August 4, 2018

We have had a long stretch of rainfall and stormy conditions throughout the last couple of weeks, but things are now calming down and getting more optimal for some fishing. The annual run of Striped Mullet is just beginning and fishing is about to bust wide open.

Topwater fishing for Red Drum has been really good, even with this nasty band of weather. The Red Drum have been loitering around areas with high concentrations of Striped Mullet, typically on shallow mud/shell flats with some Oyster shell nearby. There have been many over slot Drum coming in from the ocean and if you have a grown one crush your topwater it sounds like a can of compressed air exploding. The Speckled Trout bite is also very much alive, however it has been a hit or miss type scenario. Live bait has been producing for the Speckled Trout as well as topwaters at dawn, and also baits like the "Vudu Shrimp" and "Gulp" natural shrimp. Flounder fishing has been strong as well. Carolina rigs fished with a 12-15" fluorocarbon leader and live mullet is the best way to target them. A 3/0 live bait/Kahle hook will work great for Carolina Rigs. Sheepshead and Black Drum are here and will be here at all the typical places like the Port Wall, AB Bridge, and local docks and marinas until late October. We have plenty of fiddler crabs in stock. Tarpon are being caught in the Neuse River, and being hooked up and jumped off on the Bogue Inlet Pier, with many other sightings all along our beachfront.

Nearshore fishing has been good, with solid catches of King Mackerel and a few Scattered Dolphin being taken at places like the Sea Buoy and NW Places. There have actually still been a few leftover Cobia seen and caught, so always have a pitch rod with you ready to deploy.

Amberjack and Barracudas will keep anglers busy all day. There have also been some very nice Spanish Mackerel and Flounder being caught at AR315.

Surf Fishing is starting to pick up. Lots of Spanish Mackerel and Blues are being caught by those plugging from piers. Black Drum, Pompano, Sea Mullet, Croaker and Red Drum are being taken by people bottom fishing the surf with dead baits. Flounder, Red Drum, and even a few rogue Speckled Trout are being caught off the beach by those fishing live bait and artificial. If you have questions about what types of artificial lures to use on the beach, come into the shop and we will get you pointed in a couple of directions depending on the turbidity, visibility, and swell.

Not a ton of boats have been going offshore lately, but the ones who have caught some nice Wahoo on the troll. The Grouper fishing has also been really good as well. There are still plenty of Sailfish, White Marlin and Wahoo at the Big Rock too, so plenty of options to



July 18, 2018

Fishing right now requires sunscreen, water, and a game plan. The reason a game plan is necessary is because there are a lot of options to be had at this time of the year. Without proper planning you simply won't have as good of odds of having a successful day on the water.


Inshore there has been an awesome bite on Red Drum on topwater plugs, they have been getting all the way into the Spartina grass on flood tides. As far as sight fishing for Reds, many of them have been seen tailing in the grass. You will want to be quiet and stealthy so you do not spook them, because in shallow water these fish are spooked easily.

Speckled Trout action can be found in the earliest times of the morning and topwater lures are still the go-to method for catching a grown one at this time of the year. Flounder fishing has been awesome. Anywhere from the nearshore wrecks to dock pilings in the ICW are great places for them. Fish them with a Carolina Rig and a live Mullet minnow.

Spanish Mackerel, King Mackerel, and Mahi are all still scattered around nearshore reefs and the Sea Buoy. Live baiting with Menhaden or else dead bait Cigar minnow rigs would be the way to go for this type of fishing. Sheepshead and Black Drum have been biting very well. Dock and bridge pilings in the ICW with live Fiddler Crabs is the best way to target them.

Surf fishing has been good for those soaking cut shrimp, squid or cut mullet. The species that have been encountered for those soaking bottom rigs includes: Croaker, Spot, Black Drum, Sea Mullet, Pompano, Red Drum and small Flounder. For those casting artificials or live baiting there have been some nice Flounder, Spanish Mackerel and Red Drum being caught from the beach. If you want the shot at some deeper water from the beach, try fishing at Fort Macon State Park near the Coast Guard Station, you never know what might be lurking around on that stretch of water. There have still been pods of Tarpon being sighted running the beach in front of the Cape.

Offshore the trolling bite is slowing down a bit, but it won't be long at all until we have a really awesome Wahoo bite going on. Bottom fishing for Grouper and Triggerfish has been really great the last couple of weeks, with some of the Grouper being caught in 65-70 feet of water. Some Swordfish were caught in the last couple weeks as well! There have also been a fair amount of Blue Marlin hookups on the troll. 

As always, 

Tight Lines to you from Freeman's 


July 1, 2018

The Crystal Coast is full of life right now, both in the water and off of it. It's the great week of fireworks, festivities, and fish. So come enjoy one of the most beautiful areas North Carolina has to offer this Fourth of July.

Inshore and along the beach the fishing has been great. Sheepshead fishing has been really awesome in the ICW, and there have been some really nice Black Drum to pair nicely with them. Fiddler Crabs have been the go to choice of bait for the Sheepshead and Black Drum, but live shrimp is a great option too, especially if you want a chance at a Seatrout or a Flounder as well. Red Drum fishing has been great. The Reds have been in areas like pot holes along the beachfront, marsh areas with good oyster points, extensive shallow water mud flats, and docks along the ICW.

Speckled Trout fishing has been good, you really need to focus 100% of your time on the first 30 minutes of daylight for them at this time of the year. They just do not like to chew a whole lot in the heat of the day. Topwaters along shelly bottoms is still the way to go for the Speckled variety.

Nearshore reefs and the ICW have been producing good numbers of Flounder. Live mullet or live shad on a Carolina rig is the best way to target them in the heat of the Summer. There have been some keeper flatties being taken along the beachfront by surf fisherman as well.

Spanish Mackerel, King Mackerel and Dolphin have been keeping those live baiting nearshore areas very busy. The King Mackerel fishing is actually really good right now. Tarpon are still being sighted in random stretches along the beach all the way from Bogue inlet to the point of the Cape. Ladyfish are still biting live shrimp after dark, and so are a few nice Speckled Trout. Spadefish are still rooting around nearshore wrecks.

Surf fishing with shrimp has been great for Sea Mullet, Black Drum, Croaker, and a few Pompano. For those fishing the surf with live bait, spoons, or soft plastics on a jig, the beach has been providing a few Red Drum, Flounder, Spanish Mackerel and Bluefish.

Offshore there has been some good reports of Dolphin, a few nice Wahoo, some Blackfin and a few White Marlin for those trolling Ballyhoo. However you never know when you might encounter a Blue Marlin in your spread at this time of the year! There have been a few guys trying out the Swordfish but haven't heard of any caught just yet, it might not be long until someone dials them in. Bottom fishing is still great on the Grouper.

You cant catch fish on the couch, so go make something happen. Have a great 4th of July week everyone! God bless America!

Tight Lines from Freeman's Bait & Tackle 


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