There have been plenty of Black Drum along structure in the ICW, as well as schooling fish along rock jetties and Inlets. There are Red Drum to be had along the beach. The key is finding a nice calm day that will allow you to go out and find them schooled up. In the winter, the slot Red Drum get very concentrated, so when you find one, you will more than likely find many. Places like the old Fort Macon jetty and any areas near inlets will stock-pile the slot Reds right now. Fresh cut shrimp is a great option with these colder water temperatures. Or a gulp shrimp worked very slowly can be hard for them to resist, the key is to fish either stationary or else very slowly for them. Flounder can still be found, but you will need to make the run to much deeper and warmer water with a structure; specifically live bottom areas further offshore. As stated in the last report, if you do have any accidental encounters with Speckled Trout, please be sure to handle them gently, get your hands wet before touching them so you don't remove any of their small scales or their "glycol-protein" slimy coat. If you see any fish with tags, please report all tagged Speckled Trout to the Division of Marine Fisheries.
There are small Sheepshead along the port wall, also some nice Tautog and smaller sized Black Sea Bass. Two hook bottom rigs with shrimp is what you will want to use for these species at this time of the year. If you feel adventurous, there are likely a few schools of Bull Drum out along the Cape Shoals.
We have still yet to hear of any Bluefin Tuna being caught. Further out, there are plenty of False Albacore, along with a few Wahoo and Blackfin Tuna. Bottom fishing remains steady, and yes, Grouper season is closed to recreational anglers. There are plenty of nice Sea Bass out there though. Looks like we will be getting a nice Southwest breeze with temperatures in the 50's and 60's, maybe it will warm up the water and make fishing a little bit easier for us.
Until next time!
Tight Lines from Freeman's Bait and Tackle