During the summer months, anglers expect some wind, especially as the sea breeze kicks in during the heating of the day. What anglers don’t expect is an ongoing onslaught of gusty south west and southeast winds occurring for the bulk of any given day, as has been experienced for the majority of the past week and unfortunately looks to continue into the upcoming weekend. Water temperatures have remained consistent and are reading in the upper seventies, being slightly cooled due to the winds and choppy seas. Obviously these conditions impact those wishing to fish outside the inlets the most but the inshore and pier anglers are having to endure the winds as well, and fishing a day in gusty breezes is not all that enjoyable.
Offshore, when boaters are able to venture out, the spanish mackerel bite has continued along the beaches in about 25 feet of water. Sight casting has proved difficult with the winds but trolling Clark Spoons and the like has still managed to trick a few fish. Anglers are also reporting some bluefish mixed in. Those looking for king mackerel have found a few fish in the five miles range, namely around the 5 Mile Box Cars but the better action for the larger fish along with more quantity has been in the ten to 20-mile range, with areas around the Dredge Wreck and 10 Mile Rock all producing some decent fishing. Anglers are also reporting a few more encounters with some dolphin in that range and that should continue to improve as we enter the warmer months. Schools of menhaden have been abundant in the waterway so finding enough bait for a live bait outing shouldn’t be much of a problem if you or someone you have onboard can throw a large net. If not then no worries, as slow trolling dead baits, such as cigar minnows and spanish sardines has also worked well. Some anglers are also jigging live baits out of the bait pods they encounter off the beach and there’s not better way to “match the hatch” so to speak, than that. Bottom fishing continued to produce for grouper, snapper and triggerfish in water depths starting around 100 feet with better fishing being found in even deeper locations.
With the water temperatures remaining very warm offshore, Gulf Stream fishing is hit or miss, but anglers fishing even the slightest temperature break or change are finding action with dolphin, a few wahoo and blackfin tuna and even some billfish.
Along the surf and off the piers, live minnows have produced a few small flounder along with a few keeper red drum. Fresh shrimp is attracting a few small croakers along with some virginia mullet and an occasional pompano. Once the surf conditions settles down a little bit that will be a great time to head out as the churned up bottom will be having fish in a feeding mood.
Inshore, anglers are reporting the flounder fishing continues to be good, with plenty of keeper fish being caught. The larger flounder are coming from the Carolina Beach areas and also the Cape Fear River but that’s not to say that anglers couldn’t find a doormat around Wrightsville Beach. Good locations to try are around the docks and the mouths of the deeper creeks where there is some decent water flow from the tides. Red drum fishing has also been good in these same areas. Anglers are having luck using both live bait, which is very plentiful, and also artificial baits, such as Gulp and DOA’s.