The official start of fall started almost two weeks ago and finally we have some conditions that represent the true definition as far as fishing is involved. Lower temperatures, much less humidity, and dropping water temperature are a few changes, and for those who like to head offshore, unfortunately, some very breezy and stiff winds out of the north and north-east are also a given when fall arrives in full force. But this is to be expected during the month of October and the days leading into the weekend are no different. Water temperatures are reading in the mid seventy degree range and fishing has been fairly steady and decent.
Inshore, the red drum bite around the docks and creeks has been very good for slot sized fish. Artificial baits have been working decent along with fresh cut bait and live finger mullet on Carolina Rigs. With the falling water temperatures, the fish have definitely become more active and the times during the cooler mornings and late afternoons has allowed for some spectacular top water action for those willing to put in the work and effort.
And with the cooler waters, the speckled trout have started making more of an appearance around the Wrightsville Beach area, and while the fishing for them is far from good, it’s a step in the right direction. As the month progresses, there should be many more reports of the speckled trout being encountered in the normal go to areas first and then spreading out into some of the adjacent creeks and channels. Flounder fishing has also started improving and will continue to do so well into the month.
For both the trout and flounder, the better and bigger fish are being found in areas around Carolina Beach and the Cape Fear River and that’s pretty much always the case when quantity and quality are priorities, but there are and will be some very decent fish found in local areas during the month with the areas around the Masonboro Inlet Jetties producing some good speckled trout action for citation sized fish in the coming months. Lots of large, over slot, citation sized red drum have been caught and released near the inlet and along Masonboro Island the past few weeks and while it will slow down eventually, the fishing has remained steady.
Surf anglers are reporting some decent luck with Virginia mullet and small pompano using fresh shrimp with sand fleas producing some larger species. Cut bait has resulted in some red drum and bluefish and black drum have been biting both. Pier anglers have started reporting some good runs of spots and although sporadic, there’s hope of some significant catches when the temperatures dip just a tad more.
Offshore action has been limited due to sea conditions, but wahoo and dolphin in the Gulf Stream will be normal encounters when boats can get back out. Closer to the beach, the king mackerel fishing has been decent in the fifteen mile range and the spanish mackerel fishing has been good right along the beach.