Southport/Oak Island – March 19, 2020
Tammy, of Dutchman Creek Bait and Tackle, reports that surf anglers are catching some speckled trout, along with whiting, some puffers, and small bluefish. The small bluefish have just started showing up. Fresh shrimp, along with MirrOlures and DOA soft plastics, have been the best all-around producers.
The bigger blues will be heading toward the beach soon, and spanish mackerel should be right behind them.
Large black sea bass are being caught offshore near McGlammery Reef, along with black drum and some trout.
Inshore, red and black drum are biting cut shrimp on the bottom. You can also expect to hook an occasional flounder.
The sea mullet bite is picking up in the Cape Fear River, with small pieces of cut shrimp getting the most attention.
Tim, of Wildlife Bait and Tackle, reports that anglers have been chasing whiting and are catching them in good numbers in the usual places off the beach and in the creeks. For the whiting in the ocean, bait shrimp, sand fleas, and sand flea Fishbites have been drawing strikes, while cut bait has been working for the inshore fish.
Trout have been plentiful, though mostly small. Soft plastics and mud minnows are both working. Red drum are chasing mud minnows and soft plastics as well, while black drum are biting shrimp.
There have been a few sheepshead around, but that bite should get better over the next few weeks as the water temperature increases.
Offshore, trolling anglers are finding kings on Drone spoons, while bottom fishing has been producing triggerfish and black sea bass.
Mark, of Angry Pelican Charters, reports that black sea bass can be found in good numbers on structure from about 45’ of water on out. With water temperatures still relatively cool, the bass won’t move as far to eat, so thoroughly examine the ledge or rock before moving to the next spot. Bucktails or soft plastics coated in Pro-Cure squid oil should get the larger fish chewing.
Offshore, the king mackerel bite has been typical for the winter, with school-sized fish holding on rocks and ledges around 100’ of water. The flat days have produced some big wahoo, and the bottom fishing has been good all winter around the Tower.
Closer to the beach, the black drum bite is heating up on the reefs. Squid, fresh shrimp, or cut bait will do the trick.
Trout action has been good, with improved action with every cold front that moves through. Along with the specks, red drum are starting to feed in the creeks and around docks and oyster beds.
The whiting have been on and off over the last few weeks. The better action has been coming during the tide changes, both on the high and low end.
Ryan, of Fugitive Fishing Charters, reports that with winter finishing up, the fish should be getting ready to move. Blues will be on the beach soon, and the spanish mackerel will be right behind them.
King mackerel anglers are hoping to get a better spring run on the beach this year. The kings should be on the beach right behind the spanish sometime in early May.
Meanwhile, there are plenty of keeper black sea bass inside of 10 miles. Further out, larger black sea bass are biting on mullet and squid.
The king mackerel have been hard to find with all the winds and big swells, but they should be grouped up offshore and ready to push in.
Wally, of Oak Island Charters, reports that whiting have been showing up in the Cape Fear River, and there are plenty of red drum in the creeks. Off the beach, spanish mackerel should start showing up mid-April due to how warm the water has been, and king mackerel are currently holding in the 40 mile range.
Lynn, of Ocean Crest Pier, reports that pier anglers have been finding action from trout, black drum, and puffers.
Carolyn, of Oak Island Pier, reports that whiting and blowfish are being caught on fresh shrimp.