Fish Post

Topsail / Sneads Ferry – June 20, 2019

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Mike, of Native Son Guide Service, reports that boats getting into the ocean are finding great numbers of spanish mackerel. Trolling Clarkspoons behind #1 planers will catch easy limits of fish, but many anglers prefer casting Jigfish and Big Nic jigs to surface feeding schools.

King mackerel (up to 32”) are in big numbers around reefs in the five-mile range, and they’re hitting trolled spoons, deep diver plugs, and dead bait rigs.

Inshore anglers are finding speckled trout around grass banks and in the deeper holes in the creeks off the ICW. Anglers are having the most success in the morning, before the heat pushes the fish deep.

Red drum fishing has been great now that many fish have followed bait schools into the marshes around the inlets. A few fish are hitting topwater plugs in the early mornings, with soft plastics and Carolina-rigged baits being more productive in the afternoons.

Flounder are being caught in better numbers, as the fish continue to push into the inlets from the offshore reefs.


Chadwick, of South End Anglers, reports that red drum fishing has been great in areas around the inlets. The overcast weather has had the topwater bite strong in the morning, but a majority of the fish are being caught on 5” jerk shad soft plastics and Carolina-rigged live pogies. Using soft plastics has been great in the marshy areas as anglers search the flats for the smaller groups of fish, with live baits being better around the ICW docks.

A few speckled trout are being caught in the same areas, with most of the specks coming either early or late in the day.

Capt. Daniel Batts, of Surf City Charters, showing off a pair of king mackerel caught using a Yo-Zuri Deep Diver. He was fishing offshore of Topsail Island.

Ray, of Spring Tide Guide Service, reports that red drum fishing continues to improve as more bait pushes inshore. Fishing topwater plugs on grass banks has produced some over-slot drum early before the winds get too high, and moving to docks off the ICW and fishing Carolina-rigged baits has produced slot-sized fish throughout the afternoon. Anglers staying in the marsh are reporting good numbers of fish hitting gold spoons and soft plastics.

Flounder are showing up in deeper holes and ledges inside the inlets. Fishing Carolina-rigged live baits or soft plastics bounced along the bottom have both been productive.

Spanish mackerel are being caught from the inlet out to three miles on Big Nic Spanish Candy lures.

Flounder are stacked up on the nearshore ARs, and they’re feeding on Carolina-rigged live baits and bucktails. The fish have been holding tight to structure, so losing rigs has only meant you’re in the right area.


Jim, of Plan 9 Charters, reports that schoolie-sized king mackerel fishing has been really good around structure in the 10-15 mile range. Anglers are catching fish while trolling Drone spoons, deep diver plugs, and dead bait rigs.

Large spanish mackerel (up to 6 lbs.) are mixed in with the kings.

Bottom fishing has been good for anglers fishing cut bait in 60-80’ of water. Legal-sized black sea bass, snapper, and beeliners are all holding over these wrecks and live bottoms.

Grouper are being caught out in the 90’ range.

Chris Lemmons, of Hampstead, NC, and Jack Wiser, of Woodinville, WA, with an assortment of spanish mackerel they caught while trolling Clarkspoons behind planers about a mile off the south end of Topsail Island. They were fishing with Capt. Mike Oppegaard, of Native Son Guide Service.

John, of Pelagic Hunter, reports that bottom fishing has been good, with black sea bass, grunts, triggerfish, and grouper being caught around structure in the 90’ range.

Amberjacks are around the same reefs, and they’re mostly being hooked on vertical jigs.

Mahi are being landed on skirted ballyhoo and lures along grass lines at the 120 line.

King mackerel are biting cigar minnows on dead bait rigs in the 5-10 mile range.

Spanish mackerel and bluefish are being caught from the beach out to three miles while trolling Clarkspoons behind a planer.

Bonita are mixed in with the spanish, and they’re hitting the same trolled spoons.

A few cobia are being reported around nearshore structure, though most fish now are shorts.


Tyler, of Seaview Pier, reports that sea mullet and croakers are being caught on bottom rigs with shrimp and Fishbites strips.

A few pompano are mixed in, preferring sand fleas as bait.

Over-slot red drum are feeding on Carolina-rigged cut baits.


Edwin, of Surf City Pier, reports that bluefish are being caught in good numbers by anglers casting Gotcha plugs to surface-feeding schools.

Red drum (up to 29”) are hitting Carolina-rigged cut mullet.

Spot and sea mullet are being caught on bottom rigs.

A few speckled trout are holding in holes closer to the breakers. They’re hitting soft plastics.

Large sheepshead (up to 7.6 lbs.) are feeding on shrimp fished close to the pier pilings.

A couple of black drum (up to 4 lbs.) are chewing on the same shrimp baits fished for sheepshead.

Flounder (up to 17”) are showing up in better numbers closer to the shoreline.


Brandy, of Jolly Roger Pier, reports that anglers fishing the end have landed a few large king mackerel (up to 33 lbs.).

Black drum and sheepshead are being caught on sand fleas and shrimp fished on the bottom against the pilings.

A few flounder are mixed in, though many fish are just short.

Some bigger bluefish are hitting Gotcha plugs, with color patterns making no difference.

Anglers fishing bottom rigs at night are finding good numbers of sea mullet, spot, and croakers.