Morehead City/Atlantic Beach – April 25, 2019
Matt, of Chasin’ Tails Outdoors, reports that red drum fishing has been decent, with a lot of rat reds in the marsh and the occasional bigger fish mixed in. At this point, it’s just a matter of finding the fish. The Core Creek and Haystacks areas have been great places to start looking. Try live minnows or dead shrimp on the bottom when fishing structure, and gold spoons when the reds are in the shallows.
The speckled trout bite remains strong in any creek with some depth. Live mud minnows and paddletail artificials are both getting attention.
In the surf, pufferfish have been abundant. Bottom rigs tipped with bait shrimp have been working wonders. More sea mullet are swimming through the area, biting on the same rigs. Bluefish are showing up in better numbers from Fort Macon down to the Double Tree, and choppers should be here soon. Finger mullet and cut mullet fished on Sea Striker Bluefish Rigs will produce bites.
Gray trout have moved into the nearshore waters and are thick around the rail road tracks, port wall, and the inlet. ARs are also holding fish, with AR-285 and AR-315 both serving as great places to look for action. Some of the trout have been up to 4 lbs.
Blues are also cruising the ARs, and if you can get a bucktail past them and down to the bottom, you may be able to pick up a flounder as well.
Sea mullet are still biting around the 18-19 Buoy area and back toward the Turning Basin. The low current just before high or low tide seems to entice the mullet to bite.
False albacore have been thick around Cape Lookout and inside the Hook. Look for birds or busting fish to find your target, and then fish with small glass minnow jigs to bring them in.
Offshore, wahoo fishing continues to produce, with 70+ lb. fish still being caught from the Swansboro Hole all the way up to the Big Rock. The key to finding the ‘hoos is to find a strong temperature break and start trolling ballyhoo behind a planer.
Blackfin and yellowfin tuna are also available in the same areas.
Bottom fishing has been great, with lots of triggerfish biting in depths of 150-200’. Along with the triggers, there have been beeliners, amberjacks, grouper, and sea bass. Squid wings and mackerel have been the baits of choice for all species.
Cody, of Freeman’s Bait & Tackle, reports that speckled and gray trout are abundant, though not in any good sizes. There have been a few red and black drum scattered here and there, with the reds schooled up on Shackleford Banks and out toward the Cape.
Bluefish in the 1-3 lb. range have shown up just off the beach, where anglers are catching them from the piers, the beach, and in boats. The sea mullet bite has slacked off, though there are still some big fish here and there. Puffers are sporadic, and spanish are just now starting to appear.
False albacore and bonito are out at the Hook at the Cape.
The Big 10 and Little 10 are both holding king mackerel in the 10-15 lb. range. A single cobia was caught in the same area by an angler targeting the kings.
Offshore, trolling anglers are having great luck with wahoo and blackfin tuna, with a few yellowfin tuna mixed in.
Chris, of Mount Maker Charters, reports that red drum and both gray and speckled trout are all biting inside. The creeks, Beaufort Inlet, and the Turning Basin have all been the best spots to look.
The nearshore ARs are holding false albacore and a few Atlantic bonito in areas between 45-70’ of water. Keeper black sea bass have been on the bottom in the same areas.
Gulf Stream fishing has produced good numbers of wahoo and blackfin tuna, along with a few yellowfins. Dolphin are starting to show up in better numbers as well.
Dave, of Cape Lookout Charters, reports that in the bay and sounds, the redfish bite has been steady, with mullet serving as the go-to bait. Black drum and sheepshead have been available around the port walls and high rise bridges, with crabs and fresh shrimp working to get their attention.
On the beaches at Cape Lookout, big bluefish between 8-12 lbs. are hitting topwater baits, and big red drum anywhere from 25-50 lbs. are slamming 2 oz. bucktails. False albacore, bonito, and spanish mackerel are all biting trolled spoons and casted lures.
Justin, of Breakday Charters, reports that some flounder are showing up inshore, though the most consistent bite has been in the ocean within 80’ of water. Z-Man and Gulp plastics on 2 oz. bucktails will get their attention.
There are plenty of gray trout swimming in the deep water and strong current around inshore structure and nearshore ARs. Jigs (such as 2 oz. Peppermint Patty Breakday Flatfish Jigs) should get the job done.
There are a lot of 1-2 lb. bluefish along the Cape and in the inlets. The outgoing current will get them going, where jigs (3/4 to 1.5 oz.) will draw strikes.
Schoolie kings are stacking up on structure in the 70-80’ depth range. Trolling spoons or dead bait rigs with cigar minnows will get in on the action.
Tom, of Dancin’ Outlaw, reports that wahoo and yellowfin tuna fishing has been great in the 40-50 fathom range, with medium ballyhoo producing the most bites. Dolphins in the 10-15 lb. range, with a few over 25 lbs., are starting to show up from the Big Rock to the Rise.
Larry, of Oceanana Pier, reports that the sea mullet bite has been strong at night, and bluefish are biting Gotcha plugs.