Swansboro/Emerald Isle – July 5, 2018
Matt, of Pogie’s Fishing Center, reports that summertime numbers of flounder are starting to show up regularly. Gulp baits fished on 1/4 oz. jig heads have been getting bites around structure such as docks, bulkheads, and bridges. When fishing deep water or in a strong current, don’t forget to adjust weights as needed.
Black drum are being caught in marsh holes and deeper holes in the White Oak River. Cut shrimp on bottom rigs and small Carolina rigs are the best way to entice a bite, though anglers targeting sheepshead with fiddler crabs have been pulling up some big black drum as well.
The sheepshead bite itself is nearly in full swing. Anglers are connecting to a mix of small fish and keepers on all the local area bridges. Fiddler crabs on heavy Carolina rigs or drop shot rigs can’t be beat when targeting these fish.
Speckled trout can be found around oyster rocks in the White Oak River. Live shrimp fished under popping corks will produce trout bites, if you’re willing to wade through plenty of pinfish to get to them.
Redfish are scattered everywhere. Topwater baits have been the way to go on low wind days, but soft plastics in jerk baits and shrimp imitations are good all-around choices. Scented baits from Berkley and Fathom are drawing attention from the reds, as are both cut and live menhaden and mullet. Fishing around oyster rocks, marsh points, and pocket bays will give a good shot of getting a nice fish.
Dale, of Dudley’s Marina, reports that sheepshead are biting around area bridges and docks. Fiddler crabs are the classic bait because they work well, but live sea urchins have been attracting bigger fish.
Black drum can be found in all the same spots as the sheepshead, with Carolina-rigged shrimp working better if you’d like to target the black drum specifically.
The marshes are holding plenty of mixed-sized flounder and red drum, with live bait and spinner baits (on the falling tide) working for both the red drum and flatties, and then cut menhaden (in addition to topwaters in the early morning/late evening) doing a great job of targeting the reds.
Nearshore, sea bass are biting small bucktails at the ARs. Flounder are being caught on 2-3 oz. Spro bucktails in white or glow colors (tipped with 4” Gulp shrimp).
Big spanish are taking small live menhaden and mullet.
Kings are biting in the 15 mile range, and a few cobia have been mixed in as well. Live or dead cigar minnows, small ballyhoo, and live menhaden are all effective baits.
There have been a few reports of mahi out in deeper water, and a couple of wahoo have come in as well.
Rob, of Sandbar Safari Charters, reports that there is an abundance of mullet in the shallows right now, making them hard to beat for anglers wanting to fish with live bait.
The red drum in the area have been scattered, but there are definitely plenty of them around the marshes and mudflats. To help narrow your search, look for signs of bait in water no warmer than 85 degrees.
Nearshore, the early morning has been providing plenty of king and big spanish mackerel action. Pulling live baits slowly or fast trolling plugs have been producing the most bites.
Bottom structure is holding flounder, grouper, and sea bass. Bouncing either live baits or bucktails off the bottom should put fish in the boat.
Johnathan, of On Point Charters, reports that fishing has remained consistent over the last few weeks. Red drum are in the bays behind barrier islands, where they can be caught on topwaters, cut and live mullet, and Fathom Rat Tails rigged weedless.
Flounder will also fall for the Fathom Rat Tails on a 1/4 oz. jig head, and Carolina-rigged mullet will work as well. Look for the flatfish around ICW docks and at the mouths of creeks on a falling tide.
Sheepshead and black drum are biting around docks and hard structure. Carolina-rigged fiddler crabs are still the absolute best bait for both species.
Spanish have been ranging from 4-6 lbs., and kings have been in the 5-12 lb. range. Fishing for both has been excellent around the nearshore ARs, where both species are falling for live mullet or menhaden on king mackerel rigs. Casting metal jigs works for the spanish as well.
Sight casting to cobia just off the beach, where they’re hanging around bait balls, has also been productive.
Bobby, of Teezher Charters, reports that fishing has been fantastic within 10 miles thanks to a strong spanish bite around nearshore rocks and reefs. Live bait with small tackle has been pulling in the most fish, and they’re ranging from 3-7 lbs. The king bite (with fish running 8-20 lbs., but fish as big as 45 lbs. mixed in) is great within the same range, although quite a few barracuda have been taking bites out of hooked fish, so be prepared to deal with reeling in incomplete fish.
Dolphin from 15-20 lbs. have also been biting close to shore, and a smattering of really big cobia have shown up to the southeast.
Nearshore bottom fishing has provided a good grouper and black bass bite, but the biggest fish (and more of them) are hugging the bottom in 150’+ of water.
Gulf Stream fishing has been productive thanks to a wave of decent mahi. Some days they’ll be slingers, other days gaffers, but the dolphin are definitely biting. A few tuna have been mixed in, and the billfish bite remains strong as well.
Carissa, of Bogue Inlet Pier, reports that action has been slow, partially due to a water temperature of 83 degrees. Flounder, spots, croakers, mullet, bluefish, and spanish have made up the majority of the pier’s catch, with one 55 lb. tarpon coming in as well.