Fish Post

Carolina Beach – April 11, 2019

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Charlie, of Island Tackle and Hardware, reports that a good number of red drum are being caught in the backwaters, with more trout showing up as well. Carolina-rigged baits and soft plastics on jig heads will work for both, and MR17 and 18s in natural colors (such as new penny) have been drawing strikes as well.

Whiting have shown up in force in the Kure Beach surf, and some nice black drum are being caught as well. Fresh shrimp, bloodworms, and cut bait will work for both. Bluefish are making an appearance, and the bite will only get better as the water continues to warm.

Big black sea bass are being caught between 10-15 miles, and Atlantic bonito are busting bait in the 15-20 mile range. Throwing Spanish Candies and Stingsilvers has worked for the bonito.

In the 100-150’ depth range, blackfin tuna and wahoo are attacking skirted ballyhoo and Mac-a-Hoos.


Alex Benson, of Golden Hour Guide Service, with a 74 lb. wahoo that hit a ballyhoo behind a black and blue Sea Witch while trolling around Devil’s Hole.

Christian, of Seahawk Inshore Fishing Charters, reports that redfish are still biting, with some bigger slot-sized fish starting to mix in with the smaller ones. Dead shrimp fished on the bottom are drawing strikes, as are mud minnows and Gulp shrimp.

Black drum are showing up, albeit in small numbers, with most of the fish in the 15-17” range, though a few have been up to 20”. Dead shrimp fished on the bottom have been working well.

Small speckled trout are hitting artificials (especially soft plastics from Gulp, Yo-Zuri, Z-Man, etc. on light jig heads). The lighter the jig head, the better chance you have of getting a bite. If the current allows it, 1/8 oz. has been ideal.


Luke, of Spot On Charters, reports that there is finally clear water in the river, and with decent-sized bait moving in, the bigger fish are following.

The main target recently has been speckled trout, and while there have been a lot of spikes around, it’s not hard to find a 2-3 lb. fish. Smaller soft plastics (such as Z-Man Trout Tricks) and MR17s have been grabbing attention, and using the right colors can make the difference. Browns and oranges with a little bit of flash have been working well in the dark water, but you can go a little lighter on a sunny afternoon with no cloud cover.

Red drum are out there and are still in their larger schools. They’re moving back into the grass, where live bait should do the trick.

Flounder are around, though not in any good sizes or numbers. Anglers will have more luck in the inlets and river mouth, or even out on the nearshore wrecks. It will be another month before inshore flounder fishing really starts to get consistent.

Clint O’Neal shows off a black drum he caught while surf fishing in Kure Beach using fresh shrimp.

Luke, of Coastline Charters, reports that spring fishing has started to fire off. The red drum have been feeding extremely well, and with the water in the 60 degree range, the fish have begun to move into their normal summer patterns. Docks along the ICW have been consistently holding fish, as have oyster bars in the back of creeks on muddy flats. Fresh shrimp, cut bait, or mud minnows on a Carolina rig have been working wonders, as have Z-Man shrimp and swim baits on a Blue Water Candy jig head.

Good numbers of black drum have been feeding in the same areas as the reds. Focus on the docks and oyster bars and throw fresh Carolina-rigged shrimp to get a bite.

Speckled trout fishing has been fantastic. Targeting deep holes, creek mouths, and deeper banks along the marsh grass has been effective when using Z-Man shrimp and MirrOlure MR17s.

Chopper blues have started to show up, though not in any big numbers yet. Topwater baits early in the morning are the best way to target the blues.

The first run of false albacore and Atlantic bonito should be coming any day now, thanks to the warm weather in the forecast.

Rod, of OnMyWay Fishing Charters, reports that nearshore water temperatures are still on the cool side. Atlantic bonito haven’t made an appearance yet, but the signs are pointing to their arrival over the next week or two.

The 70 degree water around the Tower area is holding a lot of false albacore and amberjacks.

Jumbo black sea bass and grunts are readily available on the 18-35 mile bottom, and beeliners and pink snapper are chewing in the 35-40 mile range.

Out toward the Gulf Stream, the wahoo bite has been good on temperature breaks, and mahi are biting along the edge as well. African pompano are starting to appear around the Steeples, and blackfin tuna are beginning to show themselves as well. Make as much noise as possible behind your boat to attract the tuna and mahi, using your entire teaser arsenal of spreader bars and dredges to draw their attention to the surface. Ballyhoo and blue/white cedar plugs should get a bite.

Overall, get a clear water shot the morning before you go fishing, and head straight for the temperature breaks on the edge of the Gulf Stream to drastically increase your chances of finding a fish.


Woody, of Kure Beach Pier, reports that a lot of puffers have come in, along with a few whiting. The blues have really picked up over the last few days, with bottom rigs proving to be the best tactic for finding them.