Topsail Beach – Aug 2, 2018
Chris, of East Coast Sports, reports that black drum are making a good showing at night, especially for anglers fishing shrimp on the bottom near docks and other structure. Ladyfish are also thick at night anywhere there is a lot of shrimp and a strong current.
Slot and over-slot reds are being caught on topwater baits early in the morning and late in the evening.
Better numbers of big flounder (some between 6-8 lbs.) are coming in, especially on big “corncob” mullet or spots. Drifting close to the inlets has been the most productive way to fish for the flounder.
In the surf, black drum and pompano are providing the most action, and anglers are finding them with shrimp, bloodworms, and Fishbites. Good numbers of red drum are being found at the southern end of the island.
Nearshore, black sea bass have been chewing on the bottom, though you’ll have to go through 4 or 5 small fish before you find a keeper
The king mackerel bite has been steady from 5-15 miles, with a lot of schoolies coming over the rails. The mahi bite picks up a little further at about 23 miles.
On the bottom, the 28 mile range (in about 120’ of water) has been holding good numbers of red grouper, triggers, and red snapper.
The Stream has been slow, with a few marlin and mahi being caught here and there.
Mike, of Native Son, reports that the story over the past couple of weeks has been the bad weather sweeping through the area. Normal afternoon showers have given way to continuous rain all throughout the day, and the accompanying winds have made anything but inshore fishing an exercise in futility.
Redfish are around, but they have been heavily pressured. The best bet is to find some clean water, have some patience, and let the fish come to you. Look in all your usual spots, but also spend some time on the larger channel points. Whether it was the rain or the recent full moon, it seems that the bait is hanging out in deeper water, and as always, you have to find the bait to find the bigger fish.
Topwater fishing is a great way to search for reds if the wind will cooperate. If there is a little bit of chop on the water, the higher-pitched lures (like a MirrOlure She Dog) seem to draw attention better. Popping corks are also a fantastic way to draw a strike. Since shrimp have been migrating out to the ocean, tie on your favorite shrimp imitation.
Chadwick, of South End Anglers, reports that extensive rain and the resulting dirty water has slowed fishing down considerably.
Inshore, upper-slot reds can still be found (albeit in smaller numbers) around creek and waterway points, shallow bays, docks, and oyster beds. Topwater fishing, while wind dependent, will draw attention, as will live and cut bait. Suspending your bait under a Fathom popping cork is also a great way to get the redfish’s attention.
Trout have become even more rare in the dirty water, but there are a few out there. Topwater fishing is once again the way to go.
Small flounder are hitting live bait around creek mouths, docks, and inlets. Mullet and peanut pogies are the best choices.
If you can make it offshore, expect to find mackerel (both spanish and kings) to be deeper than they were before. On the bottom, grunts, sea bass, amberjacks, and triggerfish will be chewing on live bait.
Ray, of Spring Tide Guide Service, reports that while the rain has been terrible, it’s not impossible to find some 22-26” reds early in the morning on small MirrOlure topwater lures. The reds are moving around a lot because of the weather, so you may not find the fish in their usual spots.
Flounder are biting small menhaden and mullet on Carolina rigs, and the key to finding them is to troll on the incoming tide against the current, especially in deep water. Use a 12” leader with 30 lb. test to keep your fish on the line.
While fishing for flounder with menhaden, don’t be surprised to get a hit and find a citation-sized croaker on the hook. There have been plenty of them biting recently.
Marc, of Bad Habit Sportfishing, reports that the biggest change in the fishing game over the past few weeks has been the awful rain that’s been sweeping through the area. The weather has dirtied up the water, and fishing has slowed down because of it. Most of the fish have been moving to deeper water.
Jim, of Plan 9 Charters, reports that the spanish mackerel bite has been steady and there have been some small bluefish mixed in. Fishing has been better on the outgoing tide around the inlets and breakers. Clarkspoons (size 00) in pink, combined with #1 planers, have been drawing the most strikes.
The king mackerel bite has been good from depths of 50-70’. Dead cigar minnows on dead bait rigs, especially when put on a downrigger, have been doing a fantastic job of fooling the kings.
The occasional mahi or amberjack has been mixed in.
Daniel, of Seaview Fishing Pier, reports that anglers have started catching some kings, with most of the kings in the 20 lb. range but a few over 30 lbs.
Some 4-5 lb. spanish have come in off the king rigs as well, and anglers fishing cut shrimp on the bottom have picked up a few redfish, black drum, and mullet.
Vinita, of Surf City Pier, reports that when the rain lets up, anglers are mostly finding black and red drum, with the occasional bluefish mixed in. A couple of mullet have been caught here and there, but the bite is mostly gone.
A 42 and 47 lb. king mackerel were pulled in, both of which fell for live bluefish.
Robbie, of Jolly Roger Pier, reports that most of the pier’s action has been at night, with anglers finding plenty of black drum and a few mullet on shrimp. During the day, a few bluefish have been caught, and a couple of tarpon have come from the end of the pier.