Wrightsville Beach – September, 2020
Matt, of Tex’s Tackle, reports that red drum fishing has been good in the marshes, around deeper ICW docks, and at the Masonboro jetties. Topwater lures, gold spoons, and soft plastics are the go-to lures in the marsh, with live or cut bait hard to beat at all the stops.
Ladyfish, bluefish, and speckled trout are feeding around docks and bridge lights at night. Anglers fishing the bridges with live crabs and sand fleas are catching nice-sized sheepshead and black drum.
Flounder fishing has been outstanding around the local creeks, docks, and inlets. Live mullet, Gulps, and similar soft plastics have been producing most of the action.
Surf anglers are catching a variety of sea mullet, pompano, spanish mackerel, croaker, black drum, red drum, and flounder. Fishing large cut baits at night have been catching sharks and rays.
Spanish mackerel are being caught by anglers trolling Yo-Zuri deep diver plugs and Clarkspoons behind planers. When feeding on the surface, casting jigs are getting strikes.
King mackerel and a handful of tarpon are being caught right along the beaches with live bait.
Further offshore (in the 5+ mile range), the kings are being caught with dead cigar minnows, ballyhoo, and spoons.
Nearshore bottom anglers are catching decent numbers of flounder, gray trout, and a few over-slot red drum.
There are kings, nice-sized mahi, and sailfish being caught in the 25-40-mile range while trolling ballyhoo and squid. For trolling without bait, anglers are having success with Blue Water Candy Mahi Madness, Rattle Jets, and Sea Vixen Flying Fish.
Bottom fishing has been improving with gag grouper, black sea bass, pinkies, and grunts biting strong in the 100+’ depths.
Trolling in the Gulf Stream has been hit or miss lately. A few wahoo have started to show up, along with scattered schools of blackfin and a few mahi.
Arlen, of Intracoastal Angler, reports that flounder fishing has been excellent. Limits of large fish (up to 7 lbs.) are staged up around nearshore ARs and ledges. Anglers are finding the best action on Carolina-rigged live finger mullet, with bucktails and soft plastic trailers keeping the non-targeted species away.
Spanish mackerel fishing has also picked up now that cleaner waters are back in the area. There is still a good number of large spanish around these wrecks hitting live bait.
Inshore anglers have been catching quite a few red drum. The warm water temperatures have the reds pushed into deeper areas and along docks in the ICW. Live bait has been producing most of the action.
Sheepshead are a great summertime fishery for Wrightsville, with fish holding tight to barnacle-covered pilings and bridges. Small hook bottom rigs and First Flight jig heads paired with fiddler crabs will help anglers’ hook-up ratios.
Anglers making a longer nearshore run (in the 15-30 mile range) are slow-trolling live baits and dead bait rigs for king mackerel. Keeping an eye out for any sort of floating debris has helped anglers find mahi that are pushed inshore with the warm water temperatures. A few sailfish will readily hit the same trolled live and dead bait offerings.
Offshore fishing is sporadic, with hot water having the fish scattered from the Stream into nearshore waters. Trolling skirted baits and high-speed lures has produced wahoo. Blackfin tuna and mahi are also holding on areas around the break, and they’re hitting skirted ballyhoo. Grouper fishing has also been a go-to target species for anglers making the run.
Jamie, of Seagate Charters, reports that great numbers of redfish are staged up along the ICW out to area inlets.
Speckled trout have begun to get more active as we drop away from peak summer temperatures. Anglers out early are having success fishing Excaliber Spooks and similar topwater plugs. As the day moves on, a switch to Z-Man soft plastics have helped stay on the action as the fish push down.
Flounder fishing has been spectacular to start off the season, with keeper fish coming from both inshore waters out to nearshore reefs and ledges. Carolina-rigged live mullet is the favorite setup to get in on the flatfish action.
Luke, of Coastline Charters LLC, reports that plenty of large flounder (20+”) are hanging around nearshore wrecks and reefs. The flatfish have been feeding on just about anything dropped in front of them, especially finger mullet or menhaden on Carolina rigs. Anglers looking for more active fishing prefer using bucktails tipped with Z-Man and similar soft plastics. When fishing inshore waters, look for flounders holding tight to deep holes around the inlet, oyster bars, docks, and grass lines.
Redfish are around in good numbers and in all the similar inshore areas. Topwater plugs are getting struck by anglers working the water early and late in the day. Live and cut baits always tend to produce hits, especially as more bait continues to move in. Anglers scouting new areas have found Z-Man soft plastics fished on Blue Water Candy jig heads to be great starting setups.
Sheepshead are always a nice bonus, with action being found with Carolina-rigged live fiddler crabs fished against docks, bridges, and oyster beds.
Rick, of Living Waters Guide Service, reports that Gulf Stream waters are beginning to see the shift into fall fishing as the mid-summer highs drop away. A variety of blackfin, wahoo, sailfish, and the occasional yellowfin are all possible finds on any given trip.
Bottom fishing for large grouper and snapper species has been excellent in the 140-350’ depth range.
Kings and spanish mackerel are biting well in the 60-90’ depths. Fishing live baits over hard bottoms and ledges has been the key for larger specimens of both species.
Zach, of Johnnie Mercers Pier, reports that spanish mackerel fishing has been very good with all the clean water throughout the area. Casting glass minnow jigs and Gotcha plugs work well, with live pinfish catching some larger fish.
Live baits fished off the end are catching king mackerel and a few barracuda.
Anglers have been reporting good numbers of flounder, with most action coming from Carolina-rigged live baits.
Bottom rigs are getting bites from croakers and large whiting.