Swansboro/Emerald Isle – July 18, 2019
Hannah, of The Reel Outdoors, reports that anglers bottom fishing in the surf are catching sea mullet, spot, and gray trout while using shrimp and Fishbites strips. Bluefish are hitting casting jigs and cut baits, with the best action being early before crowds hit the beach.
Inshore fishing has been great, with red drum staged up in holes behind the barrier islands. Carolina-rigged cut mullet and soft plastics fished on jig heads are both enticing strikes.
A few black drum are being caught on shrimp fished around dock pilings.
Flounder are staged on ledges inside the inlet, and they’re hitting soft plastics and Carolina-rigged live mud minnows.
Speckled trout are being caught in the early morning with topwater plugs, but the topwater bite has been drastically dropping off through the heat of the day.
Dale, of Dudley’s Marina, reports that red drum fishing has been strong in the morning for anglers working marshy areas. Topwater plugs are great the first few hours, and then the action turns to soft plastics as the fish push into different holes depending on the tide stage.
Flounder are sitting in these same deeper holes and channels along the marshes, and they’re hitting live baits and Gulp soft plastics.
Sheepshead fishing is hot around docks and bridge pilings, with fiddler crabs being the top producing bait. A few black drum are always an option when bottom fishing baits around these structured areas.
Nearshore anglers are catching spanish mackerel and bluefish while trolling spoons from the inlet out to 3 miles.
Bottom fishing at the ARs has been producing flounder and just under-sized black sea bass with Carolina-rigged live baits.
Chris, of Pogie’s Fishing Center, reports that red drum fishing has been good behind the barrier islands. Topwater plugs have been working great in the marshes, and soft plastics and Carolina-rigged live mud minnows and mullet have been the go to setups when the fish are pushed off the flats and into holes and channels throughout the marsh.
Speckled trout are along the deeper grass banks, and they’re being caught on topwaters in the morning.
Sheepshead and black drum are hitting shrimp, sand fleas, and fiddler crabs fished along bridge and dock pilings.
Smaller flounder are being landed with live baits and soft plastics fished on drop-offs from the inlet back into areas around ICW docks.
Rob, of Sandbar Safari Charters, reports that citation-sized spanish mackerel and king mackerel are hitting slow-trolled live baits and deep diver plugs around structure in the 3-5 mile range.
Flounder are holding on the bottom and tight to these same structured areas. Carolina-rigged live baits and bucktails with soft plastic trailers have both been successful when finding a pocket of legal-sized fish.
Structure in 60+’ has been producing grouper, grunts, and black sea bass for anglers fishing cut baits.
Red drum fishing has been steady inshore, with fish being caught from the flats inside the inlet out to the docks in the ICW. Topwater plugs, Carolina-rigged live baits, and soft plastics have all been successful in locating these small, summertime groups of redfish.
A few speckled trout are scattered in the same areas.
Jonathan, of On Point Charters, reports that red drum and flounder are being caught with live baits fished along ICW docks and grass banks in the marsh.
Bluefish are holding in deeper channels inside the inlet.
Nearshore reefs have been productive for anglers targeting legal-sized flounder. Live baits and bucktails with soft plastic trailers have both been successful when working the nearshore areas, but keep moving around because it’s been mostly small pockets of fish that you need to locate.
Gray trout are also holding on these bottom areas, and they’re hitting jigs worked just above the structure.
Trolling live bait and dead bait rigs has been producing large spanish mackerel and king mackerel (up to 35 lbs.).
Reefs and live bottoms in the 15+ mile range are producing amberjacks and triggerfish.
Bobby, of Teezher Charters, reports that smoker king mackerel (up to 40 lbs.) are being caught using cigar minnows on dead bait rigs.
Citation-sized spanish mackerel are closer to shore in the 3-5 mile range.
Mahi are still holding out around the temperature break in the 25+ mile range.
Bottom fishing has been great, with grouper and triggerfish steadily chewing on cut baits.
Josh, of Liquid Fire Sportfishing, reports that large king mackerel (up to 40 lbs.) are being caught with cigar minnows on dead bait rigs.
Mahi have yet to push consistently within the 20 mile range, but a few slinger-sized fish are mixed in with the king bites.
Bottom fishing has been good, with grouper, triggerfish, and snapper all feeding on cut baits around offshore wrecks and rocks.
Large amberjacks are hitting plugs and jigs around wrecks and structure.
Teresa, of Bogue Inlet Pier, reports that spanish mackerel (up to 4 lbs.) are being caught with Gotcha plugs and glass minnow jigs casted to feeding schools early and late in the day.
Large sheepshead (up to 7 lbs.) are feeding on shrimp and sand fleas fished up against the pier pilings.
A few legal-sized flounder are being caught with soft plastics and live baits fished closer to the breakers.
Bottom rigs tipped with shrimp has been producing spot, sea mullet, and pompano.
A few tarpon have been hooked and broken off by anglers fishing off the end.