INSHORE: The water temperature inshore is on the rise. There have been large schools of slot Drum in the marshes, from Emerald Isle down to Atlantic Beach. The fish now know that spring has arrived, and they are finally chewing again. The first sign of good baitfish running the sound have been spotted, like Menhaden and Glass Minnows in the marsh. There have been a few accidental Speckled Trout caught, so that's a good sign that the cold stun did not wipe out our beloved fishery. The Gray Trout should start to make a showing here any day now. Places like the turning basin and the Atlantic Beach bridge should be holding a few of them. Jigging a stingsilver type of lure (we recommend a Breakday jig or cast) or a soft plastic will get them to chew. Soon the Sea Mullet will begin their annual spring run. In front of the Coast Guard Station, and the turning basin are both good places to soak some shrimp. Black Drum are around many of the dock pilings throughout the ICW, they can be caught on fresh cut shrimp. There are plenty of Red Drum hanging along the beach, but remember, they are tightly schooled up so you will need to move around a lot to find them. The Bluefish should show up sooner rather than later.
OFFSHORE: Wahoo fishing has been decent on the days that boats have been able to fish. Trolling Ballyhoo has also produced a few Blackfin and small Dolphin as well. Sailfish are around too, and can be taken trolling. There are lots of King Mackerel hanging further offshore and schooling with the Wahoo. Bottom fishing has remained consistent throughout all of the winter, because the temperature at such depths does not fluctuate as much as the surface temperature. There have been lots of nice Sea Bass being caught, and even a few accidental Cobia. Fish are on the move and its time to go out and pursue them.
Remember to always keep an open eye for tagged fish, and report tags to The Division of Marine Fisheries for your reward.
Tight lines from Freeman's Bait and Tackle