Fish Post

Swansboro/Emerald Isle – September 12, 2019

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Hannah, of The Reel Outdoors, reports that surf anglers are catching spot, sea mullet, croakers, and pompano while fishing shrimp and sand fleas. Targeting the sloughs just off the shoreline has been the most productive tactic.

Bluefish and spanish mackerel are coming inside to feed on baits, with anglers reporting higher tides and mornings as the best times to spot the surface-feeding fish.

A few short flounder are hitting soft plastics and Carolina-rigged live baits.

Inshore anglers have seen a great red drum bite while fishing live baits and Gulp soft plastics in deeper water in the marsh areas. Finding a nice hole with an oyster bed nearby has been a great starting point when seeking out these smaller schools of fish.

A few speckled trout are in the mix, and they are mostly being caught in deeper water (6-8’ range) around docks.

Jacob Lippy (age 11), from Swansboro, NC, with a 29″ red drum that fell for Carolina-rigged cut mullet in the White Oak River.

Dale, of Dudley’s Marina, reports that spanish mackerel and bluefish have been plentiful in the inlet and just outside the surf zone. Casting jigs to the surface-feeding schools has been producing limits of 2-4 lb. fish.

Red drum and flounder are mixed in throughout the marshes behind Bear Island and Emerald Isle. Carolina-rigged live mud minnows and mullets have been the most successful when cast into deeper cuts and channels between the grass banks. On the higher tide cycles, anglers are fishing the flats with Gulp baits and topwater plugs.

King mackerel are out in the 10-mile range.

Surf anglers have mainly been landing a variety of bottom fish (including strong sea mullet and spot action) on fresh shrimp.


Chris, of Pogie’s Fishing Center, reports that redfishing has been good in the marshes. The large tide swings have seen the bite turn on for anglers fishing topwater plugs and gold spoons on the flats. Carolina-rigged live baits always seem to work, though finding a good channel or hole has been the key in getting a good number of bites.

Flounder are mixed in throughout the marshes, with a good number of short fish hitting soft plastics worked along the bottom.

Anglers targeting bridge pilings and docks with fiddler crabs are catching sheepshead and black drum.


Rob, of Sandbar Safari Charters, reports that the spanish mackerel and bluefish bite has been solid around the inlets out to nearshore ARs. Casting Stingsilver jigs and slow trolling live baits are both working great at boating a limit of fish.

Red drum, black drum, flounder, and scattered speckled trout are working bait schools along deeper marsh banks near the inlet and in the ICW. Carolina-rigged live baits and soft plastics have both been productive when targeting these deeper holes, and spotting bait nearby only raises the chance of bites.

Nice-sized black drum are being caught with live shrimp fished near the area’s bridge pilings.

Tyler Turner (age 12) caught this 5.4 lb. spanish mackerel trolling out of Sneads Ferry using a blue and white Mac-a-Hoo.

Johnathan, of On Point Charters, reports that citation-class spanish mackerel have been staged up at nearshore ARs. Slow-trolling baits and casting spoons to feeding fish has produced plenty of hits.

Jigging bucktails and Carolina-rigged live baits fished on the bottom around these same structures is producing flounder.

Inshore anglers have been finding good numbers of slot-sized red drum while working deeper areas in the marsh. Speckled trout are mixed in. The trout bite is scattered, though, with a stray fish or two hitting soft plastics.


Bobby, of Teezher Charters, reports that nearshore anglers are finding large spanish mackerel (up to 6 lbs.) while trolling around ARs out to 7 miles.

Smaller king mackerel are in this same range, and they’re hitting slow-trolled live baits. The larger kings (up to 40 lbs.) are holding out in the 10+ mile range, and pulling dead bait rigs has been more efficient due to the ability to cover larger areas.

Mahi are scattered, and they are a possible catch just about anywhere since the water temperatures are still high.

Those bottom fishing with cut baits dropped around these ledges and live bottoms are producing grouper, snapper, amberjack, and triggerfish.


Josh, of Liquid Fire Sportfishing, reports that king mackerel fishing has continued to be great, and anglers look forward to even better numbers of fish pushing inshore as the fall season moves in. A majority of the king action is coming in the 15+ mile range, with trolling live baits or dead bait rigs over rocks and structure producing the most success.

Mahi are scattered in the area, though finding some sort of debris floating always helps at locating a school of fish.

Bottom fishing has been consistent, with anglers reporting grouper, large sea bass, grunts, and triggerfish.

Anglers slow-trolling live baits closer to the beach are landing citation-class spanish mackerel.


Teresa, of Bogue Inlet Pier, reports that king mackerel (up to 30 lbs.) are being caught by anglers live-baiting off the end.

Spanish mackerel and bluefish have been steadily hitting Gotcha plugs and casting jigs thrown towards feeding schools. Bluefish are also being hooked by anglers fishing Carolina-rigged cut mullet.

Bottom fishing has seen a mix of pompano, sea mullet, and large spot feeding on shrimp and bloodworms.