NC Coastal Fishing Report
Published August 21st, 2018
The water inshore is still stained, but is slowly getting back to normal. The fishing for reds has continued to be good and there are more keeper flounder being caught inshore. There have been schools of slot sized redfish working on the flats behind the islands and schools of over slot fish out in the ocean and near the inlets. Topwater lures, Berkley Gulp, Z-Man Jerkshads, and live bait have all been good options for the reds. Topwater lures and suspending baits like the Rapala X-Rap have been getting a few speckled trout, especially early and late in the day. Look for Red drum, black drum, and sheepshead to be hanging around docks and bridges in the waterway, any type of crab, sand fleas, or shrimp are all good bait choices.
The surf fishing around Wrightsville has been hit or miss. Anglers are reporting a few sea mullet, pompano, croaker, and black drum. Shrimp, cut mullet, salted clam, and fishbites are all good options for bottom fishing. Live finger mullet will give you a better shot at the flounder or Reds. You can also throw casting jigs for the bluefish and Spanish mackerel. Anglers fishing at night with large cut bait should stay busy with sharks and rays and have a chance to catch some reds as well.
Flounder fishing has been great at the nearshore wrecks, with good numbers and sizes being caught recently. There have been schools of big reds and some grey trout moving through these same areas. Live mullet and pogies on a carolina rig are hard to beat, but a bucktail tipped with a Gulp is a great backup plan. The Spanish Mackerel bite has started to improve again, with some big spanish in the mix. Theres also been some kings mixed in with the spanish. Trolling with Clarkspoons behind planers, deep divers, and Spanish daisy’s will all work. Live pogies and finger mullet are great for catching larger Spanish when fished with a light wire leader and treble hooks. Only a handful of Cobia have been seen and caught at Wrightsville Beach recently. They are still worth looking for around bait balls, and at the artificial reefs. A few Tarpon have been around as well. Most of these fish are being caught with cut or live bait, but bucktails and larger swimbaits will work too.
The king mackerel fishing has been strong at the wrecks and ledges from from the beach out to 25+ miles off the beach. There have been scattered mahi and sailfish caught in that range as well, with the most consistent fishing for them being from 20-30 miles out. Anglers have been catching fish while trolling BWC Wedgies with dead cigar minnows, squid, or small ballyhoo. Deep divers, and drone spoons are always worth putting in the spread as well. Live bluefish and menhaden will typically produce the bigger kings. Gags can be found on ledges in the 15+ mile range, along with sea bass, porgies, and grunts. It’s worth putting out a cigar minnow or whole squid on a light line for mahi and king mackerel while you’re bottom fishing. Scamps and Red grouper have been biting in the 30+ mile range, along with beeliners and a few triggerfish.
Gulfstream fishing has been slow for the most part, but that will be changing soon. There have been a few reports of good fishing for blackfin tuna over 20lbs. That bite should continue to improve along with some more consistent wahoo fishing. Blue Marlin, White Marlin, and sailfish are still a possibility; especially if you pull dredges, spreader bars, and daisy chains. Most boats that are looking to fill the box are trolling ballyhoo either rigged naked or skirted with Ilander Trackers, Blue Water Candy Seawitches, or JR Ilanders. The bottom fishing and jigging is still good for grouper, amberjack, snapper, and triggerfish.