Fish Post

Wrightsville Beach – July 2, 2020

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Matt, of Tex’s Tackle, reports that fishing for reds has been strong in the marsh, around ICW docks, and out around the Masonboro jetties. Topwaters and gold spoons are the go-to lures in the marsh. Live or cut bait is hard to beat this time of year around the docks, but jigging Gulp soft plastics can be effective, too.

Anglers fishing the bridges with live crabs and sand fleas have been catching some nice sheephead and black drum. Flounder fishing has also been very good lately, although it’s all catch and release until the season opens on August 16th.

Bluefish, pompano, spanish mackerel, croaker, black drum, red drum, and flounder have all been reported from the surf. Beach fishing during the summer is often better during the cooler times of the day or at night. Anglers fishing the surf with large cut bait (especially at night) have been catching sharks and rays.

Spanish mackerel fishing has been outstanding on most days. There’s been plenty of bait right along the beaches, and there are some big fish still mixed in. Trolling with Yo-Zuri deep divers or Clarkspoons with planers has been working well. The fish have also been hitting casting jigs (when you can find them feeding on the surface).

Kings and a handful of cobia and tarpon are also being caught right along the beach. Live bait is going to be the best option for these three species if you stay close to shore. Further offshore in the 5+ mile range, the kings are being caught with dead cigar minnows, ballyhoo, and spoons. 

The nearshore bottom fishing has been strong lately, with citation-sized flounder, gray trout, and some big drum all biting on the bottom. You can’t go wrong with a bucktail tipped with a Gulp or with a live mullet or menhaden.

There’s been a few nice mahi caught in the 25-40-mile range over the last couple weeks. Trolling with downsized ballyhoo rigs and squid has been the most consistently producing tactic. Blue Water Candy Mahi Madness, C&H Rattle Jets, and Sea Vixen Flying Fish have all been good options for trolling without bait. King mackerel are being caught in decent numbers at structure and ledges throughout the area by trolling over ledges and structure or staying around any bait balls.

The gag grouper bite has been consistent starting in about 80’, along with some beeliners, pinkies, and grunts. Throw out a light line while you’re bottom fishing for a shot at mahi and kings. The reds and scamps can be found further offshore, along with good numbers of triggerfish.

Trolling in the Gulf Stream has been hit or miss lately. Catches have included yellowfins, blackfins, mahi, and a few wahoo. Boats running further offshore chasing marlin on the surface or swordfish on the bottom have also been having some success. The good news is the bottom fishing and jigging out along the break has been great if the trolling doesn’t work out.

Shuler Stemper, from Winson Salem, with a redfish caught on a live menhaden in the Wrightsville Beach area. She was fishing with Capt. Jamie Rushing of Seagate Charters.

Jamie, of Seagate Charters, reports that king and spanish mackerel are biting up and down area beaches. Clarkspoons are working best, as well as frozen baits on Blue Water Candy dead bait rigs.

Red drum are biting in nearshore waters over structure, as well as in the inshore creeks. Cut and live baits have produced the most bites.

Jon Wood, from Wilmington, with a 45 lb. mahi caught at the Nipple in 600′ of water. He was pulling a Jag-a-Hoo on a planer rod on the “Taking Time” with Capt. Jamie Tatum, Jon Wood, and Skippy.

Luke, of Coastline Fishing Charters, reports that fishing has quickly transitioned into the summer patterns. Lots of spanish mackerel are hanging just off the beach, around nearshore structure, and on large bait balls just off the beachfront. The spanish have been feeding well at first light and throughout most of the morning. Looking for fish feeding on the surface and casting an assortment of jigs and spoons will get bites, but trolling has also been a go-to for pulling in good numbers. A variety of deep diver lures and spoons are doing very well, and the spoons have been working best behind a #2 planer or a simple trolling weight.

The redfish action is great. The reds are feeding well in many different areas and on various structures. The reds have been taking an interest in topwater baits at first and last light of the day. The best place to look is around creek mouths, in deep holes, and near oyster bars. They are also hitting on spoons and soft plastics, such as Z-Man shrimp with a Blue Water Candy jig head. Reds have also been feeding well on boat docks and around the inlets. Live and cut baits on a Carolina rig will get you action from the reds in these areas, and they will also produce bites in the grass and along oyster rocks.

Sheepshead action has been great this year, with good numbers of fish hanging tight to most hard inshore structures like docks and bridges. Carolina-rigged fiddler crabs up tight to the structure is going to be tough for the sheeps to pass on.

Rick, of Living Waters Guide Service, reports that the mahi bite continues, along with a few wahoo and blackfins. The wahoo and blackfins have been tapering off for the summer, though.

Bottom fishing is excellent at the break for groupers, grunts, pinkies, beeliners, and triggers.

Nearshore spanish mackerel are biting, along with kings, in anywhere from 30-70’ of water. Look for bait—that’s where the fish will be.

Gabe, of Johnnie Mercers Pier, reports that the spanish and king mackerel bite has been on fire. The largest king weighed in so far has been 27 lbs., and the bigger spanish are averaging around 4-5 lbs.

Black and red drum, blues, sheepshead, croaker, and whiting have been coming in as well.