On the beach there have been schools of Bull Drum along the shoals at the Cape. There will be a school of adult Black Drum out there at some point this month as well; it seems to happen every April.
The chopper Bluefish have made their first appearance. We have heard of a couple of them caught near the Coast Guard Station. There will likely be some good schools of chopper Bluefish at the shoals if you can get a good weather day to get to them. Sea Mullet are showing up along the beach as well as Black Drum for those fishing with fresh cut shrimp from the surf zone. False Albacore are available in places like the Shipping Channel and the Cape. Slot sized Red Drum have been schooling in the whitewash of the beaches in front of Atlantic Beach and Fort Macon, if you have the right weather you can sight fish for them.
There have also been Red Drum in large schools in the marsh. The schools of Drum that have been in the marsh this Spring are upper slot sized fish. These fish are starting to become more active with the water temperatures now in the low 60's. Look for them around oyster beds and in the back of grassy bays when you have high tide conditions. Speckled Trout are now starting to feed up before they spawn. This is the time of the year when you have opportunities at a gargantuan female. Remember, Speckled Trout are not to be kept, and if you catch one, treat her like a lady and make sure she is taken care of properly. Wet your hands, do not grab the gills, and support the belly. Never use a rag to handle any fish that you plan on releasing, and this goes for all species. Black Drum and Sheepshead are starting to chew near dock pilings on the ICW. There have been a few early Flounder around in deeper pockets in the marsh and artificial reefs. The Gray Trout have made their arrival known, and are feeding at the turning basin and the Atlantic Beach bridge.
Offshore fishing has started to pick up. Anglers are having good luck on Wahoos, Blackfins, and even Yellowfins. There have also been a few beautiful Swordfish taken for those that have been targeting them these last couple of weeks. Grouper are still closed, but bottom fisherman have been doing well on Black Sea Bass, Triggerfish, Jacks, and a few Beeliners.
Until Next Time,
Tight Lines from Freemans Bait and Tackle