The fishing has been remarkably decent for anglers considering the weather issues they’ve been facing the past couple of weeks. Between the cold fronts with winds and rain and the glancing impacts from hurricanes and tropical storms, anglers have had to change the way they do things but the fishing has remained steady. And now that things seem to be settling down a bit, there’s yet again another hurricane called, Maria, that our area needs to keep a sharp eye on and at the very least we’ll once again be getting some large swell and dangerous ocean conditions at a minimum. Ocean conditions are forecast to start deteriorating very fast entering the weekend, so if boating is in your plan, make sure you stay up to date on what you can expect. Water temperatures have dropped to around eighty degrees.
Surf fishing has been pretty good for anglers as the cooling water temperatures and the churned up surf have gotten the fish into a feeding mood. Fresh shrimp is producing some decent catches of Virginia mullet and pompano along with some black drum. Sand fleas are attracting the larger fish of these species. Red drum are being reported on both live minnows and cut bait from anglers fishing the sloughs and deeper holes. Scouting the beach strand during low tide will reveal some likely fishing locations for anglers. Anglers are also reporting a lot of bluefish in the surf and they are being caught on both cut bait and spoons. Some anglers have even reported a few bluefish blitzes being encountered early and late in the day.
Inshore, fishermen are tangling with some very large, over slot red drum near the inlets and are also finding some big fish in the deeper creeks. As stated before, if targeting these fish, anglers need to use stout tackle in order to catch and release them fairly quickly. A quick release means a better chance of survival and anglers are reporting that they’re seeing some fishermen using less than appropriate tackle. While this can be a fun fight on light tackle, it almost ensures the demise of the fish even if it swims away after the fight. Some slot sized fish are being found around the docks and as has been the sure fire tactic, fresh cut bait seems to be producing better than live minnows due to the amount of bait that’s being found in the waters. Flounder fishing continues to be strong, especially around Carolina Beach and in the Cape Fear River. There are some decent fish being found around the Wrightsville Beach waters, but the majority are just undersized. Hopefully as the season progresses the keeper fish will start to outnumber the smaller ones.
Offshore, the fishing has been good when the boaters can get out there. Wahoo have been the main prize of those heading to the Gulf Stream, but ocean conditions have not allowed many reports to come in. There appears to be a slight window of opportunity the middle of this week, but it’s a very narrow window. Elsewhere the dolphin, aka mahi, bite has been strong as well. Some blackfin tuna were also reported when boats were fishing on a regular basis.