WELCOME TO FREEMAN'S BAIT & TACKLE

In business since 1967, Freeman's Discount Bait & Tackle is Atlantic Beach's oldest and best established bait and
tackle shop. We're located on the left just before the Atlantic Beach light, the closest tackle shop to the Oceanana Pier.
NC Coastal Fishing License

Over 1900 square feet of retail space, Freeman's offers the largest selection of Shimano and Penn reels, Custom Key
Largo rods and Shakespear Ugly Stik rods. Inshore and offshore tackle by Iland Lure, Blue Water Candy, Sea Striker,
Berkley Gulp and many hard to find items. Fresh, frozen, live and artificial baits, along with in house rod and reel
repair.
Our experienced staff is always on hand to offer free advice and friendly service.
Look for the BLUE bait shop, Freeman's Discount Bait & Tackle, for all your fishing needs.

FISHING REPORT


September 20, 2017

 

It's the beginning of a very special time of the year; our inshore fall fishery is second to none, and it's about to get going. Finger Mullet are pouring through our inlet and down our beaches, it's time to get out there and pepper some fish! 

Inshore: Right now, there is an abundance of Bull Drum located from the South River all the way on out to in front of Cedar Island. These fish are being targeted with popping corks during the day and soaking baits after dark. If you are using a popping cork, you want to make sure that it really explodes on the surface. A 5-7" Jerkshad or else a DOA hollow belly swim bait are great options to attach under your cork. Set your cork only about 20" deep. The louder and bigger the chug it makes, the more likely you are to draw a big red to it. Focus on areas with shoals/islands, or else areas with balls of bait if you are fishing with a cork. If you are soaking baits, then in front of Cedar Island in 15-22 feet of water should get you bites. Fresh cut Mullet, cut Menhaden, or cut Croaker are all great options for soaking. There are also lots of over slot Drum in front of the Coast Guard Station. Spinner Sharks are mixed in with the Drum at the Coast Guard Station. Live mullet (5-8") on a very short Carolina rig (3-8" leader) with a circle hook is the most effective method for catching those fish and you can also target them from the shore of Fort Macon State Park. The Mullet are now in migration mode, and are pouring down the Beaufort Inlet as well as in the white wash of our beaches. Red Drum, Speckled Trout, Flounder, Bluefish, and Black Drum will all be available along the beach from now until late November. The beach fishing is about to really get good. Carolina Rigs with live bait on the beach will get you bites from Flounder and Drum. Casting MR17 mirror lures, MR52 mirror lures, Halo shrimp on a heavy cork, and live shrimp on a heavy cork are all great methods for targeting our Speckled Trout from the beach. Also, most of these fish (Drum, Trout and Flounder) are in the white wash where the waves are crashing, because the waves put the baitfish into a state of confusion. So make sure you give that area of the surf some serious consideration. Black Drum and Sheepshead are still available to be targeted all along the ICW and Core Creek bridge and dock pilings. Live Fiddler Crabs are always effective. Sea Mullet have been biting well after dark along the surf, and can be caught with fresh shrimp on a standard two hook bottom rig. Speckled Trout fishing has been consistent, most of the fish are still in their summer trends, but they will really fire off in the next couple weeks once the water temperature drops off a couple of degrees. Big fish bites on the Trout have still been early morning on baits like the Rapala Skitter Walk, Mirrorlure MR17, Mirrorlure MR18, Paul Brown Soft Dine, and Heddon ZaraSpook. Flounder have really started chewing well, bucktail jigs and Carolina rigs coupled with live Mullet fished in places like the Beaufort Bridge or the High Rise Bridge and the Port Wall have all been good places for a doormat. Gray Trout have made their fall arrival and are thick as thieves; heavy jig heads (1/4oz) with Zman-Paddlerz soft baits have been really effective for them. They will also readily strike lead baits like Sting Silvers fished in a vertical presentation. The Gray Trout have been on deep structure in the ICW. Spanish Mackerel are still around, and these fish are some of the last to leave, and are fully grown ones. Live mullet rigged with thin wire and a small treble hook (live lined) will tempt a big Spanish to chew. In front of the Coast Guard Station, AR315, and under the High Rise Bridge are all great places to try and light line for a big fall of the year Spaniard. On flood tides the slot Drum have been tailing in the grass in the back of Crab Point Bay (the bay behind Fort Macon State Park). There have also been some nice Pompano along the beach, they will eat cut Shrimp, small jigs tipped with Shrimp, or else Sand Fleas.

Offshore: Wahoo fishing is still going very well; most boats that are making the run out to them are being rewarded. Pulling Ballyhoo and high speed trolling are both effective ways to catch them. There have been a few gaffer Mahi mixed in as well as Blackfin Tuna and Sailfish. Blue Marlin are still around as well, the ledge of the Big Rock on out to deep space would be a place you could try pulling plugs or else "bait and switching" a North Carolina Blue Marlin. Bottom fishing has been very good as well; Red Grouper, Scamp Grouper, Gag Grouper, Speckled Hind, Beeliners, Triggerfish, Amberjack, and Vermillion Snapper are all being caught. The best fishing is going to be in 200+ feet of water, but there are plenty of fish around shallower, it just takes a lot of time to find out where they live in the 90-150 foot range. Use cut Squid for the Triggerfish and Vermilions; use dead baits like whole Shad or live baits like Pinfish for the Grouper.

Fly Fishing: The False Albacore have already shown up. They can be taken on small "Gummy Flies" or else small Clouser patterns when seen busting on the surface. Speckled Trout are eating Shrimp, Finger Mullet and Glass Minnows right now; so fly patterns like a Shrimp Clouser, EP baitfish Deceiver, and Shrimp "Gurgler" are all flies you could look up on YouTube and learn how to tie up for them. The Red Drum have been tailing on a flood tide in the grass. Crab Patterns are irresistible to a tailing Red because that is what they are looking for. Bull Drum can be taken on the fly on oversized "Game changer" fly patterns in a Mullet or Menhaden color pattern.

Don't forget to pre-register online for the fourth annual Atlantic Beach Surf Fishing Challenge, October 6 - 8th. Hope to see you there!

As Always, 

Tight Lines from Freeman's Bait and Tackle


 


August 13, 2017

 

It has been a great month of August for us. The fish have been chewing and the weather has been great. If you haven’t been fishing, you have been missing out on some solid inshore and offshore action.

Inshore: The Bull Drum have made a good showing in Cedar Island and many places in the Neuse River as well. Depressions in the sand/mud bottoms, shallow bays, and river mouths are all great places to explore during the day. Fishing near schools of Menhaden is a great method for finding them during the day as well. Anglers have been catching them during the day with popping corks rigged with either an oversized Zman-Jerkshad (White or Silver colored) or else with a DOA airhead (White/Silver). When fishing for big Drum with a cork, you really want to make that cork explode, resembling the noise an adult Red Drum would make as it exploded on a Menhaden. You also want to make sure you are fishing the right type of cork. You want the oversized cork, with a circular head on it. When you work your cork, you want to sweep your rod as hard as you can downward, and you want to make sure that it is drawing lots of water with it. If you want an easier method of targeting these fish, stop in to the shop and pick up some of our wide selection of frozen baits. Cut Menhaden, Spot, and a variety of others work great for soaking on a fishfinder rig after dark; particularly in about the 18-22 ft range in front of Cedar Island. Make sure you use a circle hook if you are fishing with dead bait, and do not hold them by their gills. Speckled Trout fishing has been ok. There are plenty of fish around, but it’s really tough to get them to chew during the day. Focus on night moves and daybreak moves. Use a topwater in the mornings, use live baits on either a cork or else a Carolina rig after dark. Live Shrimp has been producing well after dark and we do have some here at the shop. Flounder and slot Drum are around our marshes, the slot Drum have been tailing on flood tides in the grass in Tar Landing Bay. If you like fly fishing, or you are just a visual angler in general, it’s a pretty cool “Cat and Mouse” hunt. Flounder have been residing near bridge pilings, Oyster shells, dock pilings, and nearshore wrecks and reefs. Carolina rigs with a 6-8” mullet is your best option for a doormat, smaller Mullet and Mud Minnows is your best option for numbers of fish, but you never know, Elephants eat peanuts. Spanish Mackerel, King Mackerel, and confused Cobia can be caught live baiting Menhaden up top on wire rigs at Places like NW places, the shipping channel, and even AR 315. Amberjack are thick on any wrecks out past ten miles. They will nail topwater bubble-trail poppers and live baits as well. Sheepshead and Black Drum are all over dock pilings throughout our ICW. Look for piling with black mussels on them, and use a spatula to scrape the mussels off of the piling, this will will create a Sheepshead and Black Drum fiasco. Ladyfish are here now, and they can be extremely fun to catch, you will want to target them only after dark. You will need a live shrimp and light fluorocarbon for them, they have huge eyes and are very particular feeders. A live Shrimp on a plain hook with no weight drifted under a light source after dark will get you a Ladyfish. They really are an untapped fishery and are known as the poor man’s Tarpon. Speaking of Tarpon, a few anglers soaking baits out of Cedar Island after dark for Drum had a surprise, and jumped/pulled off a couple adult Tarpon this past week.

Offshore: The Wahoo fishing has been very strong. There have also been some very large “Alpha Male” sized fish in the mix. Most fish have been averaging 25-40lbs, however a 93lber was taken out of Oregon Inlet recently, and a 67lber was recently taken here, out of Morehead. Most of the bites are coming on the planer rod, but there have also been plenty of fishing skying on the spread up top as well. Pulling Ballyhoo with wire is the name of that game. There have been Sailfish, Blue Marlin, and White Marlin in the mix of Wahoo as well. Grouper fishing has been productive lately, the deeper water is holding the bigger fish; 40-60 fathoms is a good depth to try dropping on some trophy fish. Use your electronics for both Wahoo fishing and Grouper fishing, look for suspended bait for the Wahoo and look for good bottom contours and marks down low for the Grouper. The Blue Marlin are out there, you just have to spend a lot of time to get a bite; pulling plugs, dink fishing, or bait and switching with a rigged Spanish Mackerel can get a Blue one to chew. We do know of a few folks that have made the trip to Swordfish grounds. However, we have not heard of any being caught recently. They are there, you just have to go out and grind if you want to have a shot at one. Amberjack and Barracuda have been annoying anglers pulling Ballyhoo as well. Triggerfish and B-Liners have been plentiful as usual. Red Snapper are accidental bycatch in this fishery, and there are a LOT of them around. Make sure you release all Red Snapper. You will get peppered by the law if you get caught with one!

As always, keep it tight!

Freeman’s Bait & Tackle


 


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