Wrightsville Beach – November 15, 2018
Matt, of Tex’s Tackle, reports that small speckled trout have been just about everywhere for the last few weeks, which is a great sign. There are keepers mixed in, and sizes should only get better as the weather gets colder and bait gets moving. Currently, schools of fish can be found moving into the inlets and working their way through the ICW toward creeks and marshes. Z-Man, Gulp, and Blue Water Candy soft plastics have all been getting bites, especially when using colors like opening night, bad shad, and Christmas tree in clear water, and then electric chicken or chartreuse in dirty water. MirrOlure MR-17s and 18s have also been working, as have topwaters both early and late in the day.
Flounder fishing has been productive in the inlets and backs of area creeks, where bucktails, Gulp baits, and live mullet are all drawing strikes. Schools of slot red drum are starting to move off the flats, and they can now best be found in the deeper water around docks or other structure. Fishing for black drum and sheepshead around docks has been successful as well.
The surf has been giving up plenty of reds, flounder, bluefish, and the occasional speck on cut mullet. Sand fleas, fresh shrimp, or bloodworm Fishbites have been fooling big pompano, black drum, sea mullet, and a few spot. Big red drum are still biting on the south end.
Getting outside the inlets has been tough, but there are plenty of kings to be caught along the beach and on structure in the 10 mile range. There are still a few schools of false albacore around, too.
Nearshore ARs are holding flounder and gray trout, which can be caught on live bait or Gulp-tipped bucktails, while gags and black sea bass are now being caught closer to the beach in greater numbers. Live pinfish and live or frozen cigar minnows are all working well.
Wahoo should be thick in the Gulf Stream, though very few boats have been able to make it out. Using high speed trolling lures to locate the fish and then switching to a ballyhoo spread and traditional trolling plugs should do the trick, especially in a nice temperature break.
Bigger blackfin tuna should be around as well, in addition to sailfish.
Arlen, of Intracoastal Angler, reports that there has been no shortage of speckled trout throughout the area, and weeding through the throwbacks to find a keeper has been tough. Using larger lures such as 5” swimbaits, full-sized MirrOlures, and Top Dogs has helped deter some of the smaller fish, especially when used around points, deeper marsh banks, and drop-offs. At the Masonboro jetties, live shrimp on slip float rigs has also brought in some bigger specks.
Red drum fishing remains strong in the backwaters, with Gulp and Z-Man baits producing the most fish. Flounder fishing in the inlets has brought in flatties (up to 6 lbs.), with finger mullet serving as the best bait.
Surf fishing has been steadily improving, with good catches of both red and black drum, sea mullet (up to 2 lbs.), and a few pompano all being reported. Deeper stretches along south Wrightsville during higher tidal stages has been best.
Warmer water temperatures have improved catches of blues, spanish mackerel, and false albacore along the beachfront, especially when casting jigs around schools of glass minnows.
Offshore reports have been few and far between, but the gag grouper fishing has been the best between 75-80’. Kings have been caught in the 15 mile range, mainly on cigar minnows.
Gulf Stream fishing has produced a few wahoo, blackfin tuna, and sailfish on skirted ballyhoo. Most of the action has occurred to the north, from the Nipple to the Swansboro Hole.
Jamie, of Seagate Charters, reports that fishing around Wrightsville Beach continues to be strong, with speckled trout, flounder, and red drum all being caught.
The specks are falling for a number of artificial baits, including Rapala hard plastics and Blue Water Candy, Z-Man, and DOA soft plastics. Flounder and red drum are also falling for plastics, while the reds will chase cut bait, too.
Trevor, of ProFishNC Charters, reports that trout season is in full swing, and plenty of fish are being caught. The trout are chasing jig heads rigged with just about any plastic, popping corks, and hard baits. Fishing slow and in good current will make the difference.
Some large flounder have pushed in, with live finger mullet or jigs fished on the bottom providing the best catches.
Nearshore, the king mackerel bite is excellent between 7-12 miles, and bottom fishing between 2-10 miles has produced good numbers of black sea bass and grunts.
Rick, of Living Waters Guide Service, reports that nearshore fishing has been productive lately, with false albacore, spanish and king mackerel, red drum, and bluefish all biting from the beach out to the 65’ range. Look for bait to find the predatory fish.
Offshore trolling has been rough for the most part, but when conditions allow, you can find blackfin tuna, wahoo, and sailfish on the break from 150-350’. Look for bait over structure and current edges to get a bite.
The offshore bottom has produced normal catches of grunts, sea bass, pinkies, vermilion snapper, and triggerfish, along with scamps and gag grouper from 90-130’ of water.
Donny, of Johnnie Mercers Pier, reports a lot of 40-44” red drum have been hanging out under the pier, as well as plenty of bluefish, spanish mackerel, flounder, and Virginia mullet. Cut bait has been the most popular method of getting bites.