Topsail – April 26, 2018
Chris, of East Coast Sports, reports that the redfish and speckled trout bite remains strong inshore. The mouths of creeks are now the best places to find both species, where using baits like a Skitterwalk will increase your chances of landing a big fish.
Some chopper blues can be found in the creeks as well, where they will readily attack topwater baits.
The chopper blues can also be found off the beach, where the biggest fish can be fooled with cut bait. Half a menhaden fished on the bottom seems to be working very well.
Bonito are being caught around six miles out, and spanish mackerel are starting to show up as well.
There have been good sea bass catches recently on nearshore live bottom areas. Squid and Diamond jigs are producing the most fish.
Offshore, the mahi are just starting to come in.
Mike, of Native Son, reports that the name of the game is bonito. They can be targeted by either trolling or casting to fish on the surface. For the troll, use a lipped lure from either Yo-Zuri or Rapalla, or you can pull Clarkspoons on a #1 planer and 2 oz. trolling weight. The best place to look for the bonito is around structure in 30-50’ of water. If you come across bait on the surface, work around the edges, as going through the center may send them deeper and decrease your odds.
Throwing Diamond jigs on a 30 lb. fluorocarbon leader to busting fish is the go-to method of attracting the bonito, but be extremely careful about running full throttle from one busting school to the next. It may net you a fish or two, but it will ultimately send the schools deeper underwater and ruin fishing for everyone in the area. Instead, pull the boat upwind and drift into the school. Once you’re well away from the school, make a wide circle and start your drifting run again.
Early in the morning and late afternoon has been great for speckled trout on topwater baits. Use MirrOlure Top Pups on calm days and She Pups on windy days to increase your chances of landing a speck.
Drum can be found under docks and are finally spreading out into the marsh. Find a concentration of bait and you’ll be sure to find the drum nearby. Weedless soft plastics or gold spoons will let you cover water quickly and effectively.
Chadwick, of South End Anglers, reports that reds are still being caught around docks, near oyster beds, and in inland creeks as the drum start to chase a recent influx of baitfish. They’re taking both live and cut bait, as well as Fathom Inshore jigs, Rapala Skitterwalks, and scented soft plastics.
Bluefish of all sizes are starting to show up. Poppers and Spooks are working on top, and Texas-rigged Z-Man JerkshadZ and popping corks with cut bait will do the trick, too. Using 30 lb. seven strand wire leaders will keep the big fish on the hook.
Black drum are hanging in the marinas, canals, and around rocks and oysters. Target them with fresh shrimp.
Nearshore, sea bass, rings, grunts, porgies, and flounder are all biting on the bottom. Squid baits on chicken rigs, as well as metal jigs and bucktails, are working for all species. Bonito and false albacore are hitting trolled Yo-Zuri Deep Divers, planers, and spoons. Casting Hogy Epoxy and Blue Water Candy Sparkle jigs will also do the trick.
Ray, of Spring Tide Guide Service, reports that giant bluefish can be found in area inlets, and these big blues are hungry. Sight fishing has been working well, and while Halco Poppers are accounting for a lot of the catch, the blues will hit just about anything as long as you stay quiet and ease around until you find a school. If you can get your bait on that school, you’ll catch the fish. The most important thing to remember is to use a wire leader, as the big blues will easily bite right through your line.
Trout fishing has been productive as well. The specks are leaving the creeks and congregating at the front, where Saltwater Assassins and MR17 lures can be used to fool them. Black drum are currently biting shrimp.
Off the beach, bonito are hitting Diamond jigs and Don’s jigs. The wind has made fishing for the bonito hard, but they’re out there.
Marc, of Bad Habit Sportfishing, reports that bonito and bluefish are being caught from the beach out to a few miles on Yo-Zuri Deep Divers, spoons, and casting jigs.
Sea bass and other bottom dwellers are being caught from 50’ out to the break using jigs and bottom rigs tipped with squid or cut bait. Grouper season opens May 1, and they should be hungry.
Wahoo, blackfin tuna, and a few mahi are biting in the Gulf Stream. Most are being caught on trolled ballyhoo or by jigging.
Jim, of Plan 9 Charters, reports that false albacore are inshore, falling to small jigs and flies. Bonito are biting offshore in 70-80’ of water, and you can expect them to start moving closer this week and next. Some of the bonito catches came from jigging, but the better bite was on the troll using planers with small Drone spoons and #1 Clarkspoons.
Big bluefish have been mixed in with both the false albacore and the bonito.
On the bottom, there are plenty of nice sea bass to be found. They are falling for bigger jigs and cut bait.
Frank, of Seaview Fishing Pier, reports that small mullet and small blues (7-8” long) are being caught by anglers fishing shrimp on the bottom. A couple of black drum have come in as well. The water temperature just hit 60, but it’s dropping down again overnight, making consistent fishing difficult.
Vinita, of Surf City Pier, reports that a 3 lb. pompano was landed and a big bluefish was pulled in (from the beach just off the pier). The rest of the pier’s catch has consisted of small mullet and small blues.
Robbie, of Jolly Roger Pier, reports that one nice pompano was caught, in addition to a lot of Virginia mullet on shrimp and bluefish on plugs.