As we head into the last couple of weeks of July, the conditions that anglers are facing are changing weekly if not daily. With water temperatures fluctuating from the lower to mid eighties on a regular basis, the fish that anglers are targeting are also adapting to the changing conditions. Hence last week’s report was that the fish were biting really good and the week before the summer doldrums were taking affect. This week is no different as fishermen are fishing and some are catching but depending on the day, it can definitely be hit or miss, so don’t be discouraged if the fish aren’t being cooperative.
Inshore, the flounder fishing continues to be very good, as it has been for the past several weeks, Live finger mullet and peanut menhaden fished on Carolina Rigs are a good bet but some are also have luck using the larger scented soft artificial baits. The area docks and creeks around Wrightsville Beach are good spots to try as are the area inlets, but if you or anyone on your boat knows anything about the areas around the lower Cape Fear River, there lies your best chances of a decent catch or two.
Red drum are holding in the same areas and can be caught on the same baits but may require a little different tactic and luck. Some decent speckled trout fishing is also being found in the river with lots of the fish being encountered being of good quality. Fresh shrimp is also producing some good catches of black drum along the oyster beds and around the area docks and bridges
Along the beach, the surf anglers are having lots of success with virginia mullet coming from the sloughs and deeper holes within the outer sandbars. Some red drum, flounder and bluefish are also being reported on a variety of baits, but the natural baits, such as minnows and shrimp are producing much better than the artificial.
Spanish mackerel are still a regular occurrence around the mouths of the inlets and in water depths of thirty to forty feet, with the better fishing being found around the baitfish congregated in the areas. Clark Spoons trolled on small weights and also small planers are the main tactic while some anglers are still electing to sight cast with Gotcha Plugs and small spoons. As has been the case all summer, fishing early and late in the day will increase your chances of finding fish willing to eat.
Those fishing live trolled menhaden are finding lots of king mackerel in the ten mile range with better fishing being around fifteen miles. With that said, the waterway is full of menhaden from Wrightsville Beach southward towards Carolina Beach and also into the Cape Fear River, so as those fish start emptying into the ocean on a regular basis from the various inlets, expect the predators looking for something to eat to react accordingly.
Offshore, the bottom fishing has been good, but as has been reported previously, the sharks are a major problem for those fishing the area ledges. Moving out to water depths over one hundred feet was working for most anglers a few weeks ago, but has slowly reached the same fate and those fishing are sometimes forced to move out to even deeper locations.
Gulf Stream fishing has been hot or miss and with the high water temperatures, finding a conducive location to drop lines has been difficult. There’s still some good fishing to be found, but a lot of boaters are electing to find other areas to fish with a better chance of some fish for the cooler.