Fish Post

Ocean Isle/Holden Beach – September 26, 2019

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Jeff, of Ocean Isle Fishing Center, reports that fishing has been off and on inshore, but the one species that has consistently cooperated has been red drum. Anglers have found good numbers of redfish along docks and waterway edges, and live finger mullet pinned on a Carolina rig has been the best way to connect with a few keepers.

Out at the Little River jetties, some bull red drum have started to show up. Drifting (or anchoring) and using large cut baits and/or live baits has worked best.


Brant, of Ocean Isle Fishing Center, reports that red drum are starting to show up in good numbers. They have been caught in the schools of menhaden on the beachfront, at the nearshore reefs, and at the Little River jetties. Carolina style rigs with a 2 oz. egg sinker and 6/0 circle hook with live or cut menhaden will be the best bet. The red drum are scavenger feeders, so let the bait sit on the bottom. If the fish are near, they will find it.

King mackerel are also beginning to show up along the beachfront. The kings will continue to push inshore and locate at spots such as the Lighthouse Rocks, Cape Fear River shipping channel, Yaupon Reef, Lockwood and Shallotte ledges, and the 390/390. Also, they will be orienting to schools of menhaden in the area, so don’t be afraid to fish around schools of bait. Slow trolling live menhaden is the most effective technique during the fall for the kings.

Gag grouper will be migrating into the 60-80’ depths. They can be found over structure in this range and are particularly keen for a live pinfish. Live menhaden or finger mullet are the second best options.

Wahoo are moving back to our area and setting up along the break. The wahoo bite has been best to the north of the Steeples, but they will be filtering down off our coast for the next month or so. High speed trolling is very effective for specifically targeting wahoo, but don’t forget the old tried and true ballyhoo on an Ilander.

Justin Willet, of Grove City, OH, with a red drum that fell for a Carolina-rigged finger mullet. He was fishing near the Little River jetties with Capt. Tripp Hooks, of Capt’n Hook Outdoors.

Kevin, of Rigged and Ready Charters, reports that the spanish mackerel bite remains steady just off the beach. Trolling Clarkspoons and #1 planers has been the key to hooking up with high numbers of fish.

Around the nearshore reefs, the bull red drum bite has fired up. Dropping live menhaden on drum rigs has accounted for most of the big reds that have already been landed.

The king bite has moved in closer to the beach. Fishing in front of Shallotte Inlet has produced fish in the 20-45 lb. range, and slow trolling live menhaden has been the method of choice.

In the 40-50 mile range, the bottom fish bite has remained steady. Those looking to land grouper have had the most success dropping live pinfish. Beeliners, black sea bass, and grunts have also been landed in the same areas.

Ritchie Crabtree, from Climax, NC, with a 37″ red drum that fell for cut bluefish on an incoming tide on Holden Beach.

Tripp, of Capt’n Hook Outdoors, reports that the bull redfish have shown up in nearshore and inshore waters. The big reds are in the 35-42” range, and they’re falling for cut and live pogies on Carolina rigs around the inlets and near bait pods.

The black drum are biting good, and they’re mostly running in the 14-20” range. These drum are biting cut shrimp on Carolina rigs in deep holes around the higher part of the tide.

The speckled trout action has increased, with most fish being in the 15-18” range. The specks have been caught on Saltwater Assassin artificials around shell banks and the jetties.

Offshore, the king mackerel have moved closer in to the beach. The kings are scattered up and down the beach right now, but more fish will start to push in during the next two weeks.

Grouper are biting in 100’ of water on live pogies and pinfish. They should start to push in closer over the next couple of weeks and will be caught in the 65-80’ range.


Tim, of Tideline Charters, reports that red drum are biting really good on everything from finger mullet to pogies to shrimp. Fishing baits in current moving along deep banks has been the key for the reds.

Speckled trout have been plentiful lately. Purple-colored MirrOlures and Z-Man soft plastics with gold eye strike jigs have put most of the trout in the boat.


Stewart, of Rod and Reel Shop, reports that surf anglers are finding some red drum action. Casting out cut mullet has been the best bet for the reds. Those using fresh shrimp and sand fleas have boxed pompano, croaker, and sea mullet. A few keeper flounder have also been in the mix.

Anglers fishing inshore have found a few flounder near docks and marsh banks whenever targeting red drum. Most flounder have been keyed in on live finger mullet, and focusing on depths of 5-8′ has worked best.

Anglers looking for red drum have found good action in area rivers, and concentrating on deeper holes and oyster structure has been the best way to hook a few. Gulp soft plastics, as well as live minnows on Carolina rigs, have gotten the job done.

Just off the beach, the king bite is starting to pick up. Most fish landed near the beach have been 15+ lbs. A few spanish and bluefish are also being landed when anglers can find clear water. Trolling Clarkspoons and covering lots of area has been the best way to find the spanish and blues.

Offshore, the wahoo bite is starting to pick up.


Bre, of Ocean Isle Beach Fishing Pier, reports that anglers dropping down fresh shrimp from the pier have landed good numbers of spot and black drum. When using cut bait, a few flounder and bluefish have been caught.