Wrightsville Beach – October 2020
Matt, of Tex’s Tackle, reports that both upper- and over-slot redfish have made their way inshore. They’re staged around docks, oyster bars, and deeper grass banks. A variety of topwater plugs, spinnerbaits, and Gulps are all great artificial baits for anglers looking for action.
Speckled trout are making a strong appearance, with topwaters working great early in the morning. Switching to suspending twitch baits and soft plastics later in the day has been extremely effective for staying on the action.
Fishing live fiddler crabs or sand fleas around area bridges and docks have been producing nice sheephead, redfish, and black drum.
Flounder fishing has been outstanding in mainland creeks and around the inlets. Live mullet or Gulps and similar soft plastics have been producing quality flatfish.
Anglers from the surf are bringing in a mix of sea mullet, pompano, spot, croaker, black drum, red drum, bluefish, speckled trout, and flounder. Any variety of sand fleas, live or cut mullet, and fresh shrimp will be the most productive baits.
Spanish mackerel fishing has been good, with some citation-sized fish being caught on live bait.
King mackerel are also being caught right along the beach and should continue to move in over the coming weeks. Live bait is the best option for targeting the kings close to shore. Further offshore in the 5+ mile range, the kings are being caught with dead cigar minnows, ballyhoo, and spoons.
Nearshore bottom fishing has been strong, with a mix of flounder (up to 5+ lbs.), gray trout, and a few citation-class red drum hanging around the nearshore ledges and ARs.
Further offshore, king mackerel are holding in the 10+ mile range, and the water is still warm enough for some scattered nearshore mahi and sailfish as well.
Bottom structure is holding grouper and snapper, with both species feeding better with cooler weather.
Trolling in the Gulf Stream has been hit or miss lately. A few wahoo (up to 70+ lbs.) are being caught on ballyhoo and diving plugs. Decent numbers of blackfin and scattered yellowfin tuna are in the mix as well.
Ryan, of Intracoastal Angler, reports that flounder fishing remains hot in local inshore waterways. The flatfish are staged just about anywhere from the rock jetty back into channels and banks of mainland creek mouths. Both live baits and soft plastics are getting the flatfish.
Speckled trout have begun to show up for anglers fishing topwater plugs in the early mornings. Red drum are also being caught just about anywhere, with all the favorite topwater, soft plastic, and live baits getting strikes. The finger mullet pushing around inshore have really fired up the red drum and trout fishing, and this pattern should continue over the next month or so.
Nearshore anglers have been pleased to find an early push of hard-fighting false albacore along the beaches. Casting glass minnow jigs has been best for targeting these surface-feeding schools.
Spanish mackerel are pushed onto the beaches, with Clarkspoons fished behind planers producing most of the action. A few larger fish are being caught with light-lined finger mullet.
King mackerel are scattered from the beach out to 15 miles or so. Live baits are a favorite during the fall mullet run.
A few mahi are holding in the 30-35 mile range. They’re hitting skirted ballyhoo and cigar minnows.
Offshore, the wahoo numbers have started to pick up, with anglers landing fish on high speed rigs and skirted ballyhoo.
Blackfin tuna have also pushed into the area, and they’re hitting the same ballyhoo rigged with Sea Witch and Ilander skirts.
Jamie, of Seagate Charters, reports that flounder fishing remains strong at both nearshore ARs and ledges near the inlet. Carolina-rigged live mullet has been a great producing setup, especially with bait schools everywhere being more common.
Red drum action has been strong from ICW docks into the marshes near the inlet.
With the cooling of inshore waters, speckled trout fishing is just a few weeks away from really firing off. Heddon Spooks and similar topwater plugs are a local favorite when working the deeper grass lines for “blow up” action. When not actively striking on the surface, soft plastics fished on popping corks help to target these fish holding over small inshore ledges.
Luke, of Coastline Charters, reports that large flounder (up to 8 lbs.) are hitting live finger mullet and menhaden fished from inshore drop-offs out to nearshore reefs.
Red drum action has been picking up, with anglers fishing topwater plugs getting a lot of action. As the mullet run picks up over the next few weeks, the redfish bite will only get better on both artificials and live baits.
Speckled trout action is still scattered due to warm water temperatures, but the cooling trend over the next few weeks is a huge transition for the species and brings way more activity.
Rick, of Living Waters Guide Service, reports that offshore trips are seeing action pick up, with cooler inshore waters creating better breaks. A mix of wahoo, blackfin, and the occasional yellowfin tuna are all being caught in these areas, with skirted baits on top or behind planers as the top producers.
King mackerel are staged up over structured areas around 60+’, with some fish moving closer to the beaches. The next few weeks should see the larger kings push inshore to take advantage of bait balls outside the inlets.
Bottom fishing in the areas areas around the 150’ depth range are producing grouper and good numbers of vermilion snapper.
Ron, of Johnnie Mercers Pier, reports that spanish mackerel numbers have been good this month, with casting jigs getting action from the surface-feeding schools.
Some bluefish are schooled up alongside the spanish, and they’re hitting Gotcha plugs and bottom-rigged baits.
Anglers fishing live baits off the end have seen a return in numbers of king mackerel. This action should only get better as the fall mullet run brings even more kings back to the beaches.
Some flounder are hitting Carolina-rigged live mullet just outside the breakers, and bottom fishing has been producing scattered pompano and croakers in the evening.