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


October 11, 2017

 

The water temperature is still hovering in the low 70’s after this stretch of Southwestern winds. When the next cold front moves into our backyard and it pushes that water to the upper 60’s fish will be on the move, and fish will be chewing. So, make sure your gear is ready because our inshore fishing is about to absolutely go off!

Inshore: Inshore fishing has been decent, but it has not really been firing on all of its cylinders yet. Be ready, because all it’s going to take is one more Northeaster, and the Speckled Trout, Red Drum, and Flounder will begin flooding up and down our beaches, marshes, and our Intercoastal Waterway. Speckled Trout are going to be really aggressive when the water temp hits around the 67-69 Fahrenheit range. You can nail them on baits like the “Storm Swimshad”, “Trout-Trick”, "Berkley-Gulp Shrimp” and “Mirror-lure” (MR18 MR52 MR17 and MR27 models). Focus on areas with a shelly bottom for Speckled Trout at this time of the year. Broken up shell, Oyster Points, and bottom compositions that won’t absorb too much heat are where our Specks like to reside in the early to mid-fall patterns. Flounder fishing is going to get really solid off of the beach. The surf-zone is overlooked by many anglers, but a live Mullet on a Carolina Rig, or else a Gulp Shrimp on a Jig will catch many nice fish off of the beach at this time of the year. Also, places like the Newport River and ICW would be great places if you planned on staying close to home. Red Drum will also be available along the beach. Cut Mullet, Gulp Shrimp, or Live Mullet on a Carolina Rig will all catch Red Drum from the beach. A Mirror-lure off the beach could get you a bite from just about anything that’s following the Mullet, so always carry a few hard baits with you if you are fishing the surf-zone. False Albacore fishing is really good right now; “Breakday Jigs” “Stingsilvers” and “Kastmaster Spoons” are all good choices for the Albertos. You will want a fast and steady retrieve if you are throwing metal spoons for False Albacore. There have been some Pompano, Sea Mullet, Spot, Croaker, Bluefish and Black Drum for the anglers bottom fishing the beach. There are some very large Spanish Mackerel out towards the Cape that are firing off, many of them are over 4lbs. Live-lining a live Mullet on thin wire with a #8 treble hook will do the job for the bigger Spanish. Sheepshead are still here, they are still on bridge and dock pilings chewing away on Sea Urchins and Crabs. Amberjack and King Mackerel fishing has been good, with some really nice Kings showing up in the Shipping Channel, and the Amberjack in areas like Northwest Places and other nearshore live bottoms.

Fly Fishing: Red Drum are available to be taken from the beach on a calm day at this time of the year. Fly fishing the beaches of Bogue Inlet and Browns Inlet are great places. Also, don’t overlook the Fort Macon Rock Jetty, you might get lucky and have a nice Speckled Trout as bycatch. Meaty “Baitfish-Emulator” flies with a lot of orange/chrome/gold flash are great meat whistles to deploy along our beachfront for a hungry Red Drum. Retrieve with a “Strip-Strip-Pause” cadence, it is also important to “strip-set” while you retrieve your fly line. This essentially means that you are setting the hook with every strip of the fly line (you do this so you don’t miss a hook set on a fish). False Albacore are all over the place, the bigger and more aggressive fish have been behind shrimp trawlers, and these fish will also eat a meatier sized fly. The smaller schools of Albies on the beach are fixated on Bay Anchovies, so you’ll want a smaller fly, something like a tan Clouser-Minnow tied on a size 10-12 hook would be a great fly option. Flounder can be taken on the fly right now as well. Focus on fishing calm days on the beach for them with a white-chartreuse colored Clouser-Minnow, or else focus on oyster beds and shelly bottoms along the ICW.

Offshore: Right now the Wahoo fishing has been good. There will be some really large ones caught in the next couple of months. Trolling Ballyhoo with wire is your best option, although we often wonder what a guy could do if he tried slow trolling some live Shad. Sailfish and White Marlin are still chewing for the offshore fleet as well. Bottom fishing for Grouper has been good, but there are a few guys around town who have really been burning them up (We have some really talented Grouper fisherman in this area). Before you know it, all the offshore crowd will be four miles off the beach fishing for Bluefin Tunas! If you are new to offshore fishing, use your electronics and trust them, also never overlook any life in the area.

As Always,

Tight Lines from Freemans Bait and Tackle 

 


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


 


Sign Up For Our 4th Annual Surf Fishing Tournament

Tournament Dates: OCT. 6th - Oct. 8th

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TIDE CHART

 

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