Ocean Isle/Holden Beach – April 11, 2019
Jeff, of Ocean Isle Fishing Center, reports that trout are still plentiful, with a handful of keepers coming in from the backwaters.
Redfish are breaking up out of their winter schools and getting settled into their favorite spring/summer holes, where they’re eager to hit jerk baits or fresh shrimp with the heads on.
April is the best time to find Virginia mullet, and using fresh shrimp on a double drop rig should connect with the fish.
Brant, of Ocean Isle Fishing Center, reports that water temperatures have been in the low- to mid-60s, and Atlantic bonito, bluefish, and spanish mackerel are all showing up in depths of 35-50’. Look for birds and signs of bait to find the fish.
School kings have been biting in 80-90’ of water, and they’re hitting everything from dead cigar minnows to spoons and jigs.
Sea bass are still biting in the same depth range, although the key to finding them is to find places not too beat up from pressure.
Wahoo fishing has been red hot at the Blackjack Hole, and mahi will be in the same area soon.
Kevin, of Rigged & Ready Bait & Tackle, reports that not much has changed over the last few weeks.
Slot reds are being caught on Gulp shrimp, Bass Assassins, mud minnows, and cut shrimp along oyster beds and ICW docks, especially those close to creek mouths on the falling tide. Topwater action is continuing to heat up for the reds and speckled trout as well.
Whiting are hitting cut shrimp on the falling tide at area river mouths.
Black sea bass are thick in the 45-65’ range, with a few flounder mixed in with the occasional bluefish and bull red. Cut baits and bucktails are doing the most damage.
Offshore, king mackerel are swimming around Frying Pan Tower when the water temperature is between 65-70 degrees. Slow-trolled cigar minnows work well for the kings, as do Drone spoons and Sea Witches.
The wahoo bite is strong in the Gulf Stream, and big blackfin tuna are all over the Steeples. Ballyhoo on Sea Witches and small trolling feathers will fool both species.
Tripp, of Capt’n Hook Outdoors, reports that the trout bite has been as good as it gets, with lots of citation fish being caught. Most of the fish are being landed with live shrimp and Trout Tricks. The biggest fish are swimming in depths of 12-15’.
Over-slot reds (mostly in the 28-30” range) have been mixed in with the trout.
The black drum bite has improved. They’re being caught with fresh dead shrimp around docks in the ICW on the lower tides.
Offshore, the wahoo bite has been strong along the break, with several fish over 80 lbs. being caught. Most of the wahoo are being hooked on ballyhoo behind darker colors.
There have been some stray blackfins mixed in, and bottom fishing has been productive in the 100’ range.
Tim, of Tideline Charters, reports that fishing has been good. Trout have been falling for live shrimp (when you can find them) under a slip cork. Most of the specks have been in the 22-26” range. Fishing deep water structure and the jetty rocks has produced the most fish. Smaller 15-16” fish have been holding on deeper creek banks with good current.
Schooled up black drum and red drum in the lower-slot range can be caught on shell banks and around dock structure with fresh dead shrimp. Upper- to over-slot reds have been landed in the same areas as the bigger trout, with live shrimp working the best.
Flounder are starting to show up, and while most of them are still small, a few keepers have been mixed in. White and chartreuse Gulp shrimp fished low and slow on a 3/16 oz. jig head near creek mouths have been bringing in the flatties.
Kyle, of Speckulator Fishing Charters, reports that trout fishing has continued to be strong throughout the area. The fish are a variety of sizes depending on the spot that you’re fishing, with a lot of 12-14” spikes around, but plenty of 15-18” trout as well. Some 7+ lb. fish have also been caught. They are biting topwater lures when conditions are right, as well as swimbaits and shrimp imitations. Live shrimp and mud minnows have been producing, when you can find live bait.
Over-slot reds have been chewing at the Little River jetties, while undersized and slot fish are being caught under ICW docks.
Some black drum have been mixed in with the reds. Live or cut shrimp, or chunks of crab, have been working when fished on the bottom.
Flounder are starting to show up, with the early season areas like Tubbs Inlet and Cherry Grove beginning to produce some keepers. The usual Carolina-rigged mud minnow is the go-to bait, though the flatties are also hitting the artificial baits that are being thrown for trout.
Cecil, of Rod and Reel Shop, reports that the trout bite has been fantastic, with fish anywhere from barely legal to 18-19” being pulled from the backwaters. Grubs in electric chicken or white have been productive. MirrOlures have also been attractive, and live shrimp under a float rig is always a good choice.
Redfish have been biting live bait.
Flounder are starting to make an appearance, with a flattie as big as 27” coming from a creek just off the ICW.
Big blues are starting to invade the ICW as well, and overall, fishing is really starting to pick up.
Donny, of Ocean Isle Beach Fishing Pier, reports that since the pier has reopened, whiting and bluefish are being caught.