Swansboro – May 24, 2018
Bob, of The Reel Outdoors, reports that red drum, speckled trout, and flounder are all biting inside. The fish can be found just about anywhere thanks to warmer water temperatures and the fact that bait is starting to spread out. The reds are taking just about any bait thrown at them (though topwater lures are best), and the specks will hit grubs.
Flounder prefer Gulps or live bait (if you can find it), and they generally go for a Carolina rig fished on the bottom.
Pier and surf fishing for bluefish on cut mullet or casting spoons has been productive, as has fishing for spanish with Gotcha plugs. Virginia mullet and black drum are also being caught from the suds, with squid and shrimp on bottom rigs getting the most bites.
Matt, of Pogie’s Fishing Center, reports that redfish schools are starting to break up inshore. Cut mullet and Gulp soft plastics are both excellent ways to fool the reds, and if you find them on the surface, topwaters are effective as well.
Flounder are starting to show up heavily. Low tide has been the best part of the day to find the flatfish, but fishing a Gulp jig around structure could get a fish at any time.
Black drum have been hit or miss, and fishing deep holes and structure in the marshes will likely increase your chances. Use bait shrimp on a small hook with a Carolina rig.
Off the beach, the spanish bite is on fire, and pulling spoons should find the fish. Cobia have made a slight appearance but should arrive in better numbers very soon. They just haven’t yet shown up as thick as they usually do this time of year.
Dale, of Dudley’s Marina, reports that the red drum bite has been good on the inside, with topwater lures (such as Skitterwalks) and soft plastics bringing in the most fish. Flounder have been found around docks, where bucktails and soft plastics, in addition to live mullet or mud minnows, are catching the most fish.
Spanish and bluefish are thick off the beach. Yo-Zuri Deep Divers and Clarkspoons are working on the troll, while Castmasters and Stingsilvers in various colors can be used to throw directly to the fish.
King mackerel and cobia fishing has been slow, but sea bass and flounder can be found on nearshore ARs. Use white Gulp shrimp with a white 2 oz. Spro bucktail to find the flatfish.
Offshore, dolphin are running hot, with fish anywhere from 7-54 lbs. being caught. Wahoo have been in the 25-45 lb. range, and yellowfins are still biting as well.
Rob, of Sandbar Safari Charters, reports that there are still a lot of redfish in the backwaters and they’re starting to show a lot of interest in topwater baits. For more finicky fish, soft plastics and live bait should do the trick. Small flounder, bluefish, and sand sharks are being caught when drifting the inlet channels with live bait.
Spanish mackerel have been fierce off the beach. Working Clarkspoons in 30-40’ of water has been bringing in the majority of the spanish, in addition to the occasional bluefish or bonito. Bigger spanish and the occasional flounder have also been hanging along the reefs. The spanish are happily taking live baits, while the flounder are going for 2 oz. Gulp-tipped bucktails.
Johnathan, of On Point Charters, reports that the redfish bite is staying consistent and steady, and flounder are starting to move inside to the same areas as the water warms.
Sheepshead and black drum are feeding around local bridges and docks, and they can be caught with fiddler crabs on Carolina rigs.
Spanish mackerel have been coming in strong and, when the weather cooperates, can be tricked by casting metal jigs and trolling. Cobia are also starting to show up. On a nice day, you can cruise down the beach and sight fish for them with bucktails.
Bobby, of Teezher Charters, reports that the water has warmed up in the surf zone and expect to find bonito, spanish, and blues biting. Even some cobia have been seen and caught.
Bottom fishing has been good for grouper, black sea bass, triggers, and beeliners.
Gulf Stream fishing has been productive, with dolphin making up the majority of the catch, in addition to a mix of yellowfin and blackfin tuna. A few sailfish have been caught here and there, and the blue marlin bite has been strong.
For the dolphin, pull any conventional ballyhoo rig around weed lines or other surface structure to attract a fish. If you’re finding smaller dolphin, switch to smaller lures to save the ballyhoo rigs, which can get torn up by the smaller fish and lost quickly without any catch to show for it.
Amanda, of Bogue Inlet Pier, reports a couple of sea mullet, a few spanish mackerel, and the occasional black drum or pompano. Hatteras bluefish have also come in.