Topsail / Sneads Ferry – April 11, 2019
Mike, of Native Son, reports that water temps are hovering around 60 degrees and trout are starting to move out of their holes, which means that it’s time to start topwater fishing. Don’t be afraid of moving around to find the specks, but once you start getting bites, hunker down and work the same spot. MirrOdines and Z-Man soft plastics in any pink or chartreuse color have also been working.
The larger schools of red drum that were prevalent over the winter months are starting to break up, and some of the upper-slot fish have moved back inside. The water is still clear, so be careful you don’t spook them, and use soft plastics rigged weedless with a light weight to keep out of the snot grass on the bottom. Look for bait, and the reds should be nearby.
Bonito are starting to make an appearance, and Hogy Heavy Minnow and Epoxy jigs will put you on them. Flies will work as well, just stick with white. Clousers and small surf candies have been getting the most attention, but remember to bring a pair of scissors to trim them down and make them smaller if need be.
Chadwick, of South End Anglers, reports that redfish are beginning to spread out and look for food. The reds have been less predictable than usual, but they are still mostly hanging around docks, shell bottoms, oyster beds, creeks, and boat basins. Z-Man soft plastics rigged on Fathom Inshore jigs and Mustad Grip Pin hooks are getting bites, as are slowly-presented hard twitch baits by Rapala and MirrOlure (when the water temp is in the low 60s). The reds are also attacking fresh blue crab and shrimp on the bottom, as well as live mud minnows fished under Bett’s slip floats.
Speckled trout fishing has remained solid around Topsail. Most of the fish are right at, or just below, the legal size limit, though big fish have been mixed in here and there. Creeks, docks, boat basins, and grass lines are all holding fish, as the specks begin to separate away from their winter schools. MirrOlure MR 17 and 18s, Rapala X-Raps, Z-Man paddle tails, and Bett’s Halo Shads are all getting bites throughout the day, though live mud minnows under slip floats will produce if you prefer to fish with live bait.
For the most part, nearshore fishing hasn’t changed much over the past three weeks, and the wind has been too high to make many trips out of the inlet anyway. With that being said, more and more bluefish are making an appearance, and the choppers should start biting any day now. False albacore have also been popping up within sight of land, where Hogy Epoxy and Heavy Minnows have been drawing strikes.
The nearshore arrival of Atlantic bonito should be very close as well. Troll for the bonito with Deep Divers and planer/spoon combos, or cast Hogy Epoxy Minnows, Stingsilvers, and Jigfish when you see the fish on the surface. Fly casting is very effective as well.
Ray, of Spring Tide Guide Service, reports that speckled trout fishing has been great in the New River as the fish switch over to their spring time patterns. While the specks had been holed up in the backs of the creeks, they’re now moving out toward the front, and you’ll need to speed up your lures a little bit to entice them. Storm Shrimp, MR 17s, and Bass Assassin grubs have all been working well, especially in chartreuse colors. The specks are also starting to hit topwater baits on the warmer days.
Lately, 50 fish days have been the norm, though most of the catch has been undersized. The average keeper has been 15-16”, but fish up to 24-25” are biting, and even some 30” fish have been around.
Not as many red drum have been biting, but a handful have been picked up around local docks on Gulps or Carolina-rigged shrimp.
Jim, of Plan 9 Charters, reports that some chopper blues have made an appearance in the waterway, surprising the anglers that have been targeting trout and drum. More bluefish are showing up on the nearshore reefs, where they’re biting Clarkspoons and jigs.
Plenty of false albacore have been mixed in with the blues at the 15 mile range.
Sea bass fishing has been productive in the 5-20 mile range, with the biggest fish holding in the 75’ range and deeper. Squid on bottom rigs and jigs have accounted for most of the bites.
John, of Pelagic Hunter Sportfishing, reports that false albacore are everywhere, and Atlantic bonito have started showing up in the 40-50’ range. Both trolling and casting have been producing for both species.
Bottom fishing has been great in the 80-120’ range, with the typical mix of fish coming in on double hook rigs with squid and Boston mackerel. Amberjacks have been plentiful on the break, especially between the 140-200’ range.
The wahoo bite has been consistent, and yellowfin tuna are starting to show up as well. Both species are biting ballyhoo and plugs.
Tyler, of Seaview Fishing Pier, reports that a few mullet and puffers are being caught.
Vinita, of Surf City Pier, reports that mullet and puffers are biting shrimp.
Elizabeth, of Jolly Roger Pier, reports that pufferfish have been consistently biting, and mullet have started making an appearance (especially after dark). A few small trout and black drum are biting as well, with shrimp serving as the best bait.