NC Coastal Fishing Report
Published April 21st, 2020
Fishing inshore has been great for the anglers that have been able to go. Schools of smaller reds have been consistently holding in shallow water back in the marshes and creeks. The bigger upper and over-slot drum have started to mix in the same areas. We’ve also started to get some reports of decent topwater fishing. There has been some good fishing for black drum, hanging around docks and oyster bars, with some sheepshead starting to show up as well. Live fiddler crabs, live mud minnows, shrimp, and cut mullet have all been good choices lately. A Z-Man or Gulp fished very slowly can do the job as well, especially on fish in shallower water. Speckled trout fishing has still been decent in the local creeks and inlets, although the bite can be a little tougher this time of year, there are some big fish around. Make sure to use a long fluorocarbon leader and try not to make too much noise, especially when targeting fish in shallow water. Suspending baits like MirrOlures 17 & 27 MR’s and lighter weighted swimbaits are two great options.
There have been some decent reports coming in from Johnnie Mercer’s pier over the past few weeks. Virginia mullet, black drum, puppy drum, bluefish, and pufferfish have all been coming in. Wrightsville Beach is currently closed to surf fishing.
The Cape Fear river has had some consistent fishing for Virginia mullet down around the mouth of the river. With some good fishing for reds, trout, and black drum around fort fisher and behind bald head island.
Anglers trolling around the nearshore structures have been rewarded with a mix of atlantic bonito, bluefish, false albacore, and the first few Spanish mackerel. A mix of Deep divers, clarkspoons, mackerel trees, and casting jigs have been putting fish in the boat. Anglers fishing on the bottom in these areas have been catching some nice grey trout and smaller sea bass on stingsilvers and bucktails. Most of the sea bass have been undersized, but there are a few keepers to be caught especially as you head further offshore.
The king mackerel are making their way inshore with the warmer water. There has been a few in as close as 10 miles, but 15-25 miles out should provide more consistent action. The bottom fishing will be great out in this range as well for sea bass, porgies, beeliners, and grunts. Use cut bait, vertical jigs, or Spro bucktails to catch the bottom fish.
Gulf Stream fishing has been decent, but the weather has made it challenging to go. During the last window some boats had decent catches of bigger blackfin tuna and a few nice yellowfin. A few wahoo were reported, but overall they just weren’t biting very good. And a few early mahi were even caught out deep. Bottom fishing and jigging has remained consistent, look for plenty of amberjack, a few African pompano, blackfins, beeliners, triggerfish, and other snappers to help make the day.