April water temperatures have improved greatly throughout the past week and are now hovering around the 60-degree mark.
In turn, the fish have responded, and anglers are finding a little more of a variety of species to seek out. Fishing conditions and the fishing itself appear to be headed in the right direction and the current cool down in temperatures this week shouldn’t have much, if any, impact on them or anglers.
Bluefish have finally arrived to the delight of many fishermen. While not all fishermen think of the bluefish as a wonderful fish that they regularly target, the arrival of them is a sure indication that springtime fishing is finally getting underway. Most of the fish the past week have been caught on cut bait fished on the bottom or Gotcha Plugs fished very slowly in the surf line. The first reports came from the pier anglers but that has expanded to those fishing around the jetty and also from the surf. Most fish are small, obviously not having had an opportunity to fatten themselves up on the baitfish in the area. There have been a few reports of some chopper bluefish being caught around the Topsail area and those should migrate their way down to our waters about anytime now.
Virginia mullet are also being caught regularly from the piers, the surf and the lower Cape Fear River. A lot of the fish are small but there are some nice sized ones mixed in, so it takes some patience to catch enough for dinner. Anglers are using the freshest shrimp they can find in order to get the mullet to bite.
Red drum are still schooling in the surf and in the shallows and can be caught using scented soft artificial baits and small gold spoons. Fishermen are also finding them around the area docks and in the deeper channels. The fish in the surf can be targeted by sight casting when the sea conditions allow.
Offshore, the Gulf Stream fishing is heating up with plenty of hefty wahoo being reported along with some blackfin tuna. A few dolphin have been showing themselves as well and the fishing should only continue to get better as the month of April goes on.
Some king mackerel have been reported as close as 30 miles and should continue to make their way closer to the beach as conditions improve. Bottom fishing around the same distance out includes snapper, black sea bass and triggerfish. Closer to the beach, around 15 miles, anglers are also finding some decent black bass fishing. While there are some keepers in this area, fishermen are reporting a lot of the fish are undersized.