Last Full Week of July Keeping Anglers Busy – Hook, Line & Sinker

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As has been the case for the majority of the month, the fishing has been pretty decent depending on the particular day and the species being targeted. This week is no different and with water temperatures remaining in the lower to mid eighty degree range, the fishing, but especially the catching has proved to be difficult but not impossible.

We’ll start with the surf and pier anglers, where fishing along the Wrightsville Beach waters can be very difficult considering the amount of swimmers enjoying the cooling effects of the ocean in order to get away from the scalding sands. Anglers have adapted and are mostly fishing early and late in the day, which helps to limit the amount of vacationers in the water they experience as well as limiting the temperatures that both the angler and the fish have to endure. Fishermen using fresh shrimp have been managing some nice virginia mullet and some black drum fishing the deeper sloughs and holes during times of high tide. Sand fleas, of which there are some around the beach, have been catching the larger mullet. Beaches along Surf City, Topsail and also Carolina Beach have also been reporting some good catches of fish. Reports by those using cut bait and finger mullet have reported a few red drum and bluefish. Off the piers. Anglers fishing the surf are reporting the same catches with some spanish mackerel and bluefish coming from Gotcha Plugs.

Anglers targeting spanish mackerel reported a fairly good week of fishing with most fish well above the minimum size, but careful measuring is still needed to ensure that magic 12 inch fork length. Small kings are still being reported mixed in so careful identification is also needed. While some anglers rely on the lateral line to ID the difference, the black dorsal fin is a sure fire way to make the fish you just landed is a spanish mackerel. Anglers are reporting trolled Clark Spoons are working well while some are also managing some sight casting to schools of fish, which have been plentiful just outside of the inlets.

King mackerel reports of decent keeper fish have been limited near the beaches, but there are plenty of reports of small fish being caught. Yet again, this is a prime time to remind anglers about identification and the minimum size limits, of which king mackerel are 23 inches. Plenty of menhaden have been running the beaches and are also stacked up in the waterway, so if live baiting is your preference, there’s no shortage. Other have been trolling dead baits and having just as much luck. Areas around Dallas Rock and The Dredge Wreck have all been holding some small fish with a few keepers mixed in. Shark encounters continue being topics of conversation with anyone using natural baits, both live and dead, especially while bottom fishing, which has been the case for several years. If bottom fishing is something you want to do, then water depths over 100 feet will help eliminate those encounters.

Few Gulf Stream reports have been coming in but a few boats ventured out towards the Steeples and reported some action from wahoo and dolphin. Unfortunately the weekend forecast is not looking conducive to offshore outings, mainly because of the increased threat of storms which often come with winds and lightning. Considering it’s early in the week, forecasts will change and may allow some window of opportunity for those wanting to fish the blue water.

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