NC Coastal Fishing Report
Published Sept. 8th, 2020
We’re starting to see the first signs of fall and the fishing has already improved drastically. Cooler temperatures, North East winds, and tons of baitfish have got the fish moving and feeding. Some larger over slot redfish have made their way inshore making for some good fishing around docks, oyster bars, and deeper grass banks. Topwaters, spinnerbaits, and Gulp are all great on the artificial side of things. Live mullet or menhaden on a Carolina rig are always a great option. The speckled trout have started to make a stronger appearance, start with topwaters early in the morning and then switch to suspending twitch baits and soft plastics. Look for ladyfish, bluefish, and the occasional speckled trout to be feeding around dock and bridge lights at night. Anglers fishing the bridges with live crabs and sand fleas have still been catching some nice sheephead, redfish, and black drum. Flounder fishing has also been outstanding in the creeks and around the inlets. Live mullet as well as Berkley Gulp and other soft plastics have been producing some quality of fish.
There have been some good reports coming in from the surf. Sea mullet, pompano, spot, croaker, black drum, red drum, bluefish, and flounder have all been reported over the last couple of weeks. Live sand fleas, live or cut mullet, and fresh shrimp will be the most productive baits. Anglers fishing with large cut bait especially at night have been catching some nice drum, as well as sharks and rays.
The Spanish mackerel fishing has been decent on most days with some large citation sized fish being caught on live bait. Trolling with Yo-Zuri deep divers or clarkspoons with planers has been working well to catch numbers of fish. The fish have also been hitting casting jigs, when you can find them feeding on the surface. Kings are also being caught right along the beach and should continue to move in this month. Live bait is going to be the best option for them if you stay close to shore. Further offshore in the 5+ mile range, the kings are being caught with dead cigar minnows, ballyhoo, and spoons.
The nearshore bottom fishing has been strong, Flounder, including some over 5lbs have been plentiful. Schools of Grey Trout and some big red drum have also been hanging around the nearshore ledges and AR’s. You can’t go wrong with a bucktail tipped with a Gulp or with a live mullet or menhaden.
There’s been a handful of mahi and some sailfish caught in the 25-40-mile range over the last couple weeks. Slow trolling with live bait or pulling ballyhoo rigs have been the two most consistent options. Blue Water Candy Mahi Madness, C&H Rattle Jets, and Sea Vixen Flying Fish have all been good options for trolling without bait. King mackerel are being caught in decent numbers throughout the area as well. Troll over ledges and structure or stay around any bait balls you find. The Gag grouper bite has picked up, sea bass, pinkies, and grunts have still been biting strong, starting in about 80 feet of water.
Trolling in the Gulf Stream has been hit or miss lately, but should really start to improve this month as the water starts to cool down. A few more Wahoo, including some over 70lbs, have started to show up in the reports. Boats high speed fishing on the way to the gulf stream have been picking up a few in 120’-140’ of water. The rest are being caught on bait and diving plugs around ledges right along the break. Decent numbers of blackfin and a handful of Yellowfins have been reported as well. The bottom fishing and jigging out along the break has still been outstanding if the trolling doesn’t work out.