The month of July has been tough for anglers, with multiple days washed out due to heavy rain and thunderstorms. More than one foot of rain has made it even worse. The last week of July and the first week of August have not been any better. A stationary front has resulted in a strong chance of thunderstorms most days. The extended forecast doesn’t look a whole lot better, but the rain and storm chances slowly diminish in the coming days, and hopefully anglers will be able to enjoy outside activities over the weekend.
There have been a few who have braved the lapses in rain coverage and have done fairly well on inshore species.
The fishing for speckled trout has been very good in areas around New River Inlet and, closer to home, the lower Cape Fear River. Plenty of keeper fish have been reported coming from the creeks in both places and are being caught on both artificial soft baits and live baits such as mud minnows and finger mullet. The lower Cape Fear River has also been producing some decent-sized flounder around the many islands, creeks and also in Snows Cut on slack water. Red drum are being found as well, however sight casting to fish is almost impossible due to the muddy water.
Docks and creeks around Wrightsville Beach are producing some drum as well, however with the weather and muddy water, the fishing has declined in recent weeks. Flounder fishing has been good in the inlets and around the rocks of the Masonboro Jetties. The dock and bridge pilings are also producing some decent sheepshead fishing for those using sand fleas, one-armed bandits and barnacles.
Surf anglers have had some success in the dirty water with good-sized Virginia mullet. Fishermen are baiting up with both fresh shrimp and sand fleas, having luck with both. Some small spots and a few croakers along with a few flounder and red drum are also being reported on occasion.
Boaters have had limited opportunities to head outside the inlet, but when the chance presents itself, they have been rewarded with some good bottom fishing in the 30-mile range, catching grouper, triggerfish, black bass and snapper. Those heading to the blue water of the Gulf Stream have found a few wahoo, dolphin and tuna around the well-known areas like the Steeples and Same Ole. Water temperatures offshore are still extremely warm and anglers finding any sort of temperature break are also finding some fish nearby.
With August upon us, anglers are looking forward to enjoying better weather. But, Mother Nature may have other plans, so we’ll just have to wait and see what the future brings.