Topsail – June 7, 2018
Chris, of East Coast Sports, reports that inshore fishing for red drum and speckled trout has been good. In addition, there’s been plenty of striped bass in the New River (especially under the 172 Bridge). More and more stripers have been spotted inshore as the population rebounds.
In the surf, red drum are being caught from the south end. Sea mullet and black drum are also present, but muddy water has slowed sheepshead fishing. Pier anglers are finding chopper blues, pompano, red drum, and Virginia mullet. With the water being stirred up, spanish and blues are being caught on Gotcha plugs and C&B custom jigs.
Plenty of spanish have been caught on nearshore structure by anglers pulling Clarkspoons and Yo-Zuris. Kings are hitting dead bait if you’re looking for quantity, but the biggest fish are hitting live bait.
Sea bass, sharks, grouper, kings, amberjacks, and mahi have all been biting offshore.
Mike, of Native Son, reports that red drum and flounder are in their typical summer pattern. Early mornings and late afternoons are the best times to locate fish, where (if the wind is cooperative) using topwater plugs can be a ton of fun.
Spanish are feeding near the beach, especially on the rising tide. Trolling with Clarkspoons or casting diamond jigs are both great ways to catch them.
Schoolie kings are in full swing now. Drone spoons are effective at finding the fish, and switching to cigar minnows once you’ve located the kings can really make the difference in how many you catch.
Chadwick, of South End Anglers, reports that red drum fishing has been hot despite all the dirty water from the recent rain. The reds are keying in on menhaden, juvenile blue crabs, shrimp, and finger mullet. If you prefer to fish with artificial bait, Rapala Skitter Walks and scented soft plastics on Fathom Inshore jig heads are both excellent choices.
Flounder fishing has slowed a bit, but it should improve when the water clears back up. Creek mouths and docks are both good places to find fish, though slow drifting near area inlets has proven effective as well. Live mud minnows on Carolina rigs or artificial baits on Fathom Belly Blade jig heads are both great choices for bait.
School-sized bluefish can be found throughout the marsh. MirrOlure She Dogs, Rapala Skitter Walks, and Texas-rigged Z-Man JerkshadZ will all attract the blues.
Spanish fishing has been up and down, with schools tending to be sparse. If you can find the spanish, try using Hogy Heavy Minnows or Epoxy Minnows in addition to the standard 0 or 00 Clarkspoon setup (gold, pink flash, and electric chicken colors work best).
Cobia fishing has improved now that more bait is on the beach. Using Blue Water Candy jigs, Z-Man HeroZ, and live menhaden will all produce fish.
School-sized kings are hitting Rapala Mag Divers, Drone spoons/planers, Hank Brown rigs, and Pirate Plugs with cigar minnows.
Ray, of Spring Tide Guide Service, reports that the massive schools of red drum have started to break up, which is normal for this time of year. Most of the fish being caught now are coming from creek mouths around area inlets. Due to sporadic rain, it’s been hard to find the best time to catch fish, but if you can get out to the inlets during a changing tide that coincides with the early morning, that’s your best bet. Most of the reds are biting cut menhaden. Artificial baits (other than topwaters) don’t seem to be working as well.
The weather has made it hard to go off the beach, but a decent spanish bite can still be found if the weather allows. Clarkspoons (size 00) in gold and pink will increase your chances of finding fish.
Marc, of Bad Habit Sportfishing, reports that while the nearshore spanish and bluefish bite had been running hot before the recent spell of bad weather, action has slowed down due to the dirty water caused by the rain and swell. With that being said, big spanish have been found by switching to Yo-Zuri Deep Divers instead of traditional spoon setups. Overall, once the weather settles, expect both the spanish and bluefish bite to pick back up quickly.
Kings have been biting on the reefs and live bottoms in 60-80’ of water. Both live and dead bait have been productive.
Bottom fishing seems to be best in 100’ or so of water. Cut baits or jigs will get the job done.
In the Stream, mahi are the most abundant species, but a few tuna, wahoo, and billfish have been biting as well. If the weather allows you to get out there, use a Supra Dart or Mini Agitator from Eye Catcher Lures in front of ballyhoo to get the best shot at the dolphin.
Jim, of Plan 9 Charters, reports that the spanish mackerel bite has been steady along the beach, with most fish being found in 20-40’ of water. Clarkspoons on planers and trolling weights have been working the best. Some fish are also being caught by casting small jigs.
King mackerel are being landed in the 5-15 and 20 mile ranges on dead bait, ballyhoo, and spoons. The occasional mahi has been mixed in with the kings in the 20 mile area.
The bottom bite has been steady from 15-30 miles offshore. Cut bait has accounted for the vast majority of the catch, which includes sea bass, grouper, triggerfish, and snapper.
Joe, of Seaview Fishing Pier, reports that spanish mackerel, bluefish, black drum, and small croakers are all biting. Plugs are working on the spanish and blues, while shrimp are the most effective for the other species.
Chris, of Surf City Pier, reports that small spots are coming in on bloodworms (though shrimp have been working, too). Spanish mackerel have shown up and are biting silver Gotcha plugs, as are plenty of bluefish. Anglers using Diamond jigs haven’t had as much success lately.
Flounder are going after live shrimp, while sea mullets are taking bait shrimp after dark. One spadefish was also recently caught.
Robbie, of Jolly Roger Pier, reports great catches of bluefish (mostly 1-1.5 lbs. but a few bigger ones here and there) and spanish mackerel. Both species are falling for Gotcha plugs.