By Skylar Walters
The fishing for the last couple weeks of August has been pretty good for both inshore and offshore anglers and that momentum should continue right through the month of September, and in some cases, even improve. Water temperatures are still reading in the mid-to-lower 80-degree range and will probably remain fairly steady for at least another week or two before finally starting to slowly decline. Days have become much shorter already and cold fronts pushing into the area should become more prevalent. The extended forecast is calling for a significant change early next week but we’ll have to wait and see how that pans out if, in fact, it arrives.
Offshore, the wahoo bite has started picking up around the well-known areas such as the Same Ole Hole, the Swansboro Hole and the Steeples. Anglers have also managed a few hookups and catches with sailfish. The dolphin bite is still good between the Gulf Stream waters and around 30 miles out. Bottom fishing in around 100 feet of water is producing good action with grouper. Anglers are encountering triggerfish, black sea bass, snapper and other assorted bottom feeders in good numbers. As has been the case for several weeks now, fishing in anything much shallower will involve sharks and lots of them.
Near the beach, the Spanish mackerel bite has still been consistent for anglers trolling Clark Spoons on small planers in water depths of between 25 and 35 feet. King mackerel are prowling the shallow waters and anglers fishing around the schools of menhaden are having some luck slow trolling live baits. The ocean flounder fishing is producing some good catches of decent-sized fish around structure and bottom on live bait.
Inshore, the fishing appears to be really improving with plenty of reports of red drum caught on both artificial and live baits. The finger mullet are plentiful and one rigged Carolina style is an almost irresistible meal for a fat red. Docks, channels and creek mouths are all producing fish.
The flounder fishing is picking up with reports of lots more keepers. The same locations that you find drum will also hold flounder. Fishing ledges and the muddy banks around the inlets are good places to try your luck. Anglers fishing the creeks and islands in the Cape Fear River have been catching plenty of doormats the past couple of weeks as well.
Surf and pier anglers are finding plenty of decent-sized Virginia mullet in the sloughs by using fresh shrimp or sand fleas. Some good-sized pompano have been reported. Now that summer is officially over and the vacation crowds have dwindled, surf anglers will be able to target more fishy-looking areas without having to worry about hooking a non-fish species.