Hook, line and sinker

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So far, the fishing for the month of June has been nothing short of fantastic. Of course, depending on your target species, everything has its ups and downs, but the fish are there; it is just a matter catching them.

Offshore fishing has been phenomenal. Inshore, the fishing is good and getting better as the days progress. Near-shore fishing continues to be strong and shows no signs of slowing down.

Water temperatures are reading in the upper 70s and should only continue to bring more quantities of fish within reach. Beach dredging has been completed, meaning cleaner water for those fishing close to shore. Conditions continue to improve so it is time to wet a line and see what surprise you find on the other end!

Offshore fishing, particularly in the Gulf Stream, has been on fire the past week and continued through Monday, as evidenced in the first day of the 56th Annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament. A total of 111 boats fished the first day and compiled a staggering number of billfish caught and released. There were 14 blue marlin releases, 26 white marlin releases and one sailfish release. In addition, three blue marlin were brought to the scales, weighing 410 pounds, 606 pounds and one monster 754-pound fish. Plenty of meat fish, aka mahi mahi, tuna and wahoo, were also weighed in for other prizes. While this tournament is held out of Morehead City, there are plenty of fish being seen and hooked around our local waters, although a considerable distance from shore.

For those looking for mahi, the fish have moved inshore within the past couple of weeks. Gaffer fish up to 20 pounds are being found as close as 30 mile from the beach. Some smaller fish have migrated even closer and are being found between 15-25 miles out. Bottom fishing in the 20-30 mile range has also been productive, with reported catches of black sea bass, grouper and snapper.

Closer to the beach and in reach of the small boat anglers, the Spanish mackerel fishing continues to be strong, with many boats finding limits of fish with relative ease. The majority of these fish are coming from anglers trolling Clark Spoons on small planers in around 40 feet of water early in the day. Sight casting to schooling fish is still popular but becoming more difficult as the fish are spreading out.

Inshore, the flounder action is heating up with fishermen finding plenty of keepers in the inlets and along the deeper creeks. Small live minnows are working better, but artificial baits will fool them if you drag it in front on their noses. Red drum are also becoming more numerous in the same areas, as well as around the docks and creek mouths.

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