Hatteras/Ocracoke – September 12, 2019
Ryan, of Hatteras Jack, reports that sound-side anglers have been doing great finding speckled trout along grass lines and in deeper channels. Soft plastics fished on 1/4 oz. jig heads have been the most productive when targeting the bottom half of the water column. When fishing oyster beds and shallower edges of flats, popping corks have been better for generating bites.
Slot and puppy drum are in these same areas and can be expected to hit the same baits.
Flounder are around, though most have been short.
Bottom fishing the surf has been very steady, with sea mullet, spot, and pompano all hitting shrimp, sand fleas, and bloodworms. The classic two-hook rig is great, but anglers are giving rave reviews about rattle rigs.
Bluefish are hitting both cut baits and casting jigs.
Jim, of Rodanthe Pier, reports that bottom fishing has been steady, with anglers seeing a mix of sea mullet, croakers, spadefish, and spot while using fresh shrimp and bloodworms.
Bluefish are being caught on Gotcha plugs and cut bait fished on the bottom.
Spanish mackerel fishing has been hit or miss. Days with nice, clean water are seeing more fish caught. This is most likely due to the schools being visible to anglers sight-casting Gotcha plugs.
Heather, of Frank and Fran’s, reports that spanish mackerel are hitting Gotcha plugs, Stingsilvers, and similar glass minnow style casting jigs from the surf. Anglers are finding that getting on the sand early morning or later in the afternoon (before and after the crowds) as being more productive in locating fish within casting range.
Bluefish are schooled up and feeding on bait balls inside the breakers. When not surface feeding, they are being caught by those fishing Carolina-rigged cut mullet.
Good-sized pompano (up to 3 lbs.) are hitting sand fleas fished in deeper drop-offs just off the sand.
Sea mullet and croakers are being hooked with bottom rigs tipped with shrimp, bloodworms, and sand fleas.
Kristen, of Avon Pier, reports that spanish mackerel fishing has been very good for anglers casting Gotcha plugs and glass minnow jigs towards feeding schools. These fish have been tearing up the smaller baits and glass minnows, so matching bait size has helped strike numbers.
Sea mullet are being caught with shrimp and Fishbites strips on bottom rigs.
Pompano are closer to the breakers, and they’re hitting sand fleas on smaller hooks.
Cameron, of Frisco Tackle, reports that bottom fishing from the surf has been good, though rough water as of recent has the number of anglers down. Sea mullet, spot, flounder, and pompano are all hitting shrimp.
A few scattered red drum have been caught from the beach with Carolina-rigged mullet, and bluefish have been tearing up cut baits.
A few spanish are around, and the surf settling down should see the return of good numbers of fish.
Lee, of Teach’s Lair, reports that offshore anglers have found a nice push of mahi in the area, with many boats returning with double-digit numbers.
Some large wahoo are mixed in, and anglers anticipate seeing numbers rise in the coming weeks.
Large king mackerel are hanging around structure in the 15+ mile range. Trolling dead bait rigs with cigar minnows has been the most successful method.
Bottom fishing around these same reefs and ledges has been producing triggerfish, amberjack, and large black sea bass.
Closer to the beach, anglers are trolling and casting spoons and jigs to the large numbers of spanish mackerel and bluefish in the area. Though many of these fish have been smaller (up to 3 lbs.), some large spanish (up to 6 lbs.) are hanging around structure a few miles out.
Surf fishing has been focused on the bottom feeders. Anglers are casting shrimp and sand fleas and hooking up with pompano and sea mullet.
Casting jigs has been landing some spanish mackerel and bluefish, with most of both being caught early in the day.
Joey, of Fingeance Sportfishing, reports that anglers are catching great numbers of speckled trout while casting Z-Man soft plastics towards grass lines and oyster beds. Fishing baits on naked 1/4 oz. jig heads has been working best, but anglers are also catching fish while using popping cork rigs.
Cobia are hanging around in the sound, with some good-sized fish hitting cut bait fished on the bottom in deeper holes and channels. When spotting fish around buoys, casting bucktails with 6” soft plastic trailers has been more productive.
There are a lot of good-sized spanish mackerel and bluefish being caught while trolling spoons and casting Stingsilvers.
Jeremy, of Calypso Sportfishing, reports that wahoo fishing is starting to pick up while trolling skirted baits out in the Stream.
A few large blackfin tuna are mixed in the counts, though numbers aren’t consistent.
Anglers have been keeping an eye out for grass patties and other flotsam that has been holding mahi. Approaching the area slowly and immediately chumming baits when spotting fish has been bringing in slinger and bailer-sized fish.
Closer to the beach, large spanish mackerel are being caught in great numbers for those trolling spoons. A few small king mackerel are mixed in around the spanish.
Jessie, of Carolina Girl Sportfishing, reports that many trips have been finding close to limits of mahi while working weed lines.
Wahoo fishing is getting more consistent as the weeks push on towards the fall season.
Mixed in with the wahoo are blackfin tuna and huge false albacore, with both species being picked off one or two at a time (not in large schools).
Bottom fishing anglers are catching citation grouper at offshore wrecks and rocks.