NC Coastal Fishing Report
Published March 12, 2019
Well it’s still early spring and we’re sure to have a few more cold fronts, but all the warm weather so far has the water temperature running above normal for this time of year and it has some fish moving inshore. The reds tend to stay schooled up this time of year and can make for some great sight fishing if you can find them. Some fish have made their way into the marsh near the inlets and some fish are still out in the surf. In the creeks, look for black and red drum in holes or around docks at low tide and up on mud flats and oyster bars as the tide comes in. Fish with bait such as fresh shrimp, cut mullet, or live mud minnows on a Carolina Rig. Using a lighter weight and leader can help to get more bites. The fish will also bite on Gulp and Z-man soft plastics. The idea is to fish very slowly unless the fish are more active on the warmer days. Don’t overlook the Speckled Trout fishing in March, they can be tough to pattern, but there are always some big fish caught this month. Although they haven’t showed up yet, some big bluefish should start running soon. Try topwater lures, casting spoons, swimbaits, and cut mullet.
They main thing we’ve been hearing from the surf is puffers, sea mullet, and dogfish. Fresh shrimp or squid fished on the bottom should produce some bites. You also have a chance to catch the reds near the inlets if conditions are right.
Sea Bass are the primary target right now for nearshore bottom fishing. Most boats are fishing in more than 60 feet of water and at least 10 miles out. In general, the further you go the bigger the fish and you will also get more variety as you go further out. You can’t go wrong fishing with squid on a bottom rig over any hard structure or ledge. Also try the Lil Man Roscoe jigs, Stingsilvers, 2 oz buck tails, or Hopkins spoons. This is the time of year the big 10-12 blues show up along with big schools of false albacore. Out near the Frying Pan Tower, King mackerel can be caught with regularity on Drone Spoons and dead bait rigs. Troll over structure or stay around any bait balls you find.
Wahoo fishing slowed down this past week. However, March and April are traditionally good months to catch a big one. Similarly, reports on the Blackfin have been scattered. But, they should also make a strong showing very soon and hopefully we will see more Yellowfin again this year. There were also a handful of sailfish caught this week. The best reports came from the guys jigging for African Pompano and Amberjacks. There is also some good fishing for triggerfish, beeliners, grunts, and a variety of snapper out near the break.