Wrightsville Beach – May 9, 2019
Matt, of Tex Tackle, reports that inshore fishing has quickly shifted towards a summer time pattern, with better numbers of bluefish, flounder, and spanish mackerel being caught.
Fishing for red drum has continued to be good. A variety of lures from soft plastics to topwaters have been working, and the fish are spreading out into more areas now that bait is plentiful.
Speckled trout can still be active this month, but it’s usually best early in the morning.
Sheepshead and black drum can be found around bridges, docks, and oyster bars.
From the surf, there are bluefish, sea mullet, spanish, croaker, flounder, black drum, and red drum being reported, and anglers fishing with large cut baits at night have been catching sharks.
Spanish mackerel action has been on fire at the nearshore wrecks and ledges. Blues, false albacore, and a few Atlantic bonito have all been caught in the same areas. Trolling with Yo-Zuri Deep Divers and Clarkspoons has been the best, but casting jigs is working, too.
Flounder, gray trout, and sea bass have been biting on the bottom. Bucktails tipped with a Gulp or Otter Tail is sure to produce.
Cobia will be making their way inshore soon.
King mackerel are being caught in great numbers from offshore all the way onto the beach, but the best fishing for numbers has been around the 20 mile mark. Dead cigar minnows, Drone spoons, and live bait will all produce fish. Troll over ledges and structure or stay around any bait balls you find.
The gag grouper bite is strong from 90’ and deeper, along with beeliners, pinkies, and grunts. The reds and scamps, including good numbers of triggerfish, can be found further offshore.
Mahi are consistent at the Gulf Stream now, along with a few white and blue marlin. Now is a good time to get out the teasers and dredges and start switching over to mostly mono and fluorocarbon rigs.
Blackfin tuna should bite well this month, and running a planer rod with wire will still give a chance at a wahoo.
Bottom fishing and jigging out near the break for grouper, amberjacks, triggerfish, and a variety of snapper is a strong option.
Arlen, of Intracoastal Angler, reports that schools of red drum have been found both in creeks on the mainland side of the waterway, as well as on the flats behind Masonboro Island. Skitterwalks and gold spoons have been the best on the flats, with Z-Man jerk shads and Chasebaits prawns as better options in the creeks.
Decent-sized sheepshead are being reported from Snow’s Cut and area bridges, where live barnacles and fiddler crabs are the bait of choice.
More keeper flounder are showing up, and they’re mainly hitting live minnows fished close to the inlets.
A few larger speckled trout are still around and have been biting behind Figure 8 Island and Rich’s Inlet.
Surf fishing anglers are reporting good catches of bluefish and sea mullet, with a few decent pompano mixed in.
Beachfront fishing has been excellent, with limits of spanish mackerel and bluefish in the 2-5 mile range. Larger spanish and king mackerel, along with Atlantic bonito, are biting Clarkspoons as well as metal jigs.
Larger flounder have been found from the tips of the jetties and the Liberty Ship. Cobia are starting to show up along the beach as well, mostly at the nearshore wrecks where live eels and bucktails are preferred offerings.
King mackerel fishing has heated up in the 10-20 mile range. Trolling cigar minnows on dead bait rigs, along with larger deep diving plugs, has been producing fish up to 20 lbs.
Gag grouper are biting in the 80-90’ depths, along with keeper sea bass and grunts.
Bottom fishing anglers are finding good numbers of scamps, beeliners, and triggerfish in the 110-120’ range, mainly on live bottoms northeast of Frying Pan Tower. Cigar minnows, squid strips, and sardines are all good reliable choices.
Gulf Stream anglers were greeted with the first wave of gaffer-sized dolphin, including fish in the 30 lb. range. Trolling ballyhoo along grass edges in 60-150 fathoms produced the most fish, with the best areas offshore of the Nipple.
Larger blackfin tuna and a few yellowfins have been reported from the Nipple to the Devil’s Hole, along with an occasional wahoo. Some billfish were released this week, coming from changes in the 150 fathom range.
Jamie, of Seagate Charters, reports that the bluefish, spanish mackerel, false albacore, and Atlantic bonito bite has been on fire off the beach. Traditional Clarkspoon trolling rigs and planers have been working really well, as have Yo-Zuri Deep Divers. Bluefish have been falling for the same.
Red and black drum action has been red hot. Plastics from Blue Water Candy and Z-Man, paired with BWC ball eye jigs, have been working best when fishing in the creeks. Larger drum are showing along the ICW docks and near oyster rocks.
Flounder are biting along the area beachfront, and Blue Water Candy casting jigs are a good go-to.
Cobia are starting to show in small numbers and will be biting in full force soon. Keeping a Blue Water Candy cobia jig on deck for when they make their appearance is a good idea. Fishing live and dead baits on the bottom of area inlets can do the trick, too.
Rick, of Living Waters Guide Service, reports that mahi have started to hit hard because of the grass moving in and creating floating structure. The offshore temperatures in general getting warmer is creating excellent fishing.
Blackfins are hitting when trolling both baits and lures (they’re also hitting poppers), and billfish bites have really started to improve.
Nearshore fishing has been wide open with spanish mackerel and bonito.
Kings have been hitting in the 40-65 mile range.
Bottom fishing is great, with triggerfish, beeliners, and larger grouper in the 90-130 mile range.
Donny, of Johnnie Mercers Pier, reports that spanish mackerel, bluefish, and pompano are still biting in the waters around the pier.
The first king mackerel of the year was brought in, weighing in at 29 lbs.
A few smaller flounder have been caught using fresh shrimp, but not many keepers have been seen yet.