The past couple of weeks have seen an influx of thunderstorms in our area bringing torrential rains as well as some dangerous lightning, which no doubt is having an impact on area anglers. Water temperatures remain in the mid to lower eighty degree range and with the area rains, have become stained and muddy, which is also having some effect. Add to that some astronomical tides and the fishing conditions have just not been very pleasing for catching fish. But with all of that said, the area fishermen are having some success, both inshore and offshore when they can get there. Hopefully the trend of storms will subside in the coming weeks, although there’s still plenty being forecast for the foreseeable future, which is to be expected for this time of year.
Inshore, the red drum fishing has been pretty outstanding with most anglers having better luck by using cut bait instead of live bait. Finger mullet are extremely plentiful, thus the red drum are not having much interest in fishermen using them, but when some cut bait, which has much more scent is being used, the success rate of hookups has increased. Flounder fishing has also shown some increases with live minnows working and the larger scented artificial also producing some significant catches. The area docks are holding lots of drum, with some over slot fish still being caught around the jetties at Masonboro Inlet. The larger flounder are being reported coming from the areas of the lower Cape Fear River and areas around Carolina Beach. Wrightsville Beach waters are also holding some flounder, but anglers have to week through quite a few before finding a keeper.
Inshore anglers are also reporting some good catches of black drum on both live shrimp and cut bait in the creeks and around the dock and bridge pilings. The jetties around the inlet are also producing some decent catches when the tides not running hard. Those targeting sheepshead are also having luck around the dock and bridge pilings by using one arm bandits, barnacles and sea urchins.
Off the beach, anglers fishing by boat have had to brave the fishable but choppy waters recently, as the southerly winds continue to cause those fishing from smaller boats to stay in port. Spanish mackerel fishing is consistent in water depths between twenty five and thirty five feet. Fishing at first light or shortly thereafter, trolling light weights with small Clark Spoons are working but once the sun gets up and temperatures start rising, a change of tactics to small planers is needed to get the fish to bite.
Live baiters fishing for king mackerel still haven’t found the fish along the beach, even with the abundance of bait balls. Kings have been reported in the ten mile range, with lots of small fish still being mixed in. Better fishing with better quality fish is being reported in the fifteen to twenty mile range. Some inshore dolphin have been reported as close as eight miles, with more consistent encounters beyond fifteen miles out.
Bottom fishing for grouper is best for the reds and scamps in water depths around one hundred and twenty feet. Vermillion snapper are also being found in the same areas and can normally be found suspended about ten to fifteen feet above the bottom. Triggerfish can also be caught in the same locations with the larger fish coming from water depths around one hundred and forty feet.
Gulf Stream fishermen have reported some pretty decent action from wahoo around the Same Ole Hole and Swansboro Hole the past couple of weeks. Water temperatures are very warm so finding any sort of temperature variation or floating debris will normally hold some fish in the area.