Ocean Isle/Holden Beach – July 4, 2019
Jeff, of Ocean Isle Fishing Center, reports that decent-sized finger mullet are finally here. Subsequently, the flounder bite has been epic, with fish biting stronger than they have in a long time. The flatties are happily taking finger mullet and mud minnows, with a few even falling for live shrimp.
Red drum have been scattered throughout the area, but your best chance of finding them is to fish live shrimp at creek mouths in the middle of the falling tide.
The black drum bite has slowed due to the water being so hot.
A lot of small trout have been around the inlets and the Little River jetties.
Sheepshead are still out there, and the Ocean Isle Bridge is the best place to search for these bait stealers.
Brant, of Ocean Isle Fishing Center, reports that spanish fishing has been excellent in depths of 25-35’. The king mackerel have been a little farther offshore, with most of the action in the 55-70’ range. Almost all of the fish that have been caught have been between 10-12 lbs.
Some mahi have been mixed in with the kings, especially in depths of 65+’.
On the bottom, summer is definitely in full swing, with all of the grouper and snapper biting in 100’ of water and deeper.
Kevin, of Rigged and Ready Charters, reports that the waters near the beach have been providing plenty of spanish mackerel and bluefish action, especially when trolling Clarkspoons. There have been a lot of summertime king mackerel in the 10-20 mile range, where cigar minnows or any type of live bait should produce bites.
Good grouper fishing can be found between 45-55 miles offshore, with the hot spots being in 90-110’ of water. While searching for the grouper, you’re likely to come across plenty of beeliners, triggers, black sea bass, amberjacks, grunts, and big American reds as well. Your top three choices for bait should be pinfish, cigar minnows, and menhaden.
Tripp, of Capt’n Hook Outdoors, reports that the inshore speckled trout bite has been very strong. Most of the specks are biting live shrimp on float rigs around bridges or structure. There are lots of 12-14” fish in schools, but anglers are also finding areas with fewer but bigger trout (in the 20-23” range).
The red drum bite has slowed, and the few fish that have come in have been in the 20-22” range.
The flounder bite has also slowed some, although most flounder landed have been keeper-sized (17-20”).
There are black drum being caught around docks on Carolina rigged live shrimp.
Off the beach in 50-80’ of water, king mackerel are biting steadily. Fishing live pogies around live bottoms or wrecks has been bringing the kings in. Cobia are still hanging around the nearshore wrecks, too, but there are now more throwbacks than there are keepers.
The grouper are hugging the bottom in 100-150’ of water. Most are chewing on live or dead pogies.
Tim, of Tideline Charters, reports that the water temperatures and weak tides have made fishing tough lately, but flounder, red drum, and trout are still biting.
Finger mullet has been a great bait to bring these fish in. Fishing mullet on a Carolina rig in the deeper edges of creeks will bring in the flounder, and it’s not uncommon to find redfish in the same areas as the flounder. Most of the reds are biting live shrimp near big oyster beds on low tide.
Drifting live shrimp along shell banks with good current has brought in the trout.
Kyle, of Speckulator Charters, reports that a few of the rainy, overcast days have produced some great conditions for catching speckled trout and redfish on topwater lures. However, when the sun has been out, the trout and reds have continued to bite, falling for live shrimp under floats very well (as they usually do).
Fishing structure (such as docks and bridges) has been producing a mixed bag of redfish, black drum, and sheepshead. Soaking live shrimp or chunks of crab on the bottom on a Carolina rig has been the way to go when targeting the summer mixed bag.
The flounder fishing continues to be quite consistent throughout the area. The key has been finding the right water conditions (clean/clear water) in areas that are historically known to produce flounder. Live menhaden fished on Carolina rigs have been producing the best, but when the menhaden have been difficult to find, mullet and mud minnows have been producing as well. Fishermen are beginning to find some nice flounder on some of the nearshore wrecks and artificial reefs as well.
The spanish mackerel fishing continues to be good along the beaches, once again, as long as there is clean water. Trolling spoons behind planers is the best way to catch strong numbers of spanish. Live baiting with small menhaden or mullet will produce less quantity but a larger class of spanish.
Cecil, of Rod and Reel Shop, reports that flounder fishing is hot. Flounder (in the 16-20” range) are being caught in the backwaters using mud minnows and finger mullet.
In the surf, there have been lots of pompano being caught, and using sand fleas or fresh shrimp is the best option. Whiting, spots, and croakers are chewing on fresh shrimp, and then bluefish and red drum are being caught on cut mullet.
Spanish mackerel are biting right off the beach from 1-1.5 miles off (in 25-30’of water).
King mackerel are in good numbers at the Shark Hole, but the kings are starting to move closer to shore.
David, of Ocean Isle Beach Fishing Pier, reports that plenty of trout, pompano, black drum, and spots are all being brought over the rails.