Fish Post

Topsail / Sneads Ferry – July 2, 2020

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Don, of East Coast Sports, reports that surf anglers are catching sea mullet and croakers on bottom rigs. A few flounder (released) are being caught with Carolina-rigged live mud minnows.

Inshore anglers have been reporting a strong redfish bite from the inlets back into the marshes.

Structure and bridges off the ICW have been producing some good-sized sheepshead.

Just off the beaches, anglers are reporting good numbers of spanish mackerel and bluefish. Trolling Clarkspoons behind planers is a good method to target the deeper fish, and then anglers are opting to sight cast to surface feeding schools.

King mackerel are starting to push closer to shore, and more consistent conditions should bring in even better nearshore king mackerel action.

Matthew Barwick, from Jacksonville, NC, with a red drum caught on a Z-Man Diesel Minnow in a Sneads Ferry marsh on an outgoing tide.

Mike, of Native Son Guide Service, reports that there have been great numbers of spanish mackerel around the inlet. Most of the fish are hitting trolled Clarkspoons and Yo-Zuri lipped plugs.

Flounder are staged at the nearshore wrecks, and anglers look forward to next month’s opportunity to put a few in the cooler.

Inshore anglers are catching red drum, though recent rains have the fish scattered. Sometimes these conditions provide the best surf fishing action for reds, as they push out of the inlet in search of cleaner water and food.

Speckled trout are being found around inshore docks and in deeper holes. With summertime weather, this tends to be an early morning and late evening fishery. In addition, hitting the docks with lights after dark can provide some good trout action.

Chadwick, of South End Anglers, reports that redfish are biting well on most days. Topwater plugs have been producing well early and late in the day, with overcast weather being a plus. MirrOlure Top Pups and Rapala Skitterwalks have both been working equally well. If the fish aren’t hitting the plugs, switch to Z-Man or Fathom Inshore soft plastics fished Texas style or on jig heads.

When covering water in search of these small groups, Fathom Inshore Pro Select and Belly Blades “spinnerbait style” jig heads have been very helpful, and add a bit of Pro-Cure scent. These efforts paired with darker/chartreuse baits has been a great method with all the recent stained waters.

Catch and release flounder fishing has been very good inshore and on the nearshore ledges and reefs.

Spanish mackerel fishing has been strong over the past several weeks. Traditional planer and spoon setups are working the best, with the new Clarkspoon Spreader Bars being effective as well. There have been good numbers of fish on the surface around the inlets on a falling tide.

Nearshore bottom fishing is producing grunts, sea bass, ringtails, grouper, pinkies, and a few triggerfish.

Ray, of Spring Tide Guide Service, reports that red drum fishing has been great in the area. The fish have been holding in groups of 3-4 fish and are feeding on the flats and tide-swamped bays. Topwater plugs have been working great, with Rapala Skitterwalk and Heddon Zara Spook Jrs. both being local favorites. Color patterns have not made a difference for these active fish. If not getting action on top, switching looks to smaller (rigged weightless or 1/16 oz.) Saltwater Assassin soft plastics has been great.

Speckled trout are holding in these same inshore areas, and both topwaters and soft plastics are producing bites.

Black drum are being caught with Carolina-rigged fiddler crabs and shrimp around the area’s bridges.

Just off the beach, spanish mackerel have been in a feeding frenzy. Trolling gold or chartreuse Clarkspoons behind a planer has been great in locating these tasty fish.

Sight-casting enthusiasts are rigged with Spanish Candy glass minnow jigs, keeping an eye out for surface feeding spanish and false albacore.

John, of One More Cast Fishing Adventures, reports that king mackerel fishing has really been picking up from the beaches out to ledges in the 10 mile range. Trolling dead bait rigs such as Mac-A-Hoos and BWC Wedgies are both extremely productive.

Spanish mackerel have been thick along the beaches. When spotting fish on the surface, casting Stingsilvers and Spanish Candies have been getting plenty of strikes. Trolling Clarkspoons also produces great numbers, with color not really being a factor. These fish are hungry, and finding the bait has equaled to finding fish.

Mahi are starting to push their way inshore. Look for weedlines and floating debris, and pulling skirted ballyhoo is the favorite tactic for finding the scattered fish.

Jim, of Plan 9 Charters, reports that spanish mackerel fishing has been great. Trolling 00-sized Clarkspoons behind planers and casting jigs in the inlets have been producing a good class of 14-18” fish (with some 3+ lb. mixed in).

Bluefish, ladyfish, and juvenile kings are mixed in with the spanish.

Larger, schoolie-sized king mackerel are holding in the 10-15 mile range. Pulling dead cigar minnows and spoons are producing most strikes.

Bottom fishing has been hit or miss, but as the weather stabilizes, anglers anticipate the coolers being filled.

Robin, of Jolly Roger Pier, reports that bottom fishing has been producing black drum, spot, and sea mullet.

Bluefish are scattered and hitting cut mullet.

Spanish mackerel are schooled up off the beaches, with most action coming on mornings with higher tides.

Vinita, of Surf City Pier, reports that tough conditions have the spanish mackerel scattered in recent days. A settling of the weather should see the large schools group back up and push onto the beaches.

A few king mackerel (up to 22 lbs.) are coming over the rails.

Bottom rigs tipped with shrimp have been catching spot and sea mullet.

Tyler, of Seaview Pier, reports that mixed up water conditions have most anglers targeting fish on the bottom. Cut baits are producing bluefish, spot, and sea mullet.

A few bluefish are starting to strike for anglers casting diamond jigs and Gotcha plugs, and this tends to be more of a normal pattern for July.

Scattered speckled trout are being caught on bottom-rigged baits in the mornings.