the flounder bite is pretty much the same as it has been over the last month or so. They’re out there. The trick is simply to find them.
Surf fishing has been all but impossible because of the rough waves and currents that are hitting the beach. Sea mullet, a few specks, and a black drum or two have been the only things coming in from anglers that have managed to find a break in the weather. Bait-tipped bucktails seem to be the most effective bait.
A few nice kings have been caught on the pier.
Nearshore fishing has been incredibly difficult, but there are still fish out there waiting to be caught. The on-fire king and spanish bite should return to normal as soon as the weather does, so be ready to strike at your first opportunity, as the schools haven’t been disturbed in weeks and will be eager to hit trolled live baits.
The nearshore mahi fishing should hopefully pick right back up as well.
Dale, of Dudley’s Marina, reports that despite all the freshwater inshore, red drum (under-slot up to 36”) are still being caught, especially on the falling tides. Spinner baits, live and cut mullet, Gulp shrimp, and Skitterwalks are all drawing strikes.
There are plenty of flounder scattered in the backwaters, though about 75% of them are small. They are being caught mostly on spinner baits and live bait (4-5” finger mullet or mud minnows work best). The minnows can be Carolina-rigged or put on a jig head to get attention from the flatties.
There are still some sheepshead working the bridges. The effectiveness of fiddler crabs hasn’t changed, but sea urchins will work better for the bigger sheepshead. Dropping cut shrimp to the bottom while sheepshead fishing may result in a nice black drum, too.
Nearshore trips have been near impossible to make due to the rough weather in the area, but once things calm down, the bite should be right where it was before the wind and rain came in. Spanish and kings will be swimming over the nearshore reefs, where live bait and Deep Divers should still pick them up. Flounder and black sea bass will be hugging the bottom. Bucktails (2 oz.) tipped with 4” Gulp shrimp will be hard to beat.
Jerry, of Pogie’s Fishing Center, reports that the redfish bite in the area has been great depending on where you’re fishing. The ICW and the creeks along it are seeing fish spread out and biting live bait as well as topwaters and soft plastics, but the reds in the White Oak River are seemingly non-existent due to the sheer amount of rain water that’s been dumping into it. Expect that bite to pick back up in the next week.
Flounder fishing has been heating up, and some bigger fish are starting to come in near docks and other structure.
Speckled trout are rare this time of year, but the occasional keeper has been pulled in when fishing for reds in the marsh.
Nearshore, spanish and kings can be caught on live menhaden if the weather breaks enough to get out of the inlet.
Rob, of Sandbar Safari Charters, reports that both red and black drum are pretty solid in the tidal marshes and flats right now. Live shrimp and mullet fished around points and drop-offs have been the key to finding the best bite, and don’t be surprised if you find a speckled trout in the same areas. If you want to target the specks specifically, though, use jigs and drifted shrimp.
Deeper channels and docks are holding drum, in addition to some nice flounder. For the fish hugging the bottom, nothing beats live mullet.
Plenty of spanish can be found inside the inlets, where working rip currents with Stingsilvers will produce the most bites.
Johnathan, of On Point Charters, reports that the weather has been too bad to find a consistent bite inshore, but if the rain slows down, red drum are really the best bet if you want to put fish in the boat. The shallow bays closest to the inlets are holding the best numbers of reds, and both live and cut mullet on a Carolina rig should do a good job of attracting their attention. Most of the fish have been between 20-30”.
Bobby, of Teezher Charters, reports that big kings and spanish are biting fairly close to the beach, though not in big numbers. The occasional dolphin has also been caught within 10 miles, and a few cobia have been biting here and there. Surprisingly, a decent number of yellowfin tuna were discovered and caught near Big Rock. All the fish were between 30-40 lbs.
Flounder are biting in 50’ of water on wrecks and reefs. Using bucktails tipped with 4” Gulp shrimp in pearl white should put you on a fish. Some decent grouper have been caught in 60’ of water, with a lot of them going after the same Gulp-tipped bucktails that are being used for the flounder.
Gulf Stream fishing has slowed considerably, but dolphin are still the main target. Both gaffers and slingers can be found, and the occasional sailfish has been hooked as well.
Overall, conditions don’t look like they’re going to improve any time soon, but if the weather breaks enough to get on the water, there are fish to be caught.
Traci, of Bogue Inlet Pier, reports that the pier’s catch has mostly consisted of croakers, some really small bluefish, and small mullet.