The rain has subsided, the water has finally cleared and the fishing is starting to pick up pace. Even though water temperatures are still very warm and reading in the lower 80s, last week’s few days of cooler temperatures and northeast winds evidently helped get the fish turned back on. Unfortunately the heat has returned in force this week, making the daytime fishing a little less desirable for anglers, but the improved fishing takes the burn out just a tad.
Offshore, a few days of very calm conditions allowed anglers to venture to just about any desired destination. Anglers fishing the deeper water near the Gulf Stream found a few scattered wahoo. Dolphin fishing has been decent in this area as well, but a lot of fish have also been found in the 20-30 mile range. Bottom fishing for grouper has been good in around 100 feet of water and is also yielding some triggerfish, black bass and snapper. Speaking of bottom fishing, anglers are hooking some fish in shallower water, however they are reporting a lot of sharks invading the ledges in anything less than 100 feet.
Along the beach, the false albacore have been abundant in the 3-5 mile range. Some good-sized Spanish mackerel are also mixed in. There’s been plenty of baitfish around the inlets and that’s been drawing in the king mackerel. Plenty of anglers have reported seeing kings skying in the vicinity of Masonboro Inlet in recent days. Heading out with a live well full of menhaden or jigging up some shad, aka “LYs,” around the rocks and slow trolling or drifting should elicit at least a strike or two. Another favorite bait sure to draw some interest from a king mackerel is live bluefish. They can also be found around the rocks by using small spoons and Got-Cha Plugs.
Inshore, the finger mullet are getting larger and more plentiful daily, meaning the fishing in shallow water should be improving very soon. Red drum are around but scattered and can be found in the deeper creeks and around the docks. The flounder are plentiful but finding a decent keeper will take some work. A lot of the fish are falling just shy of the 15-inch size limit. For larger fish, drifting the inlets or heading into the Cape Fear River will improve your chances of getting a trophy. Surf and pier anglers are catching some good-sized Virginia mullet on fresh shrimp. A few small pompano and croakers have also been spotted.
On a more regrettable note, I, along with many others in the Wrightsville Beach community, lost a true friend and die-hard fisherman last week. Captain Rob Tennille IV will be truly missed and one could only hope to have a life as adventurous as his. I have no doubt he is currently catching the big one. Catch ’em up, dude!