Fish Post

Topsail/Sneads Ferry – October 2020

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Doug, of East Coast Sports, reports that surf anglers have had a lot of success catching croakers and sea mullet on bottom rigs. Puppy drum are showing up in good numbers throughout the surf zone, too. Fishing both live and cut finger mullet on Carolina rigs are working well.

Inshore anglers are seeing the speckled trout bite pick up while rigging live shrimp under popping corks. The trout are mostly staged up along deeper grass banks around mainland creek mouths.

Red drum are just about everywhere, from the inlets back to creeks and along docks in the ICW. Carolina-rigged live baits have been producing best, with anglers also finding action on topwater plugs and soft plastics.

Nearshore anglers are having great success in targeting flounder around nearshore wrecks and ARs. Both live bait and Gulp soft plastics are getting the flatfish to strike.

King mackerel are beginning to show up along the beaches. Slow-trolling live baits is best when targeting these kings that move in to take advantage of the finger mullet flushing out of the inlets.

Mike, of Native Son Guide Service, reports that flounder fishing remains hot at nearshore structure. Fishing soft plastics is the preferred method at these reefs, as the reefs provide a break from all the untargeted species that will hit live baits.

Spanish mackerel will continue to get more active on the surface as bait heads out of the inlets and into the surf zone. Over the next few weeks, anglers anticipate catching some larger spanish and the occasional king mackerel that push nearshore.

Red drum fishing has been great in inside waters, with areas around the ICW and grass banks towards the inlet being the most productive. Live and cut baits have been the best tactic as the fish actively feed during this mullet run.

When the waters cool, speckled trout fishing will begin to fire up. Popping cork rigs and soft plastics on jig heads when targeting the holes along grass lines and into creek mouths are your best bet.

Ray, of Spring Tide Guide Service, reports that flounder fishing remained strong through keeper season at both nearshore structure and inshore holes. Live baits fished with the lightest weight needed to keep bait down has been doing the trick, with soft plastics on jig heads and bucktails also being productive.

As the bait is transitioning to its fall run, the red drum action has become even better. These fish are holding from a variety of creek mouths to ICW docks out towards the inlet. Anglers are pleased to see a great topwater bite, with gold spoons and live baits also being productive.

Over the next few weeks, look for the topwater bite in particular to really fire off with water temperatures beginning to cool. A few speckled trout will also be in the mix around some of the deeper banks.

John, of One More Cast Fishing Adventures, reports that large amounts of baitfish off the beaches have tuned the spanish mackerel bite back on. Clarkspoons fished behind #1 and #2 planers are producing the majority of strikes. The larger spanish mackerel are hitting slow-trolled and drifted live baits.

King mackerel fishing is beginning to pick up, though many smaller fish are being more aggressive towards the baits. Targeting nearshore structure with live baits or Blue Water Candy and Big Nic dead bait rigs are the go-to method for action.

Bottom fishing remains strong for anglers fishing cut cigar minnows and squid, and look for grouper to begin to push into shallower areas as the water cools.

Jim, of Plan 9 Charters, reports that spanish mackerel has been strong, with a great mix of good-sized fish (up to 22”). The spanish are hitting pink flash and white-colored Clarkspoons, as well as smaller Drone spoons.

Smaller schoolie-sized king mackerel are hitting dead bait rigs, and anglers look for this bite to really take off as the water cools a bit more.

Good numbers of false albacore are mixed in with the smaller kings from the beaches out to 10 miles.

Bottom fishing has been hit or miss due to a combination of rough weather and hot water temperatures. Over the next few weeks, a slight cooling pattern sees better fishing and the bottom species beginning to push shallower.

Robin, of Jolly Roger Pier, reports that red drum fishing has been really good, with a mix of both slot and over-slot fish (up to 30”) hitting live mullet.

Large spanish mackerel (up to 4+ lbs.) are hitting Gotcha plugs, and mixed in with the casting jig action are bonita and bluefish.

Bottom fishing anglers out from late afternoon until after dark are catching good numbers of sea mullet, spot, and croakers.

Black drum are mixed in with the bottom feeders, and they’re feeding on fresh shrimp. Keeper-sized flounder are hitting Carolina-rigged live mullet.

Anglers live-baiting off the end are catching large king mackerel (up to 33 lbs.) and hooking scattered tarpon (up to 72 lbs.).

Vinita, of Surf City Pier, reports that bottom fishing has been picking up with water temperatures beginning to cool down. A mix of pompano, sea mullet, and spadefish are feeding on fresh bait shrimp.

A few black drum are sprinkled in with the other bottom feeders.

Puppy drum fishing has been very good for anglers fishing Carolina-rigged cut and live mullet.

Schools of spanish mackerel are more prevalent along the beaches with the mullet run pushing bait out of the inlet. The next few weeks should see some great sight-casting action.

Tyler, of Seaview Pier, reports that good numbers of pompano and a few spot are hitting shrimp-tipped bottom rigs.

Flounder (up to 23”) are being caught with live mullet.

Anglers off the end have been landing a few king mackerel (up to 27 lbs.).

Over the next month, look for the spanish mackerel and bluefish bite to be on fire as the mullet run begins through the surf zone. Casting jigs and Gotcha plugs will be great for these surface-feeding schools.

As the water cools a bit more, king mackerel fishing should pick up, with more kings moving inshore.