Hook, line and sinker

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With temperatures reading in the 90s, high humidity and water temperatures reaching the mid-80s, fishing is proving difficult for many and leaving any doubt that summer fishing is upon us. There is, however, good news, and that’s the arrival of a cold front that has dropped the temperatures and humidity, making fishing somewhat bearable once again. Unfortunately, with most cold fronts come winds and that’s exactly what we have in place as the weekend begins. If forecasts hold together, the end of the weekend should once again be fishable for boaters and pleasant for those inshore.

Last weekend’s waters proved the most calm in our area in quite some time. Even with the full moon, ocean conditions were lake-like with mild current, allowing for anglers to reach offshore waters rather quickly in search of the big one. Regrettably, those calm conditions and the full moon hampered the offshore trolling dramatically. There were a few reports of some sporadic mahi and king mackerel catches, but not what was expected with so many boats fishing.

The bottom fishing was the same for a lot of anglers, although there seemed to be a few more who reported better results than those trolling live baits or ballyhoo The better bottom fishing, especially for grouper and snapper, occurred beyond the 30-mile mark.

Inshore, the fishing has also been hit or miss, although fishing the Cape Fear River has produced keeper flounder, red drum and speckled trout. Anglers are having luck on both artificial baits and live baits like mud minnows and finger mullet. It’s basically trial and error, changing baits when changing fishing spots until you find what the fish are willing to bite.

Anglers around Wrightsville Beach are finding some decent flounder fishing in the inlets and around the creeks, but a majority of those fish are undersized. Some better fishing for keeper flounder is coming from those fishing the nearshore artificial reefs and wrecks either jigging or using live baits.

Elsewhere, the fishing has been typically summerlike, with sporadic catches of Virginia mullet and a few small croaker and spots from the surf and piers. Those using sand fleas have also reported some decent pompano caught off the beach.

Hopefully, with the cooler temperatures this week, the fishing will start picking up. Remember, as always during the summer, early and late in the day trips are best for fishing success, but that’s not to say you can’t hook a fish in the middle of the day.

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