After a relatively slow start to the spring season, the past couple of weeks have really produced for anglers. Inshore, near shore and surf fishing are all providing ample opportunities for fishermen as are the offshore fishing grounds. Pier anglers are getting in the action, too, and as the month progresses, the fishing should only continue to get even better. Near shore water temperatures are reading right around 69 degrees.
Inshore, the red drum are becoming more plentiful and are being caught on artificial baits as well as live baits. Areas around the docks and creek mouths are all holding fish. Flounder have also started showing in some of the same locations, and while the majority is small there are a few keeper fish mixed in. A Carolina rigged mud minnow or tiger minnow dragged around the pilings or along the banks of the deeper creeks are good locations to start looking for keeper flounder.
Pier and surf anglers are catching plenty of pompano and Virginia mullet. While the better fishing for these species is being found along Surf City and Topsail beaches, there are some reports of fish being caught from Wrightsville Beach. Plenty of bluefish are around and are being caught on Got-Cha Plugs and silver spoons. Spanish mackerel have finally arrived within casting distance for pier fishermen and will readily attack a Got-Cha or spoon also. Getting through the bluefish is the only problem.
Just off the beach, Spanish mackerel action is strong with many boats catching their limits of fish with relative ease. Atlantic bonito are still around and can be found near the artificial reefs and live bottoms between 3-5 miles out. Better fishing is being found off of Carolina Beach but some fish are being found up our way also, they just require a little more work to locate. With the arrival of the warmer days, sight casting to schools of fish is better in the mornings and late afternoons. Trolling Clark Spoons or a similar lure on a planer is working good when the fish go deeper during the heat of the day.
Offshore, the grouper fishing has been good in the 30-mile range. In addition to the grouper being found, there are plenty of snapper, triggerfish and other assorted bottom fish being caught.
Gulf Stream waters have been producing good for the past month but now the dolphin, also known as mahi mahi, have shown up in good numbers. Wahoo are still being caught but appear to have slowed a little with the arrival of the dolphin. Some blackfin tuna are still around and the chances of hooking a billfish are increasing.