Southport/Oak Island – April 25, 2019
John, of Dutchman Creek Bait and Tackle, reports that the backwaters have been holding red drum, black drum, trout, and flounder. Several of the flatfish have measured between 20-21”. Live or fresh bait is always best, but Vudu and DOA shrimp have also been popular lately. Rapala X-Raps and MirrOlure MR17s and 18s will work well, too.
In the surf, whiting and puffers are making up the majority of the catch. Blues and a few small spanish have been a little further out.
Offshore, the Gulf Stream is holding mahi and plenty of blackfin tuna. Blue Water Candy ballyhoo rigs seem to be working well.
Tim, of Wildlife Bait and Tackle, reports that inshore fishing is hot, with flounder, trout, redfish, black drum, sheepshead, larger whiting, and big spots all chewing back in the creeks.
Small kings are being caught offshore, but the big kings should be on the beach very soon.
Grouper season is right around the corner, and the bottom fishing action is shaping up to be productive. Black sea bass are currently biting in the seven mile range.
Mark, of Angry Pelican Charters, reports that in the backwaters, finger mullet and pogies are becoming more plentiful, and so are the keeper flounder.
Red drum, black drum, and trout are all biting live shrimp.
The king mackerel bite is creeping ever closer to the beach, with good numbers of school-sized fish holding over structure in 65 degree water. There are some bigger fish mixed in with the smaller ones, so try working your baits either above or below the school. Live bait is holding on the beach and is always a go-to for the kings, but naked cigar minnows or those tipped with Pirate plugs, Mack-a-Hoos, or Blue Water Candy shovels will draw strikes as well.
The wahoo and tuna bite along the 120-150’ line continues to be good.
Bottom fishing from the 75-80’ range over ledges and structure is getting better by the day (as the water warms). Double drop bottom rigs with squid or cut mullet are producing, as well as a variety of jigs and bucktails.
Robert, of Reelin’ Pelican Fishing Charters, reports that trout, black drum, red drum, and the occasional flounder are all biting inshore. Bait is everywhere and easy to find in the creeks and ICW, with plenty of pogies available and mullet starting to show up.
Bonito are swimming on the east side of the shoals near the beach.
Offshore, kings should be in the 10-15 mile range as the water continues to rapidly warm.
Wahoo are slowing down in the Stream, but mahi are starting to replace them.
Ryan, of Fugitive Charters, reports that bluefish are making a good showing on the beach, and spanish are starting to mix in with them.
King mackerel have moved in to the 25-30 mile range, with 20+ lb. fish coming in on dead cigar minnows and Drone spoons. Blackfin tuna have been in the mix as well. The kings should be on the beach within the next week or two, following the pogies that have already moved in.
The bottom areas around the Tower have been full of big black sea bass.
In the Gulf Stream, wahoo fishing is starting to slow down, but the mahi bite is picking up.
The opening of grouper season on May 1 should be productive.
Wally, of Oak Island Charters, reports that red drum, black drum, and trout are swimming in the creeks, and fresh shrimp is the ticket for all three.
Lots of bluefish can be found close to shore, and a few bonito have been mixed in.
Kings have been in the 25 mile range.
Steve, of Ocean Crest Pier, reports that whiting in the 1-1.5 lb. range are still biting consistently. Croakers have been popping up, and a few medium-large bluefish are being caught as well. A handful of 1 lb. pompano and a few spanish have also come in.
Shrimp has been working for the bottom-dwellers, while Gotcha plugs have produced on the blues and spanish.