Wrightsville Beach – Aug 16, 2018
Matt, of Tex’s Tackle, reports that fishing for reds has stayed productive despite all the recent rain. Schools of slot-sized fish have been working on the flats behind the islands, where topwaters, Gulps, Z-Man JerkshadZ, and live bait have all been attracting fish.
Topwaters and suspending baits (like the Rapala X-Rap) have been getting a few speckled trout, especially early and late in the day.
Look for redfish, black drum, and sheepshead to be hanging around ICW docks and bridges, where crabs, sand fleas, and shrimp will all do the trick.
Flounder fishing has been steadily improving inshore. You can find them in areas with moving water and plenty of bait.
Surf fishing has been hit or miss, with a few sea mullet, pompano, croaker, and black drum coming in on a combination of shrimp, cut mullet, salted clams, and Fishbites. Live mullet will give a better shot at flounder and red drum, and try casting jigs for blues and spanish.
Flounder fishing has been great at the nearshore wrecks, with good numbers and sizes coming in consistently. Carolina-rigged mullet and pogies, as well as Gulp-tipped bucktails, should produce.
Spanish fishing has started to improve once more, where Clarkspoons behind planers, Deep Divers, and Spanish Daisies will all catch fish. Live pogies and finger mullet will get the bigger spanish when fished with wire and treble hooks near the surface.
A few cobia and tarpon are still being seen.
King fishing has been strong at the wrecks and ledges from 7-25+ miles off the beach. There have been scattered mahi and sails caught in that range as well, with most of the action coming from between 20-30 miles. Trolling BWC Wedgies with dead cigar minnows, squid, or small ballyhoo has been effective.
Gags can be found on the bottom in the 15+ mile range, along with sea bass, porgies, and grunts. It’s worth putting a cigar minnow or whole squid out on a light line for mahi and king mackerel while you’re bottom fishing. Scamps and red grouper have been biting in the 30+ mile range, along with beeliners and a few triggerfish.
Red snapper will be open from Aug 17-19. Look for them to be around structure and ledges in the 30-40 mile range, where cigar minnows and squid should bring a nice fish up.
Gulf Stream fishing has been slow for the most part, with a lot of the action being reported inshore of the break. Sailfish and blue and white marlin are still a possibility, along with a mixed bag of blackfin, mahi, and wahoo depending on the areas you target and how you fish. Expect the action to be more consistent in the second half of August.
Bottom fishing and jigging is still good for grouper, amberjack, snapper, and triggerfish.
Arlen, of Intracoastal Angler, reports that big flounder are starting to show up in better numbers behind the inlets, with Carolina-rigged live baits producing best.
Red drum fishing has stayed strong along the marsh flats and creeks, mainly on the ocean side of the ICW. Topwater lures and gold spoons have been getting lots of bites, while weedless jerk baits have been great for fishing grass edges during high tide.
Sheepshead are being pulled in from under the Banks Channel bridges on live fiddler crabs, but the biggest fish are biting around the Masonboro jetties. Big reds are coming from the tips of the jetties as well, with cut bait on large Carolina rigs producing fish up to 45”.
Surf fishing has been picking up, and the catch has been mostly comprised of sea mullet and the occasional pompano. Live bloodworms and sandfleas have been the bait of choice, but using cut mullet on the north end may produce a red drum. Anglers casting spoons around the jetty wall at high tide have been finding spanish and ladyfish.
The spanish bite is back on along the beach, with Spanish Candies and Clarkspoons getting the most attention. Most of the fish have been in 30-40’ of water off the middle of the beach. A few larger kings have shown up in the 10 mile range, as well as on the ledges between the Schoolhouse and WR4, which have also been holding dolphin and the occasional sailfish. Trolling ballyhoo and small Sea Vixen lures should get in on the action.
Gag grouper are holding on the ledges in the same areas, and they’ve been hungry for cigar minnows and live bait on bottom rigs. American red snapper are being caught with the same offerings, though the best action is coming from the ledges between WR4 and the shoals. Ledges in the 100-130’ ranges are producing scamps, triggers, and beeliners.
Gulf Stream anglers are finding better catches of wahoo in the 20-30 lb. range, especially when trolling Sea Witches or Ilander skirted ballyhoo around the Nipple area. Dropping lures to 200-400’ has helped avoid the barracuda that are stealing bait in shallower depths. Small blackfins are still being caught around the Steeples, where a few sails and white marlin have been mixed in as well.
Jamie, of Seagate Charters, reports that red drum are biting throughout the area, with the biggest fish hanging around the inlets. Live mullet have been the ticket.
Flounder fishing has been great off the beaches and around inshore structure.
Speckled trout are hitting topwaters early in the morning.
Spanish fishing has been fantastic off the northern end of the beach, with traditional Clarkspoon setups getting the most bites.
Trevor, of ProFishNC Charters, reports that plenty of reds are coming from rock piles and docks, while sheepshead fishing is at its peak around the same areas.
Nearshore flounder fishing is very hot right now, with good numbers of fish coming from live finger mullet on Spro jigs in the 1-5 mile range.
There are a lot of sharks around, so if you’re looking to target them specifically, expect to find plenty of hammerheads, Atlantic sharpnose, bull sharks, and blacktips.
Rick, of Living Waters Guide Service, reports that nearshore fishing has been fantastic, with plenty of kings, spanish mackerel, and flounder being caught in 30-60’ of water.
Offshore fishing has been plagued with heavy grass, and trolling has been really tough because of it.
Bottom fishing has been great in the 80-120’ range for gags, scamps, and various other bottom dwellers.
Patrick, of Johnnie Mercers Pier, reports that kings, spanish, sea mullet, and spots have made up the majority of the pier’s catch. For bait, the freshest shrimp you can get has been working well for most species.
Gotcha plugs are getting numbers of spanish and blues, but live bait is producing the biggest fish. Spanish have been in the 2-4 lb. range and have mostly been caught in the afternoon toward dusk, while the majority of the kings have been 7-8 lbs. and have been caught in the morning.