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
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.


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


July 12, 2017


Summer time heat is scorching the Crystal Coast, and it's the time of year to enjoy a hot summer day out on the water.

While you are out on the water, you might as well take advantage of some great warm-weather fishing that the Southern OBX has to offer.

Inshore: One unique fishery that has made its appearance is our summer-time Tarpon fishery. In North Carolina, Tarpon are a very challenging task to cross off of your bucket list; nevertheless, they are around. If you plan an excursion to try and catch one, you could go about it in two different ways. You could cover as much of the Neuse River as possible on a flat calm day and look for Tarpon gulping air, then pitch something like a live shad or a live pinfish to them. The other technique would be anchoring up and kite fishing along the beach with baits like; live cob mullet, live pinfish, or live threadfin. The Speckled Trout fishing has been fairly strong even with all of this heat, and many of the fish being caught have been large and in charge. Topwaters at daybreak is the staple for big summer time Trout. The Rapala Skitter-Walk is a go to topwater bait for Citation sized Trout at dawn around this area. It's best to retrieve this bait either "Along the Grain" or "Against the Grain". "Along the Grain" means to let the current be your friend and help you cover the water. "Against the Grain" is working your bait against the current, giving it a slower cadence and a wider twitch range. I will also add that a big Speckled Trout will generally miss your bait on its first attempt, or even try to tail slap it, so its very important to not freak out after the first strike, just keep it slowly twitching. A big Trout will almost always turn back and make sure he gets it on the second attempt. Also, a Trout on topwater will generally hook themselves, so no need for some crazy hook set like an FLW-tour Largemouth Bass all-star, you'll just tear the soft tissue in the fish's mouth and lose your trophy. Flounder fishing has been consistent. Live baits on a Carolina Rig is the way to do it in the hot summer days, undoubtedly. Inshore areas like Core Creek have had plenty of Flounder, Speckled Trout, and Red Drum. The Newport River has had some good topwater Red Drum action as well. Fishing a Berkley Gulp (Natural or Molten color 4"shrimp) near oyster beds with a very slow retrieve has been producing some upper-slot and a few over-slot Drum lately as well. Anglers fishing from the beach are catching some nice Spanish Mackerel on gold colored Taskmaster spoons, particularly around Bogue and Beaufort Inlets.

Offshore: Offshore fishing has been producing a good Grouper bite. There have also been some billfish around areas from the Big Rock to the Swansboro Hole. We have not heard any reports on Swordfish being caught. There should still be a few Dolphin around the grass, but not in any good numbers, just kind of here and there, or none at all. The smaller class sizes of Wahoo should start chewing the planer rods usually around this time of year. There have been a few anglers that have found good pods of Blackfin Tuna. Bottom fishing has been consistent as always for meat fisherman, you've just got to have quality baits, quality rigs, and quality numbers. Don't be afraid to try something that looks good on your electronics, too many people rely on numbers given to them. If you have the electronics, trust them, and use them to your advantage. Sometimes the best way to catch is stay away from the crowd.

Fly Fishing: Citation Speckled Trout can be fooled at daybreak on big and bulky deciever patterns that imitate a live mullet. Amberjack,
smaller sized Mahi, and random strangers can be fooled over the top of artificial reefs on a fly after a heavy dose of chumming.

As always, Tight Lines from Freeman's Bait and Tackle. We hope you're enjoying summer! 


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