NC Coastal Fishing Report
Published December 13th, 2019
Now that we are getting into December, fishing inshore has started to take on a more winter-like pattern with water temperatures dipping into the mid-50’s. Schools of undersize to mid-slot red and black drum have started to school up back in the marshes and creeks. The fish will spend some time on open flats, but will often hang around docks and oyster bars around low tide. Most of the upper to over slot drum being reported lately are coming from the surf zone. Speckled trout fishing has remained excellent, but we’ve started to see an abundance of undersized fish mixed in with the keepers. The bigger fish that we’ve seen recently are being caught in the creeks, near the inlets, and in the surf. The water around Wrightsville Beach has really started to clear up, fluorocarbon leaders and a natural presentation have been keys to success.
There have been some good reports coming in from the surf over the past few weeks. Virginia mullet and pufferfish are being caught in good numbers along with some good-sized speckled trout, black drum, pompano, and red drum.
Anglers fishing nearshore structure have been doing well with the Grey Trout on most days. It won’t be long before some sheepshead and tautog start to stack up on the same structures.
We haven’t had many king mackerel reports lately, but typically this time of year the best bite for them is going to be found at least 25 miles out. The bottom fishing out in the 15-30 mile range has been great for gag grouper, sea bass, beeliners, and grunts.
Locally, we’ve heard of only a few bluefin tuna caught. Mostly on the south side of the shoals, but at least one fish was boated off of Carolina Beach. Horse Ballyhoo rigged on fluorocarbon and paired with a Blue Water Candy JAG is hard to beat.
Gulf Stream trolling has been pretty strong for the most part. Most of the boats putting the time into trolling have been getting shots at sailfish, wahoo, and blackfins. Different spreads will produce different results. Look for the wahoo fishing to improve as we get into January and February. Bottom fishing and jigging has been consistently producing amberjack, grouper, beeliners, and triggerfish.