Fish Post

Morehead City/Atlantic Beach – August 1, 2019

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Matt, of Chasin’ Tails, reports that spanish mackerel are still being caught from the inlet to Cape Lookout. Trolling Clarkspoons on #1 planers has been boating the best numbers, but casting Spanish Candy and similar jigs is landing surface-feeding fish.

King mackerel fishing has been very good in the area. The larger fish have more often come from live bottom areas east of the Cape, but kings (up to 40 lbs.) are scattered all along the ARs. Dead bait rigs and Mac-A-Hoos with cigar minnows have been the most successful setups.

Flounder fishing at the ARs has been consistent for anglers jigging bucktails rigged with 4” Gulp shrimp.

Offshore anglers are reporting a good mix of yellowfin, blackfin, and wahoo. Dolphin are scattered everywhere from the Big Rock inside to the NW Places, and with the water so hot, keeping an eye out for the correct conditions has been more important than distance.

Bottom fishing has been producing grouper, black sea bass, triggerfish, and snapper while fishing cut baits around hard bottoms.

Inshore anglers have been hooking large sheepshead with live urchins and fiddler crabs around high rise bridges and barnacle-covered docks.

Speckled trout are being caught on live baits fished under slip corks. Focusing on deeper holes around docks and rocks has been very productive in getting bites. Some fish are holding on grass banks in the marsh, but as the sun gets hotter in the day, they push away and into deeper holes.

Redfish numbers have been hit or miss, more so due to scattered bait and smaller schools attributed with mid-summer conditions. The next few weeks should have some bait schooling up more, and then anglers will notice the drum doing the same.

Andrew Steagall and Dillon Holder, of Sanford, NC, with a mix of king mackerel and dolphin caught trolling dead cigar minnows on Mac-A-Hoo’s at the North West places out of Beaufort inlet.

Cody, of Freeman’s Bait and Tackle, reports that large gray trout (up to 5 lbs.) are being caught while jigging at the nearshore ARs.

Citation-sized flounder are around this same structure, and they’re hitting bucktails and Carolina-rigged live baits.

Free-lining and slow-trolling live baits has been producing some huge spanish mackerel (in the 6 lb. range).

Structure and live bottoms in the 80’ depths have been producing triggerfish, legal black sea bass, and vermilion snapper on cut baits.

The offshore bite has continued to focus on dolphin, as they seem most concentrated in the 25 mile range. Trolling along weed lines with skirted ballyhoo is proving to be successful in catching some of the larger fish.

Scattered blackfin tuna are mixed in for anglers pulling lines out past the temperature break.

Wahoo fishing has been a bit slow, but the fish caught have been good-sized (up to 40 lbs.).

Billfish are scattered out in deeper water, with the bite being inconsistent.


Chris, of Mount Maker Charters, reports that large spanish and kings are staged up at the ARs, and they’re hitting live baits.

Flounder are being caught by jigging bucktails with soft plastic trailers around structure.

Bottom fishing in the 60-80’ range has been producing keeper black sea bass, amberjacks, almaco jacks, grouper, and vermilion snapper.

A good number of triggerfish are being caught with squid around live bottom areas in the 80-100’ range.

Inshore anglers have seen some great speckled trout fishing early and late in the day, with some trips catching double-digit numbers.

A few red drum are mixed in with the specks, though most have split up into their smaller, summertime schools.

Joe Elmore, fromGreensboro, NC, with a 27” red drum caught while fishing the slough in Atlantic Beach with Brack Massey, of Greenville, NC, and Scott Canossa, of Charleston, SC. The fish ate fresh cut whiting on a two-hook bottom rig.

Dave, at Cape Lookout Charters, reports that the bluefish bite has been great from just inside the inlet out to two miles. Trolling Clarkspoons behind a planer and casting jigs are both being productive.

Anglers have been finding limits of good-sized spanish mackerel from the beach out to 5 miles. Trolling spoons has been catching a lot of fish, but live baits have seemed to hook-up with the larger specimens.

Red drum are biting well in the sounds, and working soft plastics in the deeper marsh holes has been successful in finding these smaller groups of fish.

A few speckled trout are around in the early mornings, with most being caught up closer to the rivers.

Flounder are inshore and biting Carolina-rigged finger mullet.


Justin, at Breakday Charters, reports that kings and citation-sized spanish are being caught while free-lining and slow-trolling live baits around nearshore ARs.

Bucktails have been producing limits of good-sized flounder when anglers can get right on top of a small group of fish. Most have been tight to structure, so if you’re getting snags, it’s most likely the right area.

Huge gray trout (up to 26”) are being caught at ARs while jigging Spanish Candy and other glass minnow-style jigs.

Some bluefish are out near the ARs, but better numbers have been caught just inside the inlet while casting jigs to feeding schools.

Inshore anglers have been catching good numbers of slot-sized red drum in the marsh with topwater plugs and soft plastics.

Flounder are staged on ledges and deeper holes from the inlet up into the marshy areas around North River and the Haystacks. Carolina-rigged live baits are best when looking for a keeper flatfish.


Tom, of Dancin’ Outlaw, reports that wahoo have made a good showing in the last week, with anglers hooking up while pulling skirted ballyhoo under a planer.

The mahi bite has stayed consistent. Grass lines and patties are key in finding good numbers of fish (as the mahi scatter in the hot nearshore waters).

Some blackfin tuna and large king mackerel are mixed in around the mahi.

Anglers headed deep have had success in catching swordfish.


Larry, of Oceanana Pier, reports that sea mullet and croaker have been biting well for anglers bottom fishing with shrimp and Fishbites strips.

Bluefish fishing has been great, with both Gotcha plugs and cut baits hooking fish.

Days with clear water have seen the spanish mackerel pushing within casting distance for those anglers setup with Gotcha plugs.

Fishing in the early morning has seen a mid-season run of speckled trout when fishing holes closer to the breakers with soft plastics.