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Zack, of East Coast Sports, reports that surf anglers have been seeing good numbers of sea mullet. There have been some quality fish in the mix, and most anglers have been using fresh shrimp on bottom rigs. Black drum are also being caught in the same areas using shrimp.
Red drum are showing up in the surf zone, and most of the landings have been towards the inlets. Cut mullet on fish finder rigs with circle hooks are how most are being caught. Bluefish are also falling for cut bait, and there have been some 4+ lb. “choppers” reported.
Inshore boaters are finding black and red drum around the waterway docks and other man-made structure. The black drum are falling for fresh shrimp fished on Carolina rigs and 3/8 oz. jigheads.
The reds are beginning to show up in the creeks closer to the inlets. Gulp jerk shads rigged on Blue Water Candy jigheads have been getting attention from the fish. Fresh shrimp, crab, and cut baits are getting the fish to bite when they aren’t taking soft plastics. Carolina rigs and Blue Water Candy jigheads have been effective for using natural baits.
Flounder are beginning to show up in good numbers along the marsh. Live minnows fished on Carolina rigs and white Gulp jerk shads are getting the flounder to bite. Drift fishing towards the inlet and creek mouths along the marsh are producing fish. Look for flounder fishing to continue to improve over the next couple weeks.
Specked trout fishing has been good, and anglers are hooking fish on topwater plugs, scented soft plastics, and minnows. Mainland creeks seem to be holding the greatest number of trout right now. They will begin to spread out from their winter zones with the warming water.
Nearshore there have been a few bonito and false albacore showing up. Yo-Zuri Deep Divers and planers with Clarkspoons have been accounting for most of the bites. A few fish have been caught casting metal jigs.
Sea bass landings have been very good close to shore, but most of the fish have been under the size limit. Stingsilvers and cut squid have been fooling the bass.
Gulf Stream boaters are reporting catches of wahoo and yellowfin and blackfin tunas. Trolling skirted ballyhoo has been getting most of the bites, and cedar plugs are working to get a few tuna. Blue Water Candy Jags and Sea Witches are also helping to land fish.
Chadwick, of South End Anglers, reports that speckled trout fishing over the past couple weeks has been very good for big fish. Z-Man Swimmin’ Trout Tricks, PaddlerZ, and MinnowZ are getting great results fished on Fathom Inshore 1/4 oz. jigheads. The trout are becoming more aggressive, and topwater plugs, hard twitch baits, MirrOlure Top Dog Jr.’s, and MR17s are getting most of the hookups. Creek mouths, hard shell bottoms, and docks are all holding trout.
Red drum are mostly being found tucked under waterway docks, but some creeks are holding fish. Cut bluefish, shrimp, and blue crab on Carolina rigs and jigheads are accounting for most of the bites. There are also a few black drum in the same areas, and they’re favoring fresh shrimp.
There have been good numbers of bluefish caught in many of the same areas that the trout and red drum are holding. They are taking the same offerings used for the trout, as well as cut bait.
Flounder are beginning to show up in decent numbers. They are moving into creeks, mostly towards the inlets, and they’re also being found drift fishing close to the inlet. The best flounder action has been on live mud minnows fished on Carolina rigs.
Bob Blake, from Denver, CO, with a bontio caught on a pink Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow. He was fishing with Capt. Chad Davis of Lucky Dawg Guide Service.
Jim, of Plan 9 Charters, reports that a few bonito have been caught to the south. Look for those fish to “bust open” any day now. There has been a good supply of 1-4 lb. bluefish holding on the nearshore reefs. In the same areas, there has also been keeper sea bass and a few false albacore.
Trolling has been accounting for the blues, and the best action on the sea bass and false albacore has been jigging 1 oz. Shore Lures.
The keeper ratio has been a lot better for sea bass in the 75-90’ range, and the bass are falling for both cut bait and jigs.
Willie Keels with two trout that fell for live mud minnows. He was fishing around Topsail Island with Capt. Chadwick Crawford of South End Anglers.
Mike, of Native Son Guide Service, reports that trout are moving out of their winter zones and staging closer to the creek mouths. Z-Man MinnowZ and Trout Tricks are working well, and Rapala Skitterwalks have been fooling a few fish as well. The evening and early morning bite should really turn on in the next couple weeks, leading to the new and full moons.
Big bluefish are also being found in the creeks.
The drum are still around but have been fished hard all winter and are acting spooky. Fresh shrimp and crab have been the best offerings, but jerk shads soaked in Pro-Cure and fished on the bottom are also getting strikes.
The first bonito of the season are showing up, and they should continue for the next several weeks. Large spanish mackerel will be right behind the bonito. Trolling Clarkspoons on #2 planers is effective when surface feeders aren’t present. Sight casting to them with diamond jigs and epoxy minnows is very effective, and fly casting to these fish with glass minnow imitations presents a great opportunity for fly fishermen.
Robin, of Jolly Roger Pier, reports that earlier in the week the fish were very cooperative. Bottom fishing with fresh shrimp is accounting for nice catches of sea mullet, blow toads, and keeper black drum. The bluefish are biting Gotcha plugs and cut bait on the bottom.
Terry, of Surf City Pier, reports that sea mullet and blow toads are biting fresh shrimp throughout the day and night. Bluefish are beginning to show up, and most have been caught on the bottom with cut bait. The occasional black drum have been landed, too, and anglers recently took advantage of speckled trout caught in a tide pool by the pier, throwing a cast net to land a few.
Tyler, of Seaview Fishing Pier, reports that sea mullet have been filling coolers up over the past week. Fresh shrimp on the bottom are how most are getting the bites, and anglers can expect a black drum or speckled trout mixed in with the mullet. Big blues have returned to the area, and anglers on the pier have landed the bigger fish, some chopper-sized, on Gotcha plugs, topwaters, and even shrimp.