Fish Post

Carolina Beach – May 9, 2019

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Kevin, of Island Tackle and Hardware, reports that plenty of spanish mackerel and bonito are in the 2-5 mile range. Trolling Clarkspoons, as well as sight casting spoons and jigs, has worked for both species.

There have been a few flounder caught inside, but most of the fish that anglers are finding have been smaller fish. Mud minnows or shrimp on Carolina rigs (or Blue Water Candy jig heads) have been the most successful.

Croakers and decent-sized pompano have been caught off the piers.

Black drum are hanging around docks and oyster beds. Fresh shrimp seems to be the key bait.

King mackerel and cobia are starting to show around the 10 mile area, with most bites coming on live cigar minnows.

On structure and ledges in 80-200’ of water, there are snapper, sea bass, grouper, and beeliners chewing. Squid and cigar minnows have been the most successful baits for the bottom fish.

Gulf Stream fishing has been hot, with mahi and blackfin in good numbers, along with a few yellowfin and wahoo. Trolling skirted ballyhoo and smaller feathers is producing the best.

Bret Sigilo (middle) and friends, of St. James, with a 18 lb. gag grouper and an assortment of bottom fish. They were trolling cigar minnows 32 miles off of Carolina Beach near Frying Pan Tower with Capt. Rod Bierstedt, of OnMyWay Charters.

Christian, of Seahawk Inshore Fishing Charters, reports that smaller black drum are now plentiful in the creeks, along with a few keeper black drum. Using dead shrimp on a Carolina rig with a 3/4 oz. egg sinker seems to be working best. Dead shrimp on a jig head when the current is not too strong is a good option as well.

Red drum have become more common using the same tactics. Most of the reds have been under-slot or lower-slot, with some upper-slot fish mixed in (but not as common).

The trout bite has slowed down, but there are still a few fish around if you’re willing to work for them.

Spanish and bluefish have pushed onto the beaches and near the mouth of the Cape Fear River. Big Nic Spanish Candies have produced best when the fish are up top working glass minnows.


Luke, of Spot On Charters, reports that the spring fishing so far has been exceptional. Live bait has become abundant since waters are warming and clearing up. With the wind calming down, fishing conditions have been ideal.

Inshore red drum bites have been steadily increasing. The reds have started to get away from their schools and have become easier to find around docks. Live pogies, minnows, and fresh shrimp on a Carolina rig have persistently produced when fishing on the bottom.

Flounder are showing in better numbers and larger sizes now. Keeper flounder (mixed with gray trout) have been biting live bait up to 5 miles out.

The spanish mackerel action has been steady, and bonito are biting along with the spanish. Trolling #1-3 planers with gold Clarkspoons or pink Yo-Zuris have been deadly.

Nathaniel Pearson, age 12, proudly displaying a 19″ black drum he caught on fresh shrimp while fishing the north end of Carolina Beach.

Luke, of Coastline Charters, reports that just off the beach the spanish mackerel bite has exploded, and trolling Clarkspoons on a planer is producing good numbers. Atlantic bonito and false albacore are still in the mix, and do not count out a snake king as the water continues to warm up.

Inshore fishing remains decent. Red and black drum are feeding around docks and oyster bars. Fresh shrimp is getting harder to fish with since the invasion of pinfish. The focus now should be on mud minnows or fresh cut bait on a Carolina rig. Z-Man swimbaits on Blue Water Candy jig heads are also a great option for the reds and black drum.

Smaller speckled trout are feeding in area creeks, mixed with some bluefish. Z-Man soft baits and MirrOlure MR17s are working well, especially in the early mornings.

Sheepshead have started to bite in good numbers. Fishing deep oyster bars, docks, and bridges with live fiddler crabs on a Carolina rig are a good go-to.

Smaller flounder are starting to show up close to the inlets. Live bait or Z-Man soft plastics on Blue Water Candy jig heads are a deadly combination for the flatties.


Rod, of OnMyWay Charters, reports that the nearshore bite has been red hot lately, with big numbers of spanish from right off the beach out to 5 miles. Clarkspoons, Big Nic lures, and Yo-Zuri diving lures are all producing fish. Clarkspoons (#0 or #00) with a #1 planer is a deadly combination. Casting Blue Water Candy jigs is a productive option as well. A few juvenile king mackerel have been in the mix of nearshore spanish.

The king mackerel bite is exceptional in the 5-15 mile range. The larger (30”+) king mackerel are out in the 20+ mile range, and slow trolling dead cigar minnows or ballyhoo paired with a Blue Water Candy dead bait rig is sure to bring them to the boat.

Bottom fishing in the 25-30 mile range is hot. Black sea bass, pink snapper, beeliners, and grouper are all chewing. Fishing along ledges and structure using squid and cigar minnows has been the best way to produce.

The Gulf Stream mahi bite is on. When fishing near grass, make sure you get a good water shot. Don’t be afraid to get out to 600-1,000’ of water where the water temperatures are 78-80 degrees. The larger dolphin are out there.


Paul, of Kure Beach Pier, reports that several 20-30” king mackerel have been caught off the pier.

Anglers are also seeing plenty of bluefish, with sizes ranging from 1 lb. up to a few choppers. Gotcha plugs and cut bait has been producing.

The spanish mackerel bite has been on fire. Mackerel trees and Gotcha plugs are bringing the spanish in.

Mostly smaller flounder have been landed, but a few keepers have been found in the mix.