Morehead City/Atlantic Beach – October 2020
Matt, of Chasin’ Tails, reports that the speckled trout bite is beginning to really pick up as the water cools. Soft plastics and live baits under popping corks is the go-to method when working most inshore areas, especially with windy weather. Topwater plugs are also providing plenty of action and only get more popular as weather patterns settle.
Slot-sized red drum are feeding right alongside the trout. They’re also hitting live baits and soft plastics.
The citation drum bite is in full swing from areas around Cedar Island to the mouth of the Neuse River. Large popping cork setups are the go-to method, with fresh cut cob mullet fished on the bottom also producing action.
Nearshore anglers are seeing a great spanish mackerel bite while casting jigs and free-lining live baits from the inlet out to three miles. A few schools of bluefish, false albacore, and smaller kings are feeding alongside the spanish.
Offshore anglers have seen an uptick in wahoo action out at the break, with planer rods and deep-diving plugs getting strikes. Scattered numbers of dolphin and sailfish are hitting skirted baits.
Offshore structure is holding good numbers of triggerfish, vermilion snapper, and porgies.
Paul, of Freeman’s Bait and Tackle, reports that wahoo fishing has been solid offshore with the slight downturn in temperatures. Over the next few weeks, anglers anticipate this bite staying steady, mixing with good numbers of blackfin tuna and scattered mahi also feeding around the break.
King mackerel action has stayed best around the deeper structure 10+ miles out. They have begun a transition into shallower waters, with both dead bait rigs and live baits providing some big strikes.
Spanish mackerel and false albacore are schooled from the inlets out along the beachfronts, and large flounder (up to 5+ lbs.) continue to hit live baits and bucktails around nearshore ARs.
Inshore fishing has seen a great pick up in action as bait schools begin to shift through the sounds. A mix of flounder, slot-sized red drum, and speckled trout are all very active in deeper holes and along grass banks. The top producing methods have been fishing topwater plugs and live baits either under corks or on Carolina rigs.
Chris, of Mount Maker Charters, reports that nearshore action has fired off, with good numbers of schoolie kings, spanish mackerel, and false albacore feeding off the beaches.
Anglers fishing structure in the 100’ range are still having great bottom fishing but are looking forward to cooler water to push the action into shallower reefs and rocks.
Inshore anglers are seeing action heat up on slot-sized red drum and speckled trout. Over the next few weeks this bite should break wide open as the fall mullet run pushes bait throughout the sounds.
Citation-class red drum are also around from area inlets into the Cedar Island area. These trophy reds will stick around as long as the bait does.
Justin, of Breakday Charters, reports that flounder fishing continues to be on fire at both nearshore structure and inshore ledges. Many anglers are hooking into limits of fish with live baits and Breakday bucktails with soft plastic trailers.
Large spanish mackerel are staged from the inlets to nearshore ARs feeding on the bait pushing out of the sounds. Casting glass minnow jigs with a fast retrieve are great when spotting fish breaking the surface.
Inshore fishing has been focused around the great red drum bite. A mix of slot and over-slot fish are being caught while live-baiting in deeper holes and channels around the marshes.
The speckled trout bite is a bit scattered, but a couple weeks from now should see a major uptick in action as water temperatures cool.
Dave, at Cape Lookout Charters, reports that redfish action has been great around Bogue Sound and into Newport River. Popping cork rigs with artificial shrimp, topwater plugs, and fresh shad are all producing strikes from the reds that are in a feeding frenzy with bait moving through the area.
Speckled trout fishing has turned on, and anglers are pleased with the new topwater action on recent trips. Heddon Super Spooks and She Dog plugs worked with a steady retrieve have been the ticket for blow-ups.
Spanish mackerel, small king mackerel, and false albacore are in abundance around Barden and Beaufort inlets, with high tide cycles being best. Free-lined live shad is a deadly setup, with 1/4 oz. bucktails also getting strikes.
Joey, of Dancin’ Outlaw, reports that offshore fishing is getting very good as the weather moves away from summertime highs. A mix of large wahoo and scattered mahi are in the daily dock counts, and sailfish action has been great all summer, with recent trips still seeing as many as 5 releases in a day.
Good-sized blackfin and scattered yellowfin tuna are also hitting the skirted offerings. Over the next few weeks, the cooling water temperatures should continue to produce better numbers of tuna.
Nearshore structure is loaded with large barracuda and the bigger king mackerel, and anglers taking a break from trolling are catching snapper and triggerfish on cut baits.
Closer to the beach, spanish mackerel fishing is wide open. Large schools of fish are being caught from Beaufort Inlet out to structure in the 5 mile range. Most nearshore trips are limiting out on Spanish, and then adding in bonus bluefish and false albacore hookups.
Wayne, of Oceanana Pier, reports that some flounder (up to 4+ lbs.) have been feeding on live bait.
Red drum numbers have been getting better in recent days, as the fish are flushing out of the inlet. Some large reds (up to 9 lbs.) are hitting bottom-rigged live mullet.
Really good numbers of bluefish are surface feeding on all the bait around the pier. Casting glass minnow jigs and Gotcha plugs are getting action from the blues and spanish mackerel.
Sheepshead are hitting fresh bait fished right against the pilings, and bottom fishing has been producing sea mullet, croakers, and some spot.