November 4, 2018

The month of November has always been a key transition month for our inshore fisheries. Our big sow Speckled Trout are migrating the beaches and through the ICW, the doormat Flounder are moving out of our marshes and along the beachfront, and the Red Drum are getting ready for the winter and are beginning to group tight with one another into larger schools near our inlets.
ICW & Surrounding Marshes: Right now the ICW is a great place to be fishing. The Speckled Trout are hanging in areas with clean water and current. The incoming tide is going to be your best opportunity to interact with a big sow female Trout coming inshore on her pre-winter migration from the beachfront. Areas in the ICW that have good structure like dock pilings, rubble along the shore like rock banks, well defined current lines, and rock jetties are great areas to focus your attention. Lures of choice for the Speckled Trout right now are; Trout Tricks, Berkley Gulp, Zman Swimbaits, DOA Shrimp, and Vudu Shrimp. A natural color bait(caramel/salt & pepper)fished in clear water will usually get attention from bigger Trout. Flounder are still being caught in the ICW as well, and some particularly large ones will be staging at places like the Port Wall. Focus your attention on the bridge pilings and also anywhere the port wall comes to a point. Live mullet will be what you need to capture the large doormat Flounder. Red Drum are still in the ICW as well. Cut Mullet, Gulp Shrimp, and Trout Tricks are great ways to catch slot Red Drum in the ICW. Fish for Drum close to places with live structure like dock pilings and oyster beds for best results. Black Drum are still available, but the Sheepshead are starting to disappear. Black Drum can be caught using fresh cut shrimp near dock pilings on the bottom. Gray Trout are starting to bite well at the Atlantic Beach Bridge. Trout Tricks and Jerk Shads coupled with a 3/8oz jighead will tempt the Gray Trout to bite. Snap your rod tip with a “twitch-twitch-pause" cadence to get a reaction bite from the Gray Trout.
Nearshore: The Albacore are blitzing our beaches right now, look for them in front of Beaufort Inlet, the Oceanna Pier, the Cape, and the Cape Rock Jetty. Use lures like Stingsilvers, Tsunami jerk baits, and 3/8-1/2oz Kastmaster spoons and retrieve quickly just under the surface. Nearshore Reefs are starting to hold more Doormat Flounder every day as they begin their seaward migration. Bucktail jigs and live mullet are the best way to catch these fish on the reef at this time of the year. Spanish Mackerel are beginning to dwindle, but you might find a large one live baiting for King Mackerel. King Mackerel have been biting very well at Northwest Places, the Trawler, and there have also been a few large fish caught near the Sea Buoy and even the Port Wall. Sometimes at this time of the year a very large Wahoo will get captured by big King Mackerel fisherman out at Northwest places.
The Beach: The beach is a great place to hit at this time of the year, particularly for Speckled Trout. Fishing areas with deeper pockets of water along the beach with Mirrorlures and Halo Shrimp can produce some significant catches of Sea Trout at this time of the year. A good way to locate them is put a few baits in your pocket and go for and exploratory walk. Make a cast at every spot that looks like it might have a shoal or a depression. Lots of times, the Trout and Drum will be right in the white wash close in, because thats where the baitfish are. So make sure to work your retrieve all the way back through the "wave break" zone. Red Drum are biting well near the inlets and near shoals and also in areas of baron beachfront. Deploying a Carolina Rig with a piece of fresh cut Mullet is the best way to locate Red Drum, but if you can find them schooled up you catch them on just about anything in your arsenal. Flounder are being caught in decent numbers along the beach right now. Use either a Carolina Rig paired to a live mullet or else a 4" Gulp Shrimp, select as light of a jighead as you can get away with dependant on wave turbitity and current. Bluefish, Pompano, Sea Mullet, Spot and Black Drum can be taken by those fishing with cut Shrimp on two-hook bottom rigs.
Offshore: Right now Wahoo fishing is the name of the game, trolling Ballyhoo is a great way to catch them. However, others prefer to pull cedar plugs and high-speed lures as well. Blackfin Tuna and Sailfish will make up your other species available for those trolling Ballyhoo at this time of the year. Grouper fishing has been good, fishing with large cut baits like Boston Mackerel, or fresh live Pinfish are choice baits for the Grouper. Black Sea Bass fishing has been great lately, come grab some Cigar Minnnows, Northern Mackerel, Boston Mackerel, or fresh Squid wing from us for your next bottom fishing adventure.
Tight lines from Freeman’s Bait & Tackle🎣

October 12, 2018

We have had a lot on our plate lately, from hurricane Florence and now tropical storm Michael. It seems as if we are having one of those very stormy years. Yet there are still fish around and they are willing to bite.
Speckled Trout fishing is just beginning to heat up. However, they have not been biting quite as well as previous years. Characteristic places like the Radio Island Jetty and the Haystacks have been holding some fish.
There are a lot of small fish around right now, but there are also some jumbos mixed in with them, you just have to grind it out for a big fish bite. Flounder fishing has been consistent. Flounder are being caught well in the ICW, Core Creek, and even along the beach. Anglers are catching Flounder on Carolina Rigs with either Peanut Shad or live Finger Mullet minnows.
Red Drum are scattered and moving around everywhere. You can catch a Red Drum just about anywhere at this time of the year. There have been lots of "over-slot" fish being captured around the Coast Guard Station by anglers soaking fresh cut mullet and live Finger Mullet. Black Drum have been abundant on the beachfront and along dock pilings in the ICW, as well as on Oyster beds. Live Shrimp is a great option for both Red and Black Drum at this time of the year.
Sheepshead fishing is still going well, live Fiddler Crabs are a great choice bait. Fish your Fiddler Crab on a short 12" Carolina Rig or else just a jighead near the pilings. Albacore are biting well all along the Cape, they can be caught casting jerk shads, spoons, jigging lures, and flies.
Fishing on the beach is starting to fire off. Fish such as Pompano, Bluefish, Spanish Mackerel, Black Drum, Red Drum, Flounder, and Speckled Trout are all available to be targeted from the beach at this time of the year. If you are fishing with fresh cut Shrimp, you have a chance at some Pompano, Black Drum, Spot, Croaker, Sea Mullet, Bluefish, and smaller sized Flounder. If you are fishing with live bait, or casting jigs, you might catch some Spanish Mackerel, Flounder, Red Drum, Bluefish, or Speckled Seatrout. If you are Targeting Trout and Drum, try fishing with a Zman "PaddlerZ" swimbait on a 1/4 oz jig and giving it a straight retrieve back to you, you might catch a nice Flounder using this tactic as well. Make sure you have nice clean and clear water if you decide to throw artificial lures from the beach, if it is murky you should stick to live bait or dead bait.
Offshore and nearshore there have been good catches of King Mackerel, Wahoo, Blackfin and a few Billfish. Bottom fishing has been producing plenty of Grouper, Triggerfish, Beeliners, and Jacks. For those trolling Ballyhoo and specifically targeting Wahoo, the Big Rock is holding plenty of fish. You just have to get out there and go trolling when you get a good weather window.
Tight Lines!
Freeman's Bait & Tackle

September 6, 2018

The yellow butterflies are in the air, a tall tale sign that fall fishing has begun. Over the next two months the amount of fish that will move up and down our beaches will pinnacle. Although there will be a large biomass of fish around, it is important to be prudent when targeting a choice species. Preparation, knowledge, and presentation are the keys to coming tight with a trophy.
Right now there are lots of Gray Trout in the ICW. You can catch them with soft baits, live bait, or jigging spoons. Red Drum are also entering the flood gates of the inlet and can be caught in a variety of different areas at this time of the year. There have been lots of Red Drum being caught in deeper water near bridge pilings by people targeting Flounder. Also, if you are after "Bull Drum" there are plenty of them off of Cedar Island and also near bait balls of Menhaden in the main Neuse River, and tributaries connected to it.
As far as Speckled Trout fishing goes, it is starting to pick up. Fish can be caught but you really need to fish a lot and dial in the optimal tide, bait source, and water clarity. It is also important to be fairly sneaky when fishing for Trout and Drum, they do not prefer
commotion such as a running engine or loud music. If you catch a nice Trout, Drum, or Flounder please always wet your hands before handling it, and also check them for tags. All tagged fish should be reported to The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries.
Flounder fishing is starting to get nice and hot. Lots of flatties are being caught as these fish anticipate fall. Places like dock pilings and brides close to the inlet with nice salty water are optimal to capture a giant specimen. Ladyfish are biting very well after dark. Use a 12lb fluorocarbon leader with a Kahle hook and a live shrimp, just let it drift on the surface through the current. They have large eyes and are very finicky, so presentation means everything on the ladies. Black Drum and Sheepshead are still really going hard. They are being captured by anglers using Fiddler crabs on a 12" Carolina Rigs. If you have any question about the right hook type for Sheepshead fishing come by the shop and we will point you in the right direction.
Nearshore Reefs are holding some nice Flounder, Red Drum and Gray Trout as well. Most people have been live baiting for them or jigging a bucktail and a plastic trailer. Spanish Mackerel and King Mackerel fishing continues to be stellar for anglers live lining baitfish over live bottom, or around the Shipping Channel. Amberjack are still willing to cooperate on reefs a little further offshore. Topwater poppers, live bait, or even flies will tempt a bite from these work horses.
Surf Fishing is really starting to pick up well now. Anglers are catching a lot more gamefish so it is worth your while to try to be prudent about what you want to catch and prepare for it. Walking the beach and casting a jig and plastic, mirrorlure, or a Kastmaster spoon are very good options and will give you a shot at a variety of different gamefish. As far as bottom fishing from the beach goes, there have been catches of Croaker, Pompano, Sea Mullet, Red Drum, Bluefish, and a very few amount of Spot.
Offshore the trolling has been either really great or else really ratty. Good catches of Wahoo and Sailfish have been happening, also a few Blue Marlin hook ups as well. A few Blackfin in the mix too. Bottom fishing has maintained solid as usual. Come by and get a Squid Wing as we have plenty in stock.
As always, Tight Lines!

August 26, 2018


Northeast winds are starting to blow, and fish are starting to move up and down our beaches. The signs of our fall fisheries are here so get out there and see if you can come tight.

Inshore fishing has been good, and it's about to get a lot better with cooler air and a gradual drop of water temp. The Striped Mullet are now being seen running down the beaches, and that is a great sign. Flounder fishing has been productive all along the ICW, the beachfront, and also on the artificial Reefs. Live mullet and small live Menhaden are the best baits to use on a Carolina Rig.
Speckled Trout fishing is about to start getting good. Fish for the Trout at places like Radio Island, Taylors Creek, or other areas around the ICW. In a couple of weeks it will be worth wade fishing in the surf for Trout too.

Spanish Mackerel fishing has been good, as well as King Mackerel fishing. The Shipping Channel and AR315 are nice short rides in the boat and are great places to target the Kings and Spanish. Live Menhaden or Cigar minnows on dead bait rigs will get the job done.Red Drum are still loving topwater lures and are still rutting around shallow mud flats and oyster reefs. They can also be targeted along the beachfront moving up and down the beaches in large schools. Sheepshead and Black Drum fishing has still been great. We have live Fiddler Crabs at the shop for them.

Surf Fishing has been producing Black Drum, Red Drum, Sea Mullet, Bluefish, Pompano and Croaker for those fishing dead/cut bait rigs. For those fishing live bait or artificial there have been catches of Spanish Mackerel, Blues, Flounder, and a few Red Drum as well. The Surf fishing is going to start getting good, especially with this nice light NE wind. It's time to hit the beaches and hit the early fall bite.

Offshore fishing has been producing some nice catches of Wahoo and also some Blackfin. Bottom fishing is still going well for Grouper, Triggerfish, and Tilefish. You never know what you might see out there so always have a pitch rod ready!

Tight Lines from Freeman's Bait & Tackle🎣


August 4, 2018

We have had a long stretch of rainfall and stormy conditions throughout the last couple of weeks, but things are now calming down and getting more optimal for some fishing. The annual run of Striped Mullet is just beginning and fishing is about to bust wide open.

Topwater fishing for Red Drum has been really good, even with this nasty band of weather. The Red Drum have been loitering around areas with high concentrations of Striped Mullet, typically on shallow mud/shell flats with some Oyster shell nearby. There have been many over slot Drum coming in from the ocean and if you have a grown one crush your topwater it sounds like a can of compressed air exploding. The Speckled Trout bite is also very much alive, however it has been a hit or miss type scenario. Live bait has been producing for the Speckled Trout as well as topwaters at dawn, and also baits like the "Vudu Shrimp" and "Gulp" natural shrimp. Flounder fishing has been strong as well. Carolina rigs fished with a 12-15" fluorocarbon leader and live mullet is the best way to target them. A 3/0 live bait/Kahle hook will work great for Carolina Rigs. Sheepshead and Black Drum are here and will be here at all the typical places like the Port Wall, AB Bridge, and local docks and marinas until late October. We have plenty of fiddler crabs in stock. Tarpon are being caught in the Neuse River, and being hooked up and jumped off on the Bogue Inlet Pier, with many other sightings all along our beachfront.

Nearshore fishing has been good, with solid catches of King Mackerel and a few Scattered Dolphin being taken at places like the Sea Buoy and NW Places. There have actually still been a few leftover Cobia seen and caught, so always have a pitch rod with you ready to deploy.

Amberjack and Barracudas will keep anglers busy all day. There have also been some very nice Spanish Mackerel and Flounder being caught at AR315.

Surf Fishing is starting to pick up. Lots of Spanish Mackerel and Blues are being caught by those plugging from piers. Black Drum, Pompano, Sea Mullet, Croaker and Red Drum are being taken by people bottom fishing the surf with dead baits. Flounder, Red Drum, and even a few rogue Speckled Trout are being caught off the beach by those fishing live bait and artificial. If you have questions about what types of artificial lures to use on the beach, come into the shop and we will get you pointed in a couple of directions depending on the turbidity, visibility, and swell.

Not a ton of boats have been going offshore lately, but the ones who have caught some nice Wahoo on the troll. The Grouper fishing has also been really good as well. There are still plenty of Sailfish, White Marlin and Wahoo at the Big Rock too, so plenty of options to



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