It's the time of year when everyone wants to have a fishing pole in their hand. We are waiting for our annual Cobia migration, and these fish will likely arrive in the next couple of weeks, the water temp along the beach is currently 67 degrees.
As far as things go along the beachfront, it's the place to be at this time of the year. For the next month we will be seeing a variety of Cobia, Bluefish, and Red Drum that can make a fun day on the water for those who find them. Searching the beach for fish activity, bait balls, and slick spots can prove effective for the Blues, Cobia and Drum. Soaking live/dead bait Carolina Rigs near our inlets is an effective option for these species. Albacore are still being seen around the inlets and Cape as well. Keep your eyes out for any tagged Cobia this May, and if you do get one, please report your tag to the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries. Flounder are making a showing at the Port Wall, and nearshore reefs. Although surf fishing can be good right now, it can also be frustrating so you need to keep at it and study the beach. There have been some really nice Black Drum being caught on fresh cut shrimp. Remember that most of the fish on the beach tend to ambush prey in the whitewash of waves.
Fishing on the inside and the ICW has been producing a mixed bag of slot Red Drum, Flounder, and Speckled Trout. There are still Gray Trout chewing at the Atlantic Beach bridge, too. Remember to practice proper handing protocol with all fish you release. Wet your hands and wet down whatever surface the fish comes in contact with, never pick up a fish you plan on releasing by the gills. The Red Drum have been exploding on topwaters on flood tides on mud flats and in shallow spartina grass and oyster beds. Flounder have already been caught around a few of the deeper dock structures in Bogue Sound. Bucktail/Gulp Shrimp or live mullet/mud minnows is a good option for the Flounder. Black drum paired with adult sized Sheepshead are starting to creep around ICW pilings and Bogue Sound pilings.
Offshore fishing has been really good, especially for those trolling Ballyhoo. The Mahi have started to show up well, and can make for an action packed day. Wahoo are still being caught, paired nicely with Blackfin and Yellowfin Tuna. Grouper season is now open, so bring some bottom fishing gear with you if you want to make a few drops while you are out there.
Time to get out there folks!
Tight Lines from Freeman's Bait and Tackle