Fish Post

Wrightsville Beach – Sep 13, 2018

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Matt, of Tex’s Tackle, reports that red drum fishing has remained productive and there are consistent numbers of keeper flounder being caught inshore. Schools of slot reds have been working the flats behind the islands, while over-slot fish are out in the ocean and near the inlets. Topwaters, gold spoons, Gulps, Z-Man jerk shads, and live bait have all been producing bites.
Speckled trout have started to bite more consistently, and black drum and sheepshead are hanging around ICW structure, where fiddler crabs, sand fleas, and shrimp should all entice a bite.
Surf fishing has been improving, with sea mullet, bluefish, small pompano, croaker, and black drum all coming from the beachfront. Shrimp, cut mullet, salted clams, and Fishbites are all good bait choices, while live finger mullet will give a better shot at a flounder or red. Casting jigs will fool any bluefish or spanish patrolling the shore, and night anglers should stay busy with an abundance of sharks, rays, and the occasional redfish.
On the nearshore wrecks, flounder fishing remains productive, and there have been schools of big reds and gray trout moving through the same areas. Live mullet or pogies on a Carolina rig are hard to beat, but bucktail/Gulp jigging has been productive as well.
The spanish bite has been fantastic, with some citation-sized fish in the mix. They’re attacking the usual spoons, lures, and baits, with the bigger fish hitting live bait.
A handful of cobia have been seen and caught recently, and a few tarpon have been around as well.
King fishing has been strong near structure from 5-25+ miles off the beach. Blue Water Candy Wedgies with dead cigar minnows, squid, or small ballyhoo have been producing a lot of bites, with live bluefish and menhaden producing the biggest fish. Scattered mahi and sailfish have been in similar areas, with the best fishing remaining between 20-30 miles out.
Gags can be found on ledges in the 15+ mile range, along with sea bass, porgies, and grunts. It’s worth putting out a cigar minnow or whole squid on a light line for mahi and king mackerel while you’re bottom fishing. Scamps, red grouper, beeliners, and triggerfish have all been biting in the 30+ mile range.
Gulf Stream fishing has been improving, with blackfin tuna and wahoo making up the majority of the catch. Blue marlin, white marlin, and sailfish are still a possibility if you’re putting teasers in the spread. Ilander Trackers, Sea Witches, and JR Ilanders are all producing strikes.
Bottom anglers are finding grouper, amberjack, snapper, and triggerfish on the deep sea bottom.

Keith Harabin with a gag grouper that was caught on a jig in 90′ of water off of Wrightsville Beach.

Arlen, of Intracoastal Angler, reports that trout fishing has started to pick up, with the best bites occurring early in the morning and late in the evening. Fishing topwater baits and Yo-Zuri shrimp has produced fish up to 22”. Marsh islands and deeper ICW oyster banks have been productive on the falling tide.
Flounder fishing has been great when using Carolina-rigged live mullet and menhaden. Throwing 3DS Minnows and Skitterwalks around lighted bridges and docks has brought in plenty of ladyfish at night, while docks and bridge pilings along Banks Channel have been giving up some big sheepshead and flounder.
Drum fishermen along the jetties have reported fish up to 40”, with cut mullet and small live baits on the bottom doing most of the damage.
Red drum continue to be caught along area flats on topwaters, gold spoons, and jerk baits.
Spanish fishing along the beachfront has been excellent, with 00 Clarkspoons and very small casting jigs accounting for most of the bites, as the fish have been feeding on very small rain bait.
The nearshore reefs and wrecks (especially the 5 Mile Boxcar and John’s Creek) are producing flounder up to 5 lbs.
Kings (up to 30+ lbs.) are biting live bait, and a few sailfish have been found in the 10-20 mile range.
Bottom fishing has been strong in the 15-25 mile range, with the best action being found south of WR4. Black sea bass, gags, and grunts have made up the majority of the catch. Red and scamp grouper, along with some triggers, have been coming from ledges just inshore of the break.
The Stream has been slow, with nothing more than a few wahoo, blackfin, and the occasional sailfish coming in.

Jamie, of Seagate Charters, reports that flounder fishing remains solid both inside and out, with live bait producing the most bites. Red drum (most of them over-slot) are chewing hard in area inlets, as well as on the tidal flats and in backwater creeks.
Speckled trout have made a strong showing, with DOA, Z-Man, and Blue Water Candy soft plastics getting the nod, as well as topwater lures such as the Excalibur Spook.
Spanish and the occasional king mackerel can be found just outside of the local inlets.

Trevor, of ProFishNC Charters, reports that the false albacore have shown up in force, with a lot of fish swimming inside the inlets due to the fall bait migration. The mullet are running south and there are plenty of them, so now is a good time to brine and freeze bait for the winter.
If you get on the water before sunrise, trout have been lurking in the low light and hitting topwater lures.
A few cobia have shown up, but not in any serious numbers.
With the east wind, triggerfish have shown up in catchable numbers within 5 miles, where they’ll be stacked up on the bottom. Use smaller stout hooks tipped with squid, albacore skin, etc.

Crystal Babson with a red drum that she pulled from the waters near Sunset Beach using a soft plastic on a Fathom Inshore jighead.

Rick, of Living Waters Guide Service, reports that nearshore fishing has been productive thanks to a strong showing from spanish, kings, false albacore, and flounder on and around the nearshore wrecks.
Bottom fishing has been good (but not great) in the 80-120’ range, with gags, grunts, sea bass, and pinkies coming over the rails.
Offshore fishing has been slow on the troll due to some really hot water. The catch has consisted primarily of a few wahoo and some billfish.
Bottom fishing has been excellent, however, with the break producing scamps, gags, and amberjacks in the 220-350’ range.

Donny, of Johnnie Mercers Pier, reports that pier anglers are finding spanish, blues, a few kings, some flounder, some black drum (in the late afternoon), and a couple of red drum.
Flounder are biting mullet and mud minnows, while dead shrimp has been pulling up the reds. Gotcha plugs have been working for the spanish and blues, and throwing a live bluefish back out can attract the kings.