Ocean Isle/Holden Beach – August 1, 2019
Jeff, of Ocean Isle Fishing Center, reports that the key right now is to find the cleanest water that you can. Getting into the ICW at the halfway point between two inlets, where there isn’t much tidal flow, seems to be the best tactic.
Redfish, black drum, trout, flounder and even the occasional sheepshead are hanging around the area. Live shrimp and live mullet minnows fished various ways (on Carolina rigs, on light jig heads, and under a float) have found the bite.
The bait is thick almost everywhere right now, so the predator fish can order a happy meal just about anywhere. Throw as many of the shrimp as you can into the cleanest water you can find, and you’re likely to bring up some nice black drum, flounder, and trout.
Brant, of Ocean Isle Fishing Center, reports that the spanish mackerel that were biting near the beach have moved to deeper water and are now a lot harder to find.
Flounder are biting at local reefs and nearshore bottoms.
Kings are showing up decently in 65’ of water, but the fishing is better in depths beyond that.
Bottom fishing has stayed consistent. Use live bait in depths of 85-110’ of water and you’ll be good to go.
Kevin, of Rigged and Ready Charters, reports that several slot redfish are being caught on mud minnows and cut shrimp along the docks in the ICW. The redfish bite has also been steady around deeper holes near the inlets, and redfish in general are mainly biting live shrimp on float rigs.
The flounder bite is on fire. Most of the flatties are in the 17-20” range, and the majority of them have been hitting live peanut pogies.
Specks have been chewing on live shrimp and Carolina-rigged mullet, and most of the trout have been between 16-18”.
Off the beach, the spanish mackerel bite has slowed down, but you can still come across the occasional fish when trolling Clarkspoons behind planers.
Flounder are making a decent showing on the nearshore reefs, where live mullet and Gulp-tipped bucktails will attract attention.
A little further offshore, the king mackerel are biting in the 65’ range, and expect them to move even deeper as the fresh water continues to push offshore. Most of the kings have been in the 10-15 lb. range, but some have been even bigger. The bigger kings are eating live bait, but if you’re going for quantity, you can’t beat dead cigar minnows.
The black sea bass are thick in the 45-60’ range.
Trip, of Capt’n Hook Outdoors, reports that the red drum bite has been steady inshore around docks and deeper holes near oyster beds, with most fish in the 20-22” range. The redfish are eating anything you put in front of them.
The speckled trout have been biting well near the inlets, with most of the action coming on live shrimp and live finger mullet.
The flounder bite is heating up,. The flatfish have primarily been falling for Carolina rigged mullet, and most fish are in the 15-18” range.
The inshore fishing in general has been the best around the higher tide stages, with some very clear water pushing in during each tide.
Offshore king mackerel are biting well in the 65-85’ range on dead cigar minnows and live pogies. There are barracudas everywhere, though, so catching them around wrecks has been tough.
Grouper are biting in 150-200’ of water, and the best bite has been on live pinfish or cigar minnows.
The Gulf Stream action is basically done and won’t pick back up again for the next couple of months.
Tim, of Tidelines Charters, reports that redfish have been eager to bite bigger baits, like the larger finger mullet and pogies fished on the bottom. Live shrimp have been plentiful to catch, but the pinfish have been eating them before the reds or trout can get to them. The larger mullet and pogies have worked better for bringing fish into the boat. The redfish have been biting well around big oyster beds on the rising tide in cleaner water.
Flounder are holding in deeper holes along grassy edges and deeper creek mouths with good current. The same baits for red drum have worked for flounder.
There are still some trout around, and they will fall for shrimp.
Kyle, of Speckulator Charters, reports that flounder fishing is good at the nearshore wrecks and artificial reefs. The backwaters have continued to produce good numbers of quality fish, too. Live menhaden fished on Carolina rigs have been accounting for most of the flatfish.
The speckled trout fishing remains good. Live shrimp continues to produce the most fish, but live menhaden and finger mullet will also generate some nice trout this time of the year, as will topwater lures when the conditions are right early in the morning and late in the evening.
Redfish have been mixed in on many of the same spots for flounder and trout. Packs of red drum may show up in a variety of areas, and they will readily take just about any live or cut bait.
Hard structure (such as dock pilings and bridges), as well as hard or rocky bottoms, are continuing to produce some nice sheepshead and black drum. Using live fiddler crabs or live shrimp fished tight to the structure is usually the best way to find success, and fishing this way will often produce some nice red drum as well.
Cecil, of Rod and Reel Shop, reports that trout, flounder, and drum are all still swimming and feeding in the backwaters.
Flounder are also making a decent showing on the nearshore reefs, where live mullet and Gulp-tipped bucktails will attract attention.
A few sheepshead have been pulled in from area waters around oyster shells, banks, and beds, and some big black drum are hitting Carolina-rigged live shrimp fished on the bottom under bridges and structure.
Kings and spanish have moved to deeper waters.
David, of Ocean Isle Beach Fishing Pier, reports that some drum, pompano, and the occasional flounder are being brought over the rails, along with plenty of croaker and whiting.