Fish Post

Southport/Oak Island – April 11, 2019

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John, of Dutchman Creek Bait and Tackle, reports that red drum and trout are biting well in the backwaters. Most of the trout are still small, though, and the keeper fish are mostly coming from the waters a little further south toward Ocean Isle.

Surf fishing has produced whiting and puffers.

Temperature breaks are the name of the game in the ocean. The breaks near Frying Pan Tower will produce kings, while breaks out toward the Gulf Stream are popular spots for wahoo and mahi to be swimming this time of year.


Tim, of Wildlife Bait and Tackle, reports that whiting are all over the place, from the usual inshore spots such as the western cut to the Southport waterfront, and just off the beach as well.

Trout are biting in the backwaters, and while a lot of them are smaller, some bigger fish (up to 26”) have been mixed in. Topwater fishing early in the morning has produced, while soft plastics (such as Vudu shrimp or DOAs) will get bites throughout the day.

Black drum are hitting bait shrimp, though artificials will do in a pinch. Red drum will attack mud minnows or any soft plastic such as a curly tail or Gulp. A few flounder are showing up as well, and they’ve been reactive to either live or artificial baits.

Sheepshead have been rolling in, though most of them have been in the smaller 1.5 lb. range. They’re chewing on fiddler crabs or any other crustacean or shellfish.

Bluefish are starting to show up on the west end of Oak Island in the surf and the inlets, and a few gray trout are biting a little further out. Live bait or Stingsilvers will attract their attention.

Small kings have been biting on the troll in the 20-35 mile range from the Horseshoe to the Tower. Small black sea bass are biting in the same range as well, though you’ll find some within 15 miles if you’re patient.

Offshore conditions have been rough, but there are wahoo out there.

Jack O’Neal, of Southport, NC, with a 22″ red drum he caught while using cut bait. He was fishing in Dutchman Creek.

Mark, of Angry Pelican Charters, reports that backwater action is starting to heat up thanks to a strong presence of finger mullet and pogies in the ICW and connected creeks. Water temps are easing into the mid 60s, and the flounder are hungry. Live Carolina-rigged baits or High Water Lures’ Get’Em Shad in gold/white or pearl have been effective for the flatties when fished around structure.

The trout and redfish bite remains strong, with concentrations of fish still holding in deeper holes on chilly mornings.

Offshore, the king mackerel are on the move, with schoolies working the Tower reef east into deeper water. With warmer Gulf Stream water moving inshore, there should be some king action in the 15-25 mile range very soon.

Wahoo and tuna are chewing in the Stream, with a few dolphin starting to join the mix.

Bottom fishing has been productive as well, and you can find plenty of triggers, beeliners, and stud black sea bass in the 100’+ range.


Robert, of Reelin’ Pelican Fishing Charters, reports that inshore fishing gets better with every warm day. Trout, drum, and flounder are all currently biting.

Offshore, the wahoo action has stayed consistent. Blackfin tuna and king mackerel are biting as well. This is the prime time for offshore fishing, and it will only improve over the coming weeks.

Adam Ratcliffe, from Sunset Harbor, NC, with a 27″ red drum that fell for a live mullet on the incoming tide while fishing around Southport.

Ryan, of Fugitive Charters, reports that near the beach, the water temperature is at 62 degrees and slowly climbing. This means that bonito and spanish should start showing up soon.

Nearshore bottom fishing has produced plenty of black sea bass, with some gray trout mixed in.

The 20-30 mile range has been holding king mackerel. The kings will typically be swimming in 66-68 degree water, where they’ll bite spoons and cigar minnows. That bite should move closer to shore soon.

Further offshore, the wahoo bite has been on fire, and smaller mahi are starting to show up as well. Blackfins have been in the mix, and conditions look right for some yellowfin tuna to start moving in, too.

Overall, the season is just getting ready to start rolling, and all of the conditions and signs are looking good.


Wally, of Oak Island Charters, reports that


Lynn, of Ocean Crest Pier, reports that quite a few trout have come in, with a good number of keepers in the mix. Whiting of all sizes are being caught on fresh shrimp, and some flounder just under the legal size limit have been landed.

A few blues have started to show up, and small sand sharks have been biting here and there.