Fish Post

Northern Beaches – October 24, 2019

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Betty, of TW’s Bait and Tackle, reports that the northern beaches have been seeing the beginning of the annual fall trout run. Soft plastics and live baits fished in holes just outside the breakers are getting bites in the mornings. Puppy drum are in these same deeper holes, and they’re feeding on fresh Carolina-rigged mullet.

Bottom fishing the surf with shrimp or bloodworms is producing sea mullet and spot.

Fishing in the sounds has been excellent, with speckled trout being the top species. Anglers are catching limits of good-sized fish (up to 22”) while fishing topwater plugs, soft plastics, and suspending plugs (such as MirrOlures). Along the grass banks and near oyster beds have been the most productive areas.

Spanish mackerel are around in good numbers, with the bite picking up everyday as the cleaner water pushes back onto the beaches.

King mackerel are scattered from the beaches out to 20 miles. The bite hasn’t been on fire in one particular zone, but concentrated areas of bait are a great starting point.

Offshore anglers have been reporting scattered mahi around weed lines while trolling skirted ballyhoo and bailing cut baits into concentrations of fish under flotsam. Large wahoo (up to 50+ lbs.) are being caught on skirted baits and high speed plugs. A mix of blackfins and yellowfins are in the same areas as the wahoo.

Carly Gardill with a young puppy drum caught using live bait in the sound near Southern Shores, NC.

Bridgette, of Oregon Inlet Fishing Center, reports a mix of wahoo, blackfin tuna, yellowfin tuna, and dolphin are all being landed out at the temperature break.

Nearshore trips are enjoying good king mackerel numbers, with fish as close in as the beach.

For inshore fishing, speckled trout have been the star of the show. Grass banks from the inlet up towards Wanchese are holding fish for those casting soft plastics and MirrOlures.


Aaron, of Carolina Sunrise Charters, reports that sound-side anglers are seeing a great speckled trout bite. Working the grass banks and areas around oyster beds has been producing limits of fish, mostly from Z-Man soft plastics fished under corks. As these cold fronts have moved through, though, anglers are seeing the fish respond more often to MirrOlures.

This bite should just be starting (even though numbers have been showing for weeks now), and anglers anticipate a great fall season.

A few puppy drum are around, with most fish staged up on flats around the inlet.


Gerry, of Fishing Unlimited, reports that anglers on the Little Bridge are experiencing an outstanding speckled trout bite. Early mornings and evenings have been the best hours for quantity, with less fish popping up throughout the day. Gulp and Z-Man soft plastics have been the top producing baits when fished under 1/4 oz. jig heads, but a few trout are hitting cut baits as well.

Some smaller striped bass are falling for the same soft plastics, with most coming from around the pilings under the bridge.

Puppy drum are being caught on Carolina-rigged cut mullet and fresh shrimp.


Laurie, of Pirate’s Cove Marina, reports that anglers were pleased to find good numbers of yellowfin tuna show up. The slight drop in water temperatures may be the trigger that sees the late fall bite turn on.

Blackfin tuna are in the mix, and they’re hitting the same skirted baits, and a few boats returned with limits of bailer and a few gaffer-sized mahi.

Inshore anglers are reporting catching “slams” of fish, a mix of trout, red drum, striped bass, and flounder.


Andy, of Nags Head Pier, reports that anglers fishing soft plastics and shrimp early are landing some keeper speckled trout.

Bluefish are schooled up in good numbers, with Gotcha plugs getting a majority of the action.

As the weather settles, cleaner water will push back into the beaches, and anglers anticipate seeing a few more spanish mackerel show up. Smaller glass minnow jigs, Diamond jigs, and Gotcha plugs all work well when casting to these surface-feeding fish.

Bottom fishing has been producing spot, sea mullet, and pompano on a variety of baits.


Laurie, of Jennette’s Pier, reports that anglers fishing large cut baits have been landing some over-slot red drum (up to 40”). Puppy drum are also in the mix, and they’re hitting cut mullet fished closer to the beach.

Bottom fishing has been producing a mix of croakers, spot, pompano, and flounder.

Speckled trout are being landed in the mornings by anglers fishing soft plastics and Carolina-rigged baits.

Bluefish are around in good numbers. They’re hitting cut baits and Gotcha plugs. Spanish mackerel fishing has been slow.


Justin, of Avalon Pier, reports that bottom fishing anglers are catching citation-class sea mullet while fishing sand fleas and shrimp.

A few pompano are mixed in, and they prefer the sand fleas fished closer to the beach.

Over-slot red drum (up to 30”) are being caught on fresh cut mullet fished on Carolina rigs.

Bluefish are hitting any casting jigs worked through surface-feeding schools.

Speckled trout are in the area, and anglers should anticipate more being caught as the surf settles down.


John, of Bob’s Bait and Tackle, reports that bluefish are being caught in good numbers in the surf with cut baits and glass minnow jigs, and bottom fishing has been producing a good mix of pompano, croakers, and sea mullet. Fishbites strips, shrimp, and sand fleas are all providing bites.

A few puppy drum and speckled trout are scattered on the northern beaches.

In the sounds, speckled trout fishing has been great. Soft plastics fished on jig heads and under popping corks are both generating limits of good-sized fish (up to 20”).


Keith, of Corolla Bait and Tackle, reports that bottom fishing has been hit or miss with the rough surf over the past week. Sea mullet and pompano are being caught in deeper areas of the wash with shrimp and sand fleas. As the water settles, anglers anticipate the bite picking back up and being more consistent.

Bluefish are being hooked around bait balls in the surf zone with casting jigs.

Inshore anglers are reporting great speckled trout fishing around grass banks closer to the inlet.