Wrightsville Beach – July 19, 2018
Matt, of Tex’s Tackle, reports that inshore red drum fishing has been fantastic in the marshes and around docks. Topwater lures have been great early morning and late in the day, while cut/live bait and soft plastics will work throughout the day.
There have been good numbers of speckled trout caught during the stretch of north wind and cooler temperatures, and the bite continues to pick up. Flounder fishing also continues to improve.
Black drum and sheepshead are biting consistently around ICW docks and bridges. For the black drum, shrimp and sand fleas are the ticket, while sheepshead still haven’t changed their mind about fiddler crabs.
There have been plenty of black drum in the surf, with pompano and sea mullet very present, too. Some puppy drum, croaker, and flounder are biting as well.
Nearshore spanish fishing has slowed down slightly, but Clarkspoons, Deep Divers, and Spanish Daises continue to serve as the best way to catch them.
Offshore, kings and some mahi are being caught, along with a few sailfish. The 7-20 mile range is seemingly the sweet spot for the kings, with the mahi sticking more to the deeper end of that range. Dead cigar minnows, small ballyhoo, Deep Divers, and Drone spoons should all produce.
Gag grouper fishing has been consistent in the 10-12 mile range, and some sea bass, grunts, and porgies have been mixed in as well. Reds and scamps are chewing in the 30+ mile range.
Gulf Stream fishing has stayed inconsistent, but blue and white marlin, sailfish, small blackfins, mahi, and wahoo have all been in the mix. Trolled ballyhoo skirted with Ilanders and Sea Witches will do the best job of generating a fish.
Arlen, of Intracoastal Angler, reports that red drum fishing remains strong, especially for anglers using topwater lures and jerk shads along the grass edges behind Masonboro Island and cut bait along the jetties.
Flounder fishing has been excellent, with most of the larger fish coming from the southern areas. Live mullet and tiger minnows on Carolina rigs have been getting the most strikes, although Gulps fished on jig heads have put fish in the boat as well.
Sheepshead fishing is productive along the bridges and bulkheads, with fiddler crabs remaining the top bait choice.
Anglers fishing for nearshore spanish are finding that the fish are preferring smaller baits, so try 00 Clarkspoons and 1/2 oz. Spanish Candy jigs when targeting them.
Flounder are chewing along nearshore reefs, with Gulp-tipped bucktails providing most of the action.
There have been some 30 lb. king mackerel caught right along the beach on live bait, but most of the king action has been found in the 7-10 mile range, with cigar minnows drawing the most attention.
A few mahi are being caught in this range as well, though the best mahi fishing has come from the 20 mile range on skirted ballyhoo and Sea Vixen lures.
A decent push of sailfish resulted in several releases this week, mainly in the 20-30 mile range.
Gag grouper fishing has improved in the 20-25 mile range, predominantly on cigar minnows. While the offshore grouper bite has slowed, some decent catches of beeliners, triggerfish, and African pompano have come from the 40 mile range.
Gulf Stream fishing has been surprisingly good for this time of year, with several sailfish and white marlin coming in on small ballyhoo. Most of the fish have been caught just north of the Nipple, with several large dolphin and the occasional wahoo coming in as well.
Jamie, of Seagate Charters, reports that redfish are biting well throughout the area, with the biggest fish hanging out in area inlets. Live baits are producing the most action.
Flounder are biting strong all over the place, from the inshore creeks out to the nearshore reefs. Bucktails and Fathom scented baits are drawing just as many strikes as live baits, so pick your poison.
Some speckled trout are taking an interest in topwater baits, but the trick is to get out onto the water in the early morning.
Spanish mackerel have been dependable up and down the beach, with traditional spoon and planer setups (in addition to casting jigs) putting the most fish in the boat.
Trevor, of ProFishNC Charters, reports that inshore fishing is good when concentrating on creek mouths during lower tides, but a lot of weekend boat traffic can make it hard to get in a good, calm spot.
Fishing whole blue crabs on the jetties has produced some huge sheepshead.
Nearshore flounder fishing has picked up, with Carolina-rigged finger mullet being key. Drifting over the 2-5 mile live bottom areas has produced a lot of flatties and a few small cobia.
Spanish mackerel are active in 28-45’ of water, while kings are in the 5-15 mile range. There has been an incredibly strong banded rudderfish bite between 3-5 miles.
Rick, of Living Waters Guide Service, reports that nearshore fishing for spanish has been productive in 30’ of water, and there are still kings just about everywhere, with fish ranging from 8-35 lbs. The kings are zoning in on live menhaden.
Offshore fishing has been hit or miss, with mahi and billfish coming from the Steeples and Same Ole areas. Looking for weeds and color change will increase your chances of finding a fish.
Bottom fishing has been productive. The deeper you go, the more species you’ll find. In depths of 100’+, you’ll find reds, gags, pinkies, scamps, grunts, beeliners, and triggers. Squid and cigar minnows are producing the most bites.
Skylar, of Johnnie Mercers Pier, reports that flounder, red and black drum, and spanish mackerel have all been coming in. The flatties and reds (which have been slot to over-slot) have been eating mud minnows and shrimp. The black drum are biting at night, but a lot of sharks have been chasing them around so reel the fish in quick.
The spanish have only been biting strong when the water is cool (such as after the most recent rain), and from about two hours before sundown throughout the night.