The summer has started, the weather is piping hot, and the fish are starting to get a little bit peppered up too!
Inshore: With the water temperatures on the rise, it is possible to find some smaller sized Dolphin (Mahi) in around our artificial reefs and
on out towards nearshore places like Northwest Places. Most people catch them while targeting King Mackerel as bycatch. Live baits like free
lined Menhaden, or frozen baits like Cigar minnows will get you a bite from both Kings as well as nearshore Mahi. Anglers are also starting
to see large Spanish Mackerel at places like AR 315 and AR 330. Free lined finger mullet on a heavy flourocarbon leader (40-50lbs) with a
small a treble hook can get you a bite from the big Spaniards. Smaller King Mackerel will be mixed in with the big Spanish, so make
sure you properly identify your catch before throwing it in the kill box. Flounder fishing with bucktailscan be done simultaneously while fishing
for Spanish on the artificial reefs. Jig a Spro Bucktail/Gulp Shrimp combo on the bottom while you let your live bait swim on top behind
the boat, sometimes you can get a nice mixed bag. As far as the marshes and inshore waterbodies go, there has been a very good Red Drum
bite. Anywhere around the Core Creek marshes should hold some nice slot sized Drum. There should also be plenty of Black Drum and Sheepshead
around the same areas, especially if you can find some nice Oyster beds. If you want a shot at catching all three of these species,
the best way to target them all at once is a live shrimp under a popping cork. Just because the fact that live shrimp is a bait that all
of them will readily eat. If you are after Red Drum and Speckled Trout, I would say maybe go with a Topwater early in the morning, as the
heat of the day progresses focus on deeper structure like dock pilings and fish with Jerk Shads, Swim Baits, Gulp Shrimp, Vudu Shrimp, or else
Halo shad/Halo Shrimp. An awesome lure (soft plastic) that will work for Trout, Drum, and Flounder as well (that is available in the shop) is
the oversized Dudu Shrimp, it also has a small rattle in it, that will help trigger a bite. Sharks can be available everywhere, if you
don't have a boat there are tons of Spinner Sharks (which will jump) available all along the depths of the Beaufort Inlet Channel (where
it drops off really fast around Fort Macon). There have been a few stray Cobia around, but would not worth making a plan on targeting them. Fiddler
Crabs fished near bridge
pilings on a Carolina Rig will give anglers a good shot at Sheepshead and Black Drum mixed bags. There have been some Flounder and Black Drum along the Beaches, as well as some Spanish Mackerel. The piers are catching Spanish and Bluefish by anglers plugging. Bear Inlet and Shark Island beaches have plenty of Red Drum near the inlets. There have also been some better sized Speckled Trout around, they can be pursued in 2-6 feet of water (shelly or grassy bottoms) in the mornings or around dusk.
Offshore: The Mahi have started to move a little bit closer in; places like the 90-foot drop might have some good Dolphin on it still though. The Wahoo bite should probably start to pick up a little bit, with a few more bites available per day, however you probably aren't going to see the same size classes as those Spring and Fall monsters. Blue Marlin fishing is obviously the name of the game right now, with the Big Rock tournament in full swing. The Blue Marlin fishing is still producing plenty of bites. They can be found from the Big Rock on out. Grouper fishing has been very productive, with limits being plentiful. We have not heard a whole lot as far as the Swordfishing has been going lately, however I would assume that those who find some good pretty water could scrape together a few Swords. There has been a fairly consistent bite on Red Grouper as well, you will want turbo sized live baits for the Red Grouper or else a larger meatier cut bait for them.
Fly Fishing: Spanish Mackerel can be targeted on the fly, with the larger fish on the reefs. The larger sized Spanish can be targeted with larger profile baitfish patterns (4-6inch) mullet or white baitfish color schemes. It is best to bring some live baits with, and to throw them overboard to get the fish fired up before casting your fly. Smaller sized Spanish can be targeted along the beaches with glass minnow fly patterns. There is also the opportunity to catch plenty of Red Drum on the fly as well. Wade fishing the marshes during a flood tide with either shrimp, crab, or else very light weighted clouser minnow patterns can be very effective for the Drum. Believe it or not, if you can find a really good Crab fly pattern, you can also catch Sheepshead on the fly at this time of the year as well, specifically along the oyster beds during very high tides. Big game in our area is also available to be targeted on fly at this time of the year. If you bring a 10-12Wt fly rod offshore, that should be able to handle most species. Amberjack, Mahi, and King Mackerel will all chew on a fly, you have just got to have the gear on board. Large Baitfish deciever patterns will do the trick for all of these species. The key is not to waste time casting until you see one. So just go about your day, and have a fly rod ready. You can always try a fly rod right at dusk or dawn for big Speckled Trout, you will want to fish with a large mullet/pinfish colored baitfish deciever pattern around shallow grass beds with deep sand potholes in the mix.
As always, Tight Lines from Freemans Bait and Tackle