Fish Post

Wrightsville Beach – August 15, 2019

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Matt, of Tex’s Tackle, reports that fishing inshore has been good for red and black drum, flounder, speckled trout, ladyfish, and sheepshead.

There’s been some steady fishing under dock and bridge lights at night for bluefish and ladyfish.

Flounder fishing has been steady around docks, in the creeks, and near the inlets. There’s plenty of finger mullet around, and they are a good go-to bait this time of year. Gulp and Z-Man soft plastics have also been producing a good number of flounder.

The reds and trout have also been hitting topwater plugs, especially in the early morning and evening. Sheepshead and black drum are mostly being caught on fiddler crabs, sand fleas, and shrimp.

There have been a few red and black drum, croaker, whiting, pompano, and flounder coming in from the surf. Anglers can throw casting jigs from the beach for the blues and spanish, especially early and late in the day.

Spanish mackerel fishing has been improving at the nearshore wrecks and ledges, with a few big fish mixed in. Light lining with live mullet is a good way to catch the bigger fish. Anglers can always troll Yo-Zuri deep divers and Clarkspoons behind planers to go for quantities of fish.

Boats bouncing the bottom have been catching lots of big flounder, keeper gray trout, and mixed sizes of red drum at the nearshore ARs and ledges. The best tactic is a bucktail tipped with a Gulp or a live mullet.

There are still a few cobia making their way through the area, and also a few tarpon running along the beach. Most are going to be near the inlets, around live bottoms, and at the artificial reefs off the beach.

There’s been some decent fishing for mahi in the 12-40 mile range, including some 20+ lb. fish. A good push of offshore water last week brought some strong mahi fishing into the 23 Mile Rock area. Trolling with ballyhoo or squid has been the most common strategy.

King mackerel fishing was a little more sporadic. There was a decent bite in the 15-30 mile range. Live bait, ballyhoo, cigar minnows, Drone spoons, and bigger Clarkspoons will all produce fish.

The gag grouper bite—along with beeliners, pinkies, and grunts—has been strong starting in about 80’. The reds and scamps are biting well further offshore, along with good numbers of triggerfish.

Gulf Stream trolling has been tough, but boats that have found temperature breaks and weed lines over structure have had success catching some big blackfin, mahi, sailfish, and wahoo.

Mike Bernstein, of Wilmington, NC, with a pair of flounder caught while fishing the ICW near Wrightsville Beach. The larger flounder weighed 5 lbs.

Arlen, of Intracoastal Angler, reports that fishing for red drum along the flats has been great throughout the area, from behind Masonboro Island and throughout the Cape Fear River.  Skitterwalks and 6″ jerk shads have been the go-to offerings.

Early in the morning, topwater trout fishing in the lower river has been excellent, with fish up to 6 lbs. coming on Spook Jrs and 3DS Pencils.

Flounder fishing along the mid-river spoil islands has also been productive, mainly on live mullet and menhaden fished around the points.

Sheepshead fishing has been very consistent from bridges and bulkheads around the Wrightsville causeway, with live fiddlers producing the best.

Surf anglers are reporting the occasional pompano and sea mullet, with upper-slot red drum being caught on cut mullet.

In the ocean, red drum up to 40+” are showing up along nearshore structures, where live and cut baits fished on larger Carolina rigs are preferred. Areas such as the Marriott Reef, Johns Creek, and the Masonboro jetties have all been hot. Flounder fishing the nearshore reefs has continued to produce fish up to 6 lbs., with 2 oz. bucktail/Gulp combos the best choice.

While trolling for kings and dolphin in the 20-30 mile range has slowed some, a few fish are still being reported from the Schoolhouse and WR4 areas, mainly on trolled ballyhoo. In the same range, anglers fishing sardines and mackerel on bottom rigs are reporting good catches of gag grouper.

Gulf Stream action is starting to pick up, with some mixed catches of wahoo, mahi, and blackfin tuna being reported. Trolled ballyhoo around the Steeples and north of the Nipple has produced the best, including several sailfish last week.

Don Hartsell, of Wilmington, NC, landed this 7 lb., 26″ flounder in the Cape Fear River near downtown Wilmington on a live mullet.

Jamie, of Seagate Charters, reports that red drum are biting throughout the area, with the biggest fish hanging around the inlets. Live mullet have been the ticket.

Flounder fishing has been great off the beaches and around inshore structure.

Speckled trout are hitting topwaters early in the morning.

Spanish fishing has been fantastic off the northern end of the beach, with traditional Clarkspoon setups getting the most bites.


Trevor, of ProFishNC Charters, reports that plenty of reds are coming from rock piles and docks, while sheepshead fishing is at its peak around these same areas.

Nearshore flounder fishing is very hot right now, with good numbers of fish coming from live finger mullet on Spro jigs in the 1-5 mile range.


Rick, of Living Waters Guide Service, reports that offshore bottom fishing has been on fire in the 160-300’ range, with scamps, triggers, pinkies, and grunts. Trolling has been slow, but a few wahoo, blackfins, and sailfish have been around.

Nearshore in the 85-100’ range has been good with gags, grunts, pinkies, beeliners, and black sea bass. Trolling in that range has been slow, but there are some kings around, along with schools of mahi and an occasional sailfish.

Nearshore has been hot for flounder, and spanish trolling remains steady along the beach.


Patrick, of Johnnie Mercers Pier, reports that kings, spanish, sea mullet, and spots have made up the majority of the pier’s catch. The freshest shrimp you can get has been working well for most species.

Gotcha plugs are getting numbers of spanish and blues, but live bait is producing the biggest fish. Spanish have been in the 2-4 lb. range and have mostly been caught in the afternoon toward dusk, while the majority of the kings have been 7-8 lbs. and have been caught in the morning.