The first week of July is not normally the most productive week for fishing in our area, mainly due to the heat, warm water temperatures and loads of people enjoying their favorite water activity. This week is really no different in that regard, but this year we are in the bulls eye staring at a tropical system named Arthur.
Of course the forecast will change many times, and you may be very likely reading this as you are hiding from the elements on Thursday or Friday. Fortunately, if the weather guessers are correct, this thing should be out of here by Saturday with conditions improving drastically and returning to something that resembles a more typical summer for Wrightsville Beach.
Offshore, the fish are scattered and many boaters are having a hard time locating any sort of temperature breaks. This time of year it doesn’t take much to draw the fishes’ interest so even a variation of 1 degree may just be worth an exploratory stop to see what’s holding nearby. Dolphin are probably the most common fish found while trolling live baits or dead ones and good areas to start are around 23 Mile Rock and WR4. Bottom fishing has been good in those areas as well, although it’ll take a couple of days or more for the seas to finally settle enough for an offshore fishing trip.
The days leading into July have been excellent to find some inshore dolphin in the areas around 10 miles, such as 10 Mile Rock and the 10 Mile Boxcars. In addition to dolphin, which are smaller than the variety found further off the beach, it’s also a good time to target sailfish. In past years sailfish have been caught as close as three miles off the beach with some excellent fishing being found in the eight to 10-mile range and beyond to around 18 miles. Of course this fishing can be slow, as the fish are either around or they aren’t. Reports from last week indicate that if the sailfish and dolphin don’t cooperate, there are plenty of king mackerel in the area to keep you busy.
Probably the single most important thing to find and fish around instead of structure is bait pods. If you find those it’s almost a sure bet that predators are not that far behind. Inshore, the red drum and flounder fishing has been decent around the inlets, and especially the Masonboro jetties. A live Carolina rigged finger mullet, of which there are plenty in the shallows right now, are an almost sure bet to draw a strike. The deeper creeks and holes around the docks are also holding fish.
As always, when fishing this time of year, early and late day fishing trips will help your cause.