Southport/Oak Island – October 24, 2019
Annette, of Dutchman Creek Bait and Tackle, reports that anglers fishing the surf zone have found good numbers of spot and red drum.
A few kings have been landed from the end of the pier, and those jigging with Gotcha plugs have found plenty of spanish and bluefish.
Inshore, the red drum bite has picked up. Live finger mullet and mud minnows on Carolina rigs have been the top baits. Most fish have been landed around dock structure and creek mouths.
The speckled trout fishing has heated up some. Anglers casting live shrimp under float rigs have found limits of fish, and targeting marsh banks and deep holes has worked best. A few red drum have been in the mix with the trout.
From the beach to the 20 mile mark, the king bite has been hot. Anglers have landed fish while slow trolling live baits and pulling dead cigar minnows.
Those dropping to the bottom have found a few keeper-sized black sea bass.
Tim, of Wildlife Bait and Tackle, reports that fishing has been phenomenal inshore and from the beach, with red drum, black drum, and flounder making up the majority of the catch. The waters around Bald Head Island and the West End have been the best places to look, with the latter producing flounder anywhere from 5-10+ lbs.
Trout fishing has been the most productive in the afternoons and evenings, with morning topwater fishing producing nothing more than a few blow-ups.
Pompano fishing from the beach has slowed down, and there haven’t been any spot runs over the last few weeks. All the other typical bottom species can be caught up and down the beach, though.
Small (12-18 lb.) kings have been coming from the Shark Hole, and the Shallotte Inlet area has been producing 30 lb. kings right off the beach.
Robert, of Reelin’ Pelican Fishing Charters, reports that the backwaters have been holding big schools of reds, and while you may have to stay pretty mobile until you find them, it’s easy to get a bite once you do. Most of the fish have been in the 22-24” range, but the occasional upper-30” fish will be swimming in the same school as the smaller fish. The slot reds have been falling for mullet and pogies, while the bigger fish will go for bigger baits.
Black drum in the 20-22” range have been ravenous in the backwaters, as they’ll eat shrimp, mullet, and even artificials. Some decent sheepshead have been around as well.
Bull reds and kings have been patrolling the beachfront. For the kings, live bait has been the most successful. Most of the kings have been between 10-15 lbs., with the occasional 20 lb. fish mixed in. Look for schools of bait to find your fish.
Mark, of Angry Pelican Charters, reports that the king mackerel bite continues to be solid from the mouth of the Cape Fear River to Lockwood Folly Inlet. Rocks and ledges in 40-50′ of water are holding some great fish in terms of numbers and size.
Live bait is plentiful along the beach, with some of the bigger baits the area’s seen this fall schooling in 10-20′ of water on either side of the river channel. Cigar minnows behind Pirate Plugs or Blue Water Candy Shovels will draw strikes from schooling kings further off the beach. Pink/white and chartreuse/white have been the top producing colors.
Spanish mackerel are feeding alongside the kings. Plenty of these fish are well over the 5-6 lb. mark. Live or dead baits will attract their attention, but spoons will do the trick as well.
Bull red drum action has been off and on with the fluctuating water temperatures. There are still some nice fish feeding in bait pods, though, along the beach and around nearshore reefs and structure.
Ryan, of Fugitive Charters, reports that the king bite in the Cape Fear River channel has heated up. Anglers have had success pulling live baits, as well as pink Mack-a-Hoos with dead bait, but most of the larger fish have preferred live pogies. The kings have ranged anywhere from 5-45 lbs.
Around nearshore structure, the bull redfish bite has been hit or miss. On some days anglers have pulled in a handful of fish, and on other days they’ve vanished.
The flounder bite on the artificial reefs has also been finicky, but the keeper-sized flatfish have been hooked mostly on live baits.
Around the 20 mile mark, the bottom fishing has strengthened. A good mixed bag of fish has been landed, including quite a few grouper in the mix.
In the 30 mile range, there has been a decent mahi bite. Most fish have been scattered, but anglers covering good amounts of water have been able to generate some action.
Inshore, there has been a solid red and black drum bite in the creeks. Most fish have fallen for fresh shrimp on Carolina rigs.
Wally, of Oak Island Charters, reports that king fishing has been hot from the beach out to the 15 mile mark. Slow trolling live baits has been the best way to find consistent king action.
Those dropping to the bottom around the 15 mile mark have landed some keeper-sized grouper on live baits.
Inshore, the creeks have been holding lots of bait. Casting live and fresh shrimp has produced nice catches of red and black drum. Most fish have held around oyster structure and marsh banks.
Steve, of Ocean Crest Pier, reports that anglers have found good action plugging for blues. Gotcha plugs have been the top producer.
Those fishing the bottom with fresh shrimp and sand fleas have brought in strong numbers of pompano and a few sheepshead.
The king bite has improved, as multiple fish have been landed out at the end.
Sarah, of Oak Island Pier, reports that king mackerel have been caught on live blues, and small black drum and flounder have fallen for live shrimp. Shrimp has also produced big red drum (over 41”).