June 14, 2018

Summer fishing is upon us, with warm offshore water scattered everywhere. At this time of the year you have a shot at more species of fish than any other time. A few of them that are very noteworthy and fun to target are species like Tarpon, Barracuda, Spadefish, Blue Marlin and Ladyfish. These 5 species are very focused on the warmest times of the year only.

Inshore fishing has been steady. The Flounder fishing is really starting to heat up as of lately. The flatties are being taken on nearshore wrecks, in the sound, and in the ICW. The Sheepshead and Black Drum fishing is also very hot right now along the docks of the ICW.
Ladyfish are being caught after dark on live shrimp under the AB bridge lights, and they are known as the poor man's Tarpon. If you havent ever fished for them it's really fun and worth giving a try. Just free line a live shrimp on the surface, that simple! There are Spadefish on the wrecks, and these are very picky feeders and can be tough to capture. The King Mackerel fishing is as good as it gets right now, along with some very nice Spanish to pair along with them. These fish are being taken live baiting Menhaden or dead baiting cigar minnows on the slow troll on nearshore wrecks and in the shipping channel. There have been some nice gaffer Mahi being reported as close as the Sea Buoy, and also a report of a Sailfish hookup at the Sea Buoy as well. Tarpon are rare, but have been caught in the last week, they are migrating down beaches right now. Pier anglers generally catch them as bycatch while pin-rigging for King Mackerel on the piers. Top bait choices for a Tarpon would be either a small live Bluefish or else a live pinfish. Amberjacks are thick on the wrecks and are nailing topwater plugs and live baits. Speckled Seatrout is about to open, so it's fair game to target the gators soon. The topwater bite is the best way to catch a trophy trout in the summer, and that bite will almost always occur in the first 30 minutes during sunrise. Places that have good grass and shell bottom are ideal to try for the big Trout. Red Drum fishing has been great, lots and lots of slot fish are being captured in a variety of places. Tar Landing bay and the Haystacks are two great starting points to try for them. Barracuda are "all you want" on the nearshore reefs, you can catch them with tube lures or live baits.

Surf fishing has been good, with a variety of species being caught. Bluefish, Spanish Mackerel, Flounder, Red Drum, Croaker, Pompano, and a few Sea Mullet is the report on the beachfront.

Offshore most people are either Blue Marlin fishing or else bottom fishing for Grouper. The Mahi are much more scattered out now, but they are available. Many of the Mahi are moving more inshore, making places like the 90 foot drop and even closer than that great options to try. Look for good grass lines when Mahi fishing. The Gag Grouper fishing has been good, with some really nice fish being caught. 100-150 feet will be just fine for Gag fishing, even areas like Northwest Places are holding some nice Gags. We've not heard
many reports of anglers pursuing Swordfish recently, but think there will be some fish boated after the Big Rock tournament finishes up.

As always,

Tight Lines from Freeman's Bait & Tackle


May 29, 2018

The weather has started to switch towards characteristic summertime trends, with predictable Southernly winds, and inshore water temperatures climbing ever closer to a consistent 80 degrees.

Cobia fishing has started to cool off a little bit, but there is still action to be had. The sightfishing is a lot tougher now than it was the first couple weeks of May. It's time to start soaking baits. Red Drum and Flounder are biting well on nearshore reefs, inshore, and even along the beach. Bluefish and Spanish Mackerel fishing is starting to get really good. Amberjack fishing along the nearshore and offshore wrecks is also peaking. The Mahi are starting to move further and further inshore every day. As far as the ICW goes, there are plenty of Black Drum and Sheepshead being caught on Fiddler Crabs. Red Drum are feeding in places inshore on a hard incoming-flood tide. Locate pockets inside Spartina grass, or else a well defined Oyster point. Topwaters will still be a great option for the Drum right now with the water temperature being hot.

Flounder, Sheepshead, Black Drum, and a few confused Cobia have been caught around the port wall this week. Surf fishing with cut shrimp has produced a few Sea mullet, Bluefish, Croaker, Spot, Red Drum, Black Drum, Pompano, and Pinfish. For those who are plugging from the piers, Spanish and Bluefish have been biting well.

Offshore has been great. The Mahi are still biting really well and some very large ones are being caught. There have been a Few Wahoo in the mix, as well as Blackfin. For those venturing out to deeper water, there has been a good report of Blue Marlin. Grouper, Beeliners, and Triggers are all still being caught well by the bottom fisherman.

Until next time,

Tight lines from Freeman's Bait & Tackle


May 15, 2018

The water temperature has been climbing rapidly, at roughly a degree a day pace with this recent push of Southwest wind. The migration of life has arrived.

Cobia fishing has started off on a very strong note. Sight fishing has been good and bottom fishing has been good as well. Come in and ask if you are interested in Cobia fishing and we will get you set up with everything you need for a day of soaking baits. The hook of the Cape and Beaufort Inlet is where most of the activity has been occurring. You will need to weed through the sharks and rays, but you will have a shot at a big Cobia. The chopper Bluefish are about gone now, and are being replaced with schools of Spanish Mackerel. There are lots of Spanish around, and you can catch them in a variety of ways. Casting jigs, flies, or spoons are all great options. However, you can always go old fashioned and troll spoons or some Yo-zuri crystal minnows. Flounder and Gray Trout are being captured on nearshore wrecks and reefs, as well as inshore at places like the AB bridge and the ICW. Red Drum are blasting on topwater lures like the Rapala Skitter Walk. Fish your topwater lure around oyster bars and shallow mud flats, fish fast and cover as much water as possible. The Red Drum are more spread out now with the warmer water, so that’s why it is important to cover lots of water to find them. The Speckled Trout are spawning, so even if you are a catch and release fisherman just let them spawn until the start of June. Sheepshead and Black Drum have arrived, and we have Fiddler Crabs for bait. Fish them on a Carolina Rig next to docks or bridge pilings.

Surf Fisherman are starting to enjoy the warm weather and good fishing. Black Drum, Pompano, Bluefish, Sea Mullet, Croaker and Red Drum are some of the species you might catch soaking cut shrimp along the beach right now. Casting the beach with a jig and Gulp Shrimp can produce bites from Flounder, Puppy Drum, and sometimes a Speckled Trout. The 4” Natural or else Molting color are great options paired with a ¼ Jighead. You can also catch some very nice Spanish mackerel at Fort Macon, go for a walk and start at the Coast Guard Station, cast your way along the beach until you hit the rock jetty. Kastmaster spoons, Yo-zuri crystal minnows, Breakday Jigs, or small plastic jerk shads will all work. Remember to always wet your hands and never grab any fish by the gills that you plan on releasing.

Offshore is producing world class gaffer Dolphin fishing at places near the Big Rock and anywhere else with a good temp break and grass line. Wahoo are in the mix, so are Blackfin, White Marlin, Blue Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna, and Sailfish. Bottom fishing has been great
for Grouper, with a lot of nice fish in the 120-200foot depth range.

Until next time,

Tight Lines from Freeman's Bait & Tackle


May 5, 2018

It's the time of year when everyone wants to have a fishing pole in their hand. We are waiting for our annual Cobia migration, and these fish will likely arrive in the next couple of weeks, the water temp along the beach is currently 67 degrees.

As far as things go along the beachfront, it's the place to be at this time of the year. For the next month we will be seeing a variety of Cobia, Bluefish, and Red Drum that can make a fun day on the water for those who find them. Searching the beach for fish activity, bait balls, and slick spots can prove effective for the Blues, Cobia and Drum. Soaking live/dead bait Carolina Rigs near our inlets is an effective option for these species. Albacore are still being seen around the inlets and Cape as well. Keep your eyes out for any tagged Cobia this May, and if you do get one, please report your tag to the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries. Flounder are making a showing at the Port Wall, and nearshore reefs. Although surf fishing can be good right now, it can also be frustrating so you need to keep at it and study the beach. There have been some really nice Black Drum being caught on fresh cut shrimp. Remember that most of the fish on the beach tend to ambush prey in the whitewash of waves.

Fishing on the inside and the ICW has been producing a mixed bag of slot Red Drum, Flounder, and Speckled Trout. There are still Gray Trout chewing at the Atlantic Beach bridge, too. Remember to practice proper handing protocol with all fish you release. Wet your hands and wet down whatever surface the fish comes in contact with, never pick up a fish you plan on releasing by the gills. The Red Drum have been exploding on topwaters on flood tides on mud flats and in shallow spartina grass and oyster beds. Flounder have already been caught around a few of the deeper dock structures in Bogue Sound. Bucktail/Gulp Shrimp or live mullet/mud minnows is a good option for the Flounder. Black drum paired with adult sized Sheepshead are starting to creep around ICW pilings and Bogue Sound pilings.

Offshore fishing has been really good, especially for those trolling Ballyhoo. The Mahi have started to show up well, and can make for an action packed day. Wahoo are still being caught, paired nicely with Blackfin and Yellowfin Tuna. Grouper season is now open, so bring some bottom fishing gear with you if you want to make a few drops while you are out there.

Time to get out there folks!

Tight Lines from Freeman's Bait and Tackle 


April 21, 2018


It is a great feeling that from now until the end of December we will have the luxury to choose from a number of different great fishing opportunities. We will experience migratory runs of both Southernly and Northern orientated fish populations passing through our unique area of a "migratory fish interstate". The start of it all are the large schools of Chopper Bluefish and Bull Drum along our beaches, and they have made their presence known, let the season begin!

There have been clouds of Bluefish along the surf in certain areas of beach, specifically from Fort Macon out to the Cape. There have been hit or miss schools of 40+" Red Drum along the shoals area of the Cape to pair nicely with the Chopper Bluefish, making for some exciting days. The Sea Mullet fishing is getting in its peak along the beach and areas near the Turning Basin. The Gray Trout are here as well, with most of them in deeper structure along the ICW and turning basin areas. Flounder fishing is just getting started, and a few early arrivers are already being caught in Bogue Sound and at most of our nearshore reefs. The big Sheepshead usually arrive just after the first batch of Flounder push inshore, so pretty soon we will be seeing the "fully-grown convicts". Black Drum fishing has been solid around the Fort Macon rock jetty and the Cape jetty. False Albacore have made a strong showing just a couple miles off the beach as well.

The marsh has been holding more and more slot sized Red Drum as every day grows warmer. They are becoming very active, making topwaters a top choice at this tranistion time of the year. Speckled Trout are known to choke a topwater as well, and all signs are showing that we will still have a healthy fishery here along our beloved Crystal Coast. If you do catch a Trout, please just take one extra minute to wet your hands before handling it. Always make sure that you wet down all dry surfaces/measuring boards that the fish is exposed to while out of the water, and please dont handle a fish you plan on releasing with a towel. Always suppport the belly of any fish you release, and never pick her up by the gills. If all fisherman practiced proper handling skills, it would make more of a difference than anyone realizes. Don't forget to report any tagged Red Drum, Speckled Trout or Cobia taken in our inshore waters to the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries tagging program.

Offshore the fishing has been heating up. We have had some of the best Yellowfin Tuna fishing that boats of Morehead/Atlantic Beach have seen in a very long time. If you want to try to catch a few Yellowfin, get out there ASAP, because who knows how long this bite will last. The Wahoo are starting to chew a little bit better, and we are seeing a few scattered gaffer sized Dolphinfish prematurely arriving, in a couple of weeks the Dolphin fishing will be world class. Bottom fishing remains stable, and Grouper opens back up in May for recreational anglers to target again.

Tight Lines from Freeman's Bait and Tackle