Wrightsville Beach – May 23, 2019
Matt, of Tex’s Tackle, reports that the redfish bite has continued to be good, with fish on the move and spreading out to more locations inshore. A variety of lures, from soft plastics to topwaters to gold spoons, have all been working well. Cut bait or live mullet have also been a good go to.
Larger flounder are being caught better inshore now. Live bait and Gulps are accounting for most of the flatfish.
Speckled trout fishing can be good, but it’s usually best early in the morning.
Sheepshead and black drum fishing has been strong around bridges, docks, and oyster bars.
There has been more variety coming in from the surf, including bluefish, pompano, Virginia mullet, spanish, croaker, black and red drum, and flounder. Anglers fishing with large cut bait (especially at night) have been catching sharks and rays.
Spanish mackerel fishing has been hot at the nearshore wrecks and ledges. Anglers have also been catching blues, kings, and a few false albacore in the same areas. Trolling with Yo-Zuri Deep Divers and Clarkspoons has been working best. The fish have also been hitting casting jigs. Some better-sized flounder, gray trout, and sea bass have been biting on the nearshore bottoms. A bucktail tipped with Gulp is always a good option to bring the fish to the boat.
Cobia have been seen nearshore, and the fishing for them should only continue to improve.
King mackerel are being caught in great numbers at structure and ledges throughout the area. The kings are being caught from the beach out to the 30 mile range. Dead cigar minnows, Drone spoons, and live bait will all produce fish.
Mahi are expected to start biting inshore of the Gulf Stream soon. The gag grouper bite is strong from about 90’ and deeper, along with beeliners, pinkies, and grunts. The reds and scamps can be found further offshore, along with good numbers of triggerfish.
At the Gulf Stream, the mahi bite is the main action, along with a few white and blue marlin being reported. Finding the temperature breaks and weed lines has been the key. There have still been a few nice blackfins being caught, and it’s a good idea to continue to run a planer rod with wire if you want a chance at a wahoo.
There is plenty of opportunity for bottom fishing and jigging for grouper, amberjacks, triggerfish, and a variety of snapper out near the break.
Arlen, of Intracoastal Angler, reports that red drum are beginning to spread out in their summertime spots along the flats and creeks. Good numbers of fish are coming from behind Masonboro Island and Rich’s Inlet, with weedless jerk shads and Vudu shrimp producing the most action.
Sheephead and black drum fishing along bridges and bulkheads has been very good, where live fiddler crabs on First Flight jigs have been producing fish up to 8 lbs.
More numbers of keeper-sized flounder were reported, with the best catches coming from behind Masonboro Inlet on live killifish.
Nearshore, the spanish and blues have been thick, with the best spanish action in the 2-5 mile range. Trolling deep divers and casting Spanish Candies around busting fish and bait balls has been productive.
There have also been some cobia around the bait balls and nearshore wrecks, where bucktails and live eels have produced fish to 50 lbs. Flounder (up to 6 lbs.) have been caught on nearshore reefs, too, on Spro bucktails and Gulp shrimp.
King mackerel fishing has been good in the 7-10 mile range, with most action coming in on trolled cigar minnows. Gag grouper and sea bass have been biting dead and live bait in the 80-90’ range. Nice catches of scamp grouper and triggerfish have been coming from the ledges northeast of Frying Pan Tower, with a few stray dolphin starting to show up along the same ledges as well.
Gulf Stream fishing for mahi has been on fire. The best action has been coming from rips and weed lines in 100-130 fathoms, on both ballyhoo and smaller lures.
Several blue marlin encounters have been reported as well, so be sure to have a larger bait in the short rigger or some bigger plugs ready to go.
A few wahoo and blackfin tuna are still coming from 170-200’ of water around the Same Ole.
Jamie, of Seagate Charters, reports that fishing has been great for spanish mackerel, bluefish, juvenile kings, and a few larger kings from the beachfront and out to three miles.
Flounder fishing has picked up both inshore and out on the nearshore wrecks. Fishing with soft plastics and bucktails, as well as live bait like menhaden, have been producing numbers of flatfish between 1-4.5 lbs.
Red drum are biting around area inlets and docks, and live bait will work best right now.
Speckled trout have been biting mostly early mornings on topwaters like Rapala Skitterwalks and Zara Spooks. Soft plastics from DOA, Z-Man, and Blue Water Candy have also produced bites.
Large cobia have been showing up around bait balls along the beach. Stay prepared with a Blue Water Candy bucktail. Nice-sized sharks have been spotted around bait balls as well.
Trevor, of ProFishNC Charters, reports that the inshore red drum bite is picking up.
Numerous schools of menhaden are to be found for bait. There have been some mullet around, too, but all are still too small to be caught.
The flounder are coming in hot, with better numbers being caught in the inlet and backwaters as they follow the bait in.
Spanish mackerel have shown up near the beaches. They are not incredibly thick yet, but there are plenty out there.
Sea turtles are scanning the beaches preparing to lay eggs, and there are cobia underneath them. The cobia are pushing in later than expected this year.
Nearshore bottom fishing has been excellent for black sea bass and flounder. Most of the flounder are in 45’ of water.
Mike, of Johnnie Mercers Pier, reports that chopper blues and 3-4 lb. spanish are coming through consistently and will fall for Gotcha plugs. Pompano (1-2 lbs.) have been caught on shrimp and mackerel trees.
Some nice Virginia mullet have been pulled over the rails, mostly during the middle of the night, and a few small flounder and black drum have been biting here and there.
King mackerel are still biting.