Fish Post

Topsail – June 21, 2018

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Chris, of East Coast Sports, reports that the surf has been seeing catches of black drum, red drum, and sea mullet, but large pompano (17-18”) have been the surprise catch recently. The best all-around baits for the surf have been sand fleas and shrimp.
Red drum have been chewing inside, especially on oyster bars. Topwaters are always a fun way to find fish, but Gulp shrimp is a consistent producer.
The flounder action has been picking up. The best bet has been drifting the inlet with live bait.
Sheepshead continue to hold on structure, and they prefer fiddler crabs.
The nearshore bite has been dominated by spanish mackerel. They can be found starting in 30’ of water and going out deeper.
For kings, the best bet would be to start around 15 miles out (but there are some as close as 8 miles) and drag dead bait behind Mackahoos.

Mike, of Native Son, reports that finger mullet are finally starting to make their summer push in the area, and live mullet has been the ticket for both flounder and red drum lately.
The flounder are holding in deeper water holes and around creek mouths on the outgoing tide. Docks and other hard structure are also producing fish.
The drum have been scattered but around. In the early morning and late evening, topwater fishing has been the best way to catch them. Keeping a spoon or soft plastic handy is a good idea to follow up on fish that miss the topwater.
Spanish fishing is steady right now, with good numbers of fish coming in on the troll and by casting diamond jigs. Look for terns working glass minnows or try to fish tidelines and rips.
Kings are moving closer to the beach, where Drone spoons and cigar minnows have been getting bites.

Rafat with a 2 lb. 11 oz. pompano caught from the Jolly Roger Pier.

Chadwick, of South End Anglers, reports that red drum fishing has been phenomenal. You can find the fish on docks, oyster beds, grassy shorelines, and shallow bays. If you prefer to fish with live bait, the reds are keying in on menhaden, juvenile blue crabs, shrimp, and finger mullet. On the artificial side, Skitterwalks and scented soft plastics on Fathom Inshore Belly Blade jig heads have been working.
School-sized blues can be found throughout the marsh on MirrOlure She Dogs, Skitterwalks, and Texas-rigged Z-Man JerkshadZ.
Spanish fishing has really improved over the past week. Hogy heavy minnows and Epoxy minnows are both great baits, and trolling #1, 2, or 3 planers with 0 or 00 Clarkspoons in gold, pink flash, or electric chicken is always a safe bet.
Cobia fishing has been solid. Blue Water Candy jigs, Z-Man HeroZ, and live menhaden are all working. School-sized kings are biting Mag Divers and Drone spoons behind planers.
Bottom fishing for grunts, sea bass, and grouper has been excellent. Frozen minnows, metal jigs, and squid baits will all get bites. Barracuda and amberjacks can be found around nearshore structure. Use live bait, plugs, and Z-Man HeroZ on TT jigs.

Ray, of Spring Tide Guide Service, reports that off the beach the best bite by far has been spanish mackerel. Most of the spanish are being found by trolling Clarkspoons, but sometimes the spanish show on the surface around bait pods. When they do, throwing Big Nic jigs has proven successful.
The key to the spanish bite has been finding clear water. When the water dirties, the bite typically shuts down. The most consistent action has been closer to the beach in 20-23’ of water.
Around the inlets has seen a good red drum bite. The fish can probably best be located, though, in the marsh areas inside the inlets. There are lots of schools, but the schools have been skittish. Throwing topwaters is always a good search method, but you can also find a bite by throwing soft plastics or casting out cut menhaden and letting it sit. The fish have been ranging anywhere from 23-32”.
The docks in the Topsail area continue to produce a good black drum bite. The fish have been mostly 15-18”, but some have gone as big as 30”. For best results, target the falling tide with bait shrimp on a Carolina rig.

Marc, of Bad Habit Sportfishing, reports that spanish are biting trolled spoons and Yo-Zuri plugs from the beach out to a couple of miles. Kings have been around live bottom in 50-60’ of water, where trolling Hank Brown rigs in front of ballyhoo and cigar minnows has been working well when live bait can’t be easily be found.
Amberjacks are out in force around buoys and ledges in 50+’ of water. They’re mostly biting live bait, but will fall for a jig in deeper water.
Mahi have been moving closer to shore, with some being caught in the 10-12 mile range. The majority of them, though, have been in the 30 mile range.
Gulf Stream fishing has slowed, and while some fish are still being caught, things will continue to slow down as the water gets hotter.
Bottom fishing has been pretty good at times. Grouper, snapper, sea bass, and various other bottom dwellers are eating sardines, mackerel, and squid. Grouper prefer live bait, if you can find it.

Robert Campbell with a 20 lb. mahi caught in the Gulf Stream off Topsail Beach. He was fishing on the “Iceberg” with Bill Clark.

Jim, of Plan 9 Charters, reports that the spanish mackerel bite has been phenomenal over the last week. A good mix of sizes has been coming in, with fish between 14-20” and around 2-3 lbs. being the average. The fish have been in shallow (15-25’) water, where 00 Clarkspoons fished on planers and trolling weights are providing the most consistent bites. Small jigs cast to fish on the surface have been getting bites as well.
Kings have been steady from 5-20 miles offshore. Dead baits, spoons, and live baits have all been working well. Also mixed in with the kings are plenty of amberjack and a few mahi.
Bottom fishing has been productive in 60-100’ of water. Black sea bass, triggerfish, and grouper have all been in the mix.

Frank, of Seaview Fishing Pier, reports that black drum have been the big catch recently, with plenty of fish coming in on sand fleas. A few bluefish and spanish have also been landed, in addition to some small mullet, flounder, and the occasional summer spot.

Amanda, of Surf City Pier, reports a wide variety of fish being caught from the pier. Spots, mullet, bluefish, spadefish, pompano, and both black and red drum are all coming in, and anglers have been slaying spanish mackerel, with fish being caught all day long.

Kim, of Jolly Roger Pier, reports the occasional bluefish and spanish are biting in the mornings and evenings, while black drum are taking shrimp and sand fleas all day.