Topsail/Sneads Ferry – August 2020
Don, of East Coast Sports, reports that king mackerel are pushed offshore in the 30-35 mile range. Blue Water Candy and Big Nic dead bait rigs with ballyhoo and cigar minnows are both getting strikes.
A few mahi are being caught around 35 miles out on the same dead bait rigs.
Inshore anglers are catching speckled trout and red drum on Gulp and similar soft plastics along deeper grass lines and oyster beds. Some anglers on the water early are finding a good topwater bite with MirrOlure Top Pups.
Surf anglers are having the best action while bottom fishing. They’re landing a good mix of pompano and sea mullet.
Chadwick, of South End Anglers, reports that redfish are feeding along grass lines, oyster beds, docks, bays, and creeks. Fishing early and late (avoiding mid-day heat) has been the most productive. Topwaters like Rapala Skitterwalks, MirrOlure Top Pups, and MirrOlure Catch 2000s have been great search baits. Deeper holes have been best worked with Z-Man soft plastics paired with Fathom Inshore jig heads and Eye Strike Texas Eye hooks. Once the sun is overhead, live and cut baits have worked best.
Speckled trout are hitting topwaters early and then lightly-weighted Carolina-rigged mullet mid-day.
Flounder fishing has been very strong, with inshore fish hitting Carolina-rigged mullet and Fathom Inshore Pro Ripple Belly grubs. The nearshore bite has been good using bucktails tipped with Gulp shrimp and 5” Z-Man Diezel MinnowZ. Using Pro-Cure scents tends to help hook-up numbers.
Nearshore trips have found trolling dead bait rigs and live pogies as being effective for kings in the area.
Plenty of amberjack and barracuda are holding above the area’s ARs. Live pogies and Z-Man HeroZ rigged on heavy TT jigs will get these fish to bite.
Ray, of Spring Tide Guide Service, reports that spanish mackerel fishing has been great in the 35-50’ range. Small diamond jigs and spoons behind smaller planers are great help in locating the schools.
King mackerel have scattered some over the last few trips, with most fish holding deeper in the 50-70’ range.
The bright spot off the beach has been the fantastic flounder fishing at nearshore reefs. Fishing larger 5” Z-Man MinnowZ and PaddlerZ on 1.5 oz. jig heads have been great in weeding out the smaller fish species around. Anglers really look forward to an epic keeper season, as all reports point to limits of larger flounder headed for coolers.
Red drum fishing has pushed back into the inlets and marshes with the mullet rolling in. It’s been important to find a deeper hole with a little current flow when targeting them.
Jim, of Plan 9 Charters, reports that king mackerel fishing has been great on recent trips. Good numbers of schoolie-sized kings (24-36”), as well as larger 20+ lb. fish, are responding to slow-trolled cigar minnows on Blue Water Candy dead bait rigs. Anglers have had great success when starting their efforts in the 50-60’ depths.
These same slow-trolled baits are also producing false albacore, barracuda, and tough-fighting amberjacks.
Bottom-fishing has been good in the 80-100’ depths. Anglers targeting structure with cut squid and minnows are hooking up with grouper, snapper, and keeper black sea bass.
John, of One More Cast Fishing Adventures, reports that spanish mackerel has been great, with fish holding from the beach out to 60’ of water. Looking for birds working the surface has really helped key in on the fish. Casting jigs and drifting live baits have been doing the trick when on top of the schools.
King mackerel have been chewing on slow-trolled live menhaden, as well as ballyhoo and cigar minnows on dead-bait rigs. They have been holding near structure, especially those with bait around.
This same range out around 15 miles has seen a fair number of mahi that are pushed nearshore. Be sure to keep an eye out for any floating debris or weed lines that will hold these fish.
Wahoo are a bit deeper, but again pushed as shallow as 100’. They really are very structure oriented, and trolling ballyhoo from the surface to mid-water column will get some action.
Bottom fishing has been producing large black sea bass and vermilion snapper. Both are hitting squid and cigar minnows fished on a high-low bottom rig.
Groupers are being found around these same structured areas and ledges, and they’re feeding on cigar minnows and northern mackerel.
Robin, of Jolly Roger Pier, reports that speckled trout are rewarding anglers fishing live shrimp early and late in the day.
Large spanish mackerel have been the hot bite in recent days, with fish to 4 lbs. hitting plugs and live bait.
Fishing bottom rigs with shrimp has been slow with the heat. Croakers have been the most likely fish to come over the rail. Bottom rigged cut mullet is producing bluefish and red drum.
Anglers fishing the end of the pier are reporting a few tarpon in the area.
Vinita, of Surf City Pier, reports that anglers fishing live baits off the end have landed some large king mackerel (up to 32 lbs.) and jack crevalle (up to 27 lbs.) in recent days.
Spanish mackerel are also hitting these live baits and casting jigs when spotted on the surface.
Bottom fishing has been a bit slow with the heat, but sheepshead are feeding well around the pier pilings.
Tyler, of Seaview Pier, reports that king mackerel and large spanish mackerel are being caught on live bait. Bluefish are mixed in the daily counts, with most being caught on cut mullet versus plugs and glass minnow jigs.
Anglers fishing early are catching speckled trout with live shrimp in deeper holes outside the breakers.