Summer time heat is scorching the Crystal Coast, and it's the time of year to enjoy a hot summer day out on the water.
While you are out on the water, you might as well take advantage of some great warm-weather fishing that the Southern OBX has to offer.
Inshore: One unique fishery that has made its appearance is our summer-time Tarpon fishery. In North Carolina, Tarpon are a very challenging task to cross off of your bucket list; nevertheless, they are around. If you plan an excursion to try and catch one, you could go about it in two different ways. You could cover as much of the Neuse River as possible on a flat calm day and look for Tarpon gulping air, then pitch something like a live shad or a live pinfish to them. The other technique would be anchoring up and kite fishing along the beach with baits like; live cob mullet, live pinfish, or live threadfin. The Speckled Trout fishing has been fairly strong even with all of this heat, and many of the fish being caught have been large and in charge. Topwaters at daybreak is the staple for big summer time Trout. The Rapala Skitter-Walk is a go to topwater bait for Citation sized Trout at dawn around this area. It's best to retrieve this bait either "Along the Grain" or "Against the Grain". "Along the Grain" means to let the current be your friend and help you cover the water. "Against the Grain" is working your bait against the current, giving it a slower cadence and a wider twitch range. I will also add that a big Speckled Trout will generally miss your bait on its first attempt, or even try to tail slap it, so its very important to not freak out after the first strike, just keep it slowly twitching. A big Trout will almost always turn back and make sure he gets it on the second attempt. Also, a Trout on topwater will generally hook themselves, so no need for some crazy hook set like an FLW-tour Largemouth Bass all-star, you'll just tear the soft tissue in the fish's mouth and lose your trophy. Flounder fishing has been consistent. Live baits on a Carolina Rig is the way to do it in the hot summer days, undoubtedly. Inshore areas like Core Creek have had plenty of Flounder, Speckled Trout, and Red Drum. The Newport River has had some good topwater Red Drum action as well. Fishing a Berkley Gulp (Natural or Molten color 4"shrimp) near oyster beds with a very slow retrieve has been producing some upper-slot and a few over-slot Drum lately as well. Anglers fishing from the beach are catching some nice Spanish Mackerel on gold colored Taskmaster spoons, particularly around Bogue and Beaufort Inlets.
Offshore: Offshore fishing has been producing a good Grouper bite. There have also been some billfish around areas from the Big Rock to the Swansboro Hole. We have not heard any reports on Swordfish being caught. There should still be a few Dolphin around the grass, but not in any good numbers, just kind of here and there, or none at all. The smaller class sizes of Wahoo should start chewing the planer rods usually around this time of year. There have been a few anglers that have found good pods of Blackfin Tuna. Bottom fishing has been consistent as always for meat fisherman, you've just got to have quality baits, quality rigs, and quality numbers. Don't be afraid to try something that looks good on your electronics, too many people rely on numbers given to them. If you have the electronics, trust them, and use them to your advantage. Sometimes the best way to catch is stay away from the crowd.
Fly Fishing: Citation Speckled Trout can be fooled at daybreak on big and bulky deciever patterns that imitate a live mullet. Amberjack,
smaller sized Mahi, and random strangers can be fooled over the top of artificial reefs on a fly after a heavy dose of chumming.
As always, Tight Lines from Freeman's Bait and Tackle. We hope you're enjoying summer!