Swansboro/Emerald Isle – August 2020
Randy, of The Reel Outdoors, reports that surf anglers are working the deeper troughs with cut shrimp for pompano and sea mullet. Spanish mackerel and bluefish are feeding on bait schools within distance of anglers prepared with casting jigs.
Inside the inlet, red drum and speckled trout are feeding on live baits around grass lines and oyster beds.
Nearshore trips are producing spanish mackerel and kings around local ARs. Live menhaden are getting most the action, with dead bait rigs also getting some strikes from the kings.
Offshore fishing is scattered with the warm water, though wahoo are being caught as close in as SE Bottoms.
Dale, of Dudley’s Marina, reports that red drum are feeding well back in the marshes. Topwater plugs are seeing most of the action for anglers getting out early and late in the day. Soft plastics are also getting bites, but many prefer watching the fish swirl and break the surface. When the sun gets higher in the sky, switching to Carolina-rigged striped mullet will entice a strike.
Flounder are being caught in good numbers around docks in the ICW. The go-to setups are Carolina-rigged live mullet and 4” Gulp shrimp.
Black drum and sheepshead are holding around these same docks and barnacle-covered pilings. Anglers are targeting them with fresh shrimp and fiddler crabs.
Nearshore anglers are reporting good numbers of spanish and king mackerel from the beach out to 10 miles while trolling spoons and live bait.
Further offshore, wahoo and mahi are scattered from the break to as near as 10 miles.
Sailfish are also in trip reports, with a few sails being caught as close as 5 miles.
Rob, of Sandbar Safari Charters, reports that the nearshore bite has been on fire, with large spanish and king mackerel hitting live menhaden.
As anglers push further off into the 5-15 mile range, they are finding plenty of kings, amberjack, and cobia.
The bottom in this depth range is holding some nice-sized grouper.
Inshore, the bite has been very good for red and black drum around the area bridges and docks. Fishing Carolina-rigged live shrimp and mullet in these deeper holes are getting the strikes.
Red drum are scattered out onto the flats and in marshes in search of baitfish. These fish are best targeted with topwater plugs, Gulp soft plastics, and live bait.
A few speckled trout are mixed in around deeper holes and edges in the ICW. Fishing live shrimp, mullet, or shad suspended just off the bottom has been the hot ticket.
Johnathan, of On Point Charters, reports that upper-slot red drum are being caught in good numbers throughout the sound and marshes. Live baits always produce strikes in these hot summer months, with soft plastics on Fathom Inshore jig heads working well in deeper holes.
Speckled trout will be holding in these same areas. Getting on the water early has helped in catching trout, as the trout have been sluggish once the sun gets too high.
Flounder are all over the sound, and anglers anticipate great action when the season opens.
Nearshore trips have been doing well when fishing live baits. Large king mackerel (up to 58 lbs.), spanish mackerel, barracuda, amberjacks, and cobia are all feeding around these offshore structured areas.
John, of Early Riser Fishing Charters, reports that bluewater trips have been returning with wahoo and bailer-sized mahi.
Live bait trips have been the best action. Large king mackerel, mahi, cobia, and even sailfish are all taking these rigs being slow-trolled over ledges and structured bottoms.
Inshore fishing is focused around the great red drum bite. These fish are very responsive to topwater baits early (until the sun rises). As the heat settles in, switching to live baits is keeping the fish coming into the boat.
With keeper season getting close, flounder fishing has been on fire. Many of these fish are well over minimum size, and they should make for a great few weeks of action.
Josh, of Liquid Fire Sportfishing, reports that offshore fishing has been a bit slow, with the recent hot water having wahoo scattered around the break.
Live bait fishing, on the other hand, has been great. Large king mackerel, mahi, cobia, and barracuda are all hitting baits fished over rocks and ledges holding bait.
Teresa, of Bogue Inlet Pier, reports that large spanish mackerel (up to 4 lbs.) are being caught in good numbers. Anglers are getting strikes on both live bait and casting jigs.
A stray “Hatteras” bluefish (up to 11 lbs.) and kings are mixed in with these spanish mackerel.
Bottom fishing has been steady, with shrimp, sand fleas, and Fishbites all getting action. Anglers have been catching sea mullet, croakers, and pompano.