Swansboro/Emerald Isle – September, 2020
Randy, of The Reel Outdoors, reports that surf fishing slowed down a little with the recent weather dirtying up the water. Sea mullet and pompano are still biting fresh shrimp, but anglers look forward to cleaner water pushing back onto the beach.
Small sharks have been very prevalent, and they’re tearing up bottom-rigged baits.
Sound-side anglers are finding limits of flounder while working soft plastics and live baits along grass banks in the ICW.
Slot-sized red drum are in the same deeper areas, and these reds are reacting well to the same live and artificial baits.
A few anglers are targeting speckled trout in the mainland creeks, but hot water has the bite slow.
Dale, of Dudley’s Marina, reports that inshore anglers are catching flounder and speckled trout with live baits or soft plastics around creek mouths.
Red drum are being caught around grass banks and docks from the ICW to the inlet. Carolina-rigged live mullet has been producing most strikes.
The area’s bridges have good numbers of sheepshead and black drum chewing on shellfish around the pilings.
Spanish mackerel and bluefish are feeding on bait schools in and near the inlet.
Surf fishing is mainly focused on the bottom fishing action, with anglers catching a variety of croaker, mullet, and small sharks.
Rob, of Sandbar Safari Charters, reports that the nearshore flounder bite has been on fire in the 2-8 mile range. Action is being found around reefs and ledges with bucktails and Gulp soft plastic trailers.
Some spanish mackerel are holding over the same structure, and they’re hitting smaller live shad.
King mackerel, grouper, amberjack, and some cobia are being caught on live baits fished free-lined or on the bottom in the 10-20 mile range.
Deep channels and ICW docks are where all the inshore fishing action has been centered. A mix of black drum, red drum, sheepshead, flounder, and speckled trout are all hitting live shrimp fished both under corks and on Carolina rigs. To produce most strikes, look for spots that also have current.
Red drum are scattered throughout the marshes, with live mullet fished against grass lines during high tide being the most productive.
Johnathan, of On Point Charters, reports that good numbers of speckled trout have stayed active throughout the summer season. The fish are staged up in deeper holes from the inlet back up into mainland creeks.
Red and black drum are being caught around ICW docks and oyster beds in the marsh.
Flounder fishing has been very good, especially with anglers now looking for them. Targeting inshore banks and nearshore reefs are both producing action.
Some good-sized black sea bass are feeding around the same nearshore structures.
Clean water along the beaches has led to great spanish mackerel fishing. Over the next few weeks, bait pushing out of the inlets should really ramp up the action.
John, of Early Riser Fishing Charters, reports that inshore anglers have been catching strong numbers of red drum in the marsh. When fishing on mornings and high tide cycles, the drum are pushed more into the grass edges versus low tide in the channels.
A few speckled trout are mixed in the counts, with pretty good numbers of fish around compared to a typical summer. This should fare well for when water temperatures drop later in the year.
Nearshore anglers are finding a few large king mackerel while fishing live baits just off the beaches. With the high water temperatures, though, most of the action is out in the 15-20 mile range.
Scattered numbers of mahi are in the same 20 mile range. They’re hitting dead bait on skirted rigs.
Sailfish are a nice bonus, with good numbers being in the counts this summer.
Live baits fished around structure at these depths are producing large amberjack, sharks, and barracuda.
Bluewater trips are targeting wahoo out at the break.
Josh, of Liquid Fire Sportfishing, reports that bottom fishing has been great all summer, with limits of triggerfish, vermilion snapper, and grouper hitting a variety of cut baits.
Kings are holding over ledges and rocks in the 15+ mile range, with both skirted dead baits and live baits getting big strikes. Over the next few weeks, anglers look forward to any slight water temperature change to push the kings back nearshore.
Large barracuda and cobia are staged over these same nearshore structured areas.
Teresa, of Bogue Inlet Pier, reports that bottom fishing has been producing good numbers of pompano and sea mullet. Flounder (up to 2+ lbs.) are being caught on bottom-rigged live baits.
Spanish mackerel numbers are getting better now that the water is cleaning up after recent rains. A few large spanish (up to 8 lbs.) have been landed, with live baits getting the bigger bites.
King mackerel (up to 28 lbs.) are also hitting live baits fished off the pier end.