May 15, 2018

The water temperature has been climbing rapidly, at roughly a degree a day pace with this recent push of Southwest wind. The migration of life has arrived.

Cobia fishing has started off on a very strong note. Sight fishing has been good and bottom fishing has been good as well. Come in and ask if you are interested in Cobia fishing and we will get you set up with everything you need for a day of soaking baits. The hook of the Cape and Beaufort Inlet is where most of the activity has been occurring. You will need to weed through the sharks and rays, but you will have a shot at a big Cobia. The chopper Bluefish are about gone now, and are being replaced with schools of Spanish Mackerel. There are lots of Spanish around, and you can catch them in a variety of ways. Casting jigs, flies, or spoons are all great options. However, you can always go old fashioned and troll spoons or some Yo-zuri crystal minnows. Flounder and Gray Trout are being captured on nearshore wrecks and reefs, as well as inshore at places like the AB bridge and the ICW. Red Drum are blasting on topwater lures like the Rapala Skitter Walk. Fish your topwater lure around oyster bars and shallow mud flats, fish fast and cover as much water as possible. The Red Drum are more spread out now with the warmer water, so that’s why it is important to cover lots of water to find them. The Speckled Trout are spawning, so even if you are a catch and release fisherman just let them spawn until the start of June. Sheepshead and Black Drum have arrived, and we have Fiddler Crabs for bait. Fish them on a Carolina Rig next to docks or bridge pilings.

Surf Fisherman are starting to enjoy the warm weather and good fishing. Black Drum, Pompano, Bluefish, Sea Mullet, Croaker and Red Drum are some of the species you might catch soaking cut shrimp along the beach right now. Casting the beach with a jig and Gulp Shrimp can produce bites from Flounder, Puppy Drum, and sometimes a Speckled Trout. The 4” Natural or else Molting color are great options paired with a ¼ Jighead. You can also catch some very nice Spanish mackerel at Fort Macon, go for a walk and start at the Coast Guard Station, cast your way along the beach until you hit the rock jetty. Kastmaster spoons, Yo-zuri crystal minnows, Breakday Jigs, or small plastic jerk shads will all work. Remember to always wet your hands and never grab any fish by the gills that you plan on releasing.

Offshore is producing world class gaffer Dolphin fishing at places near the Big Rock and anywhere else with a good temp break and grass line. Wahoo are in the mix, so are Blackfin, White Marlin, Blue Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna, and Sailfish. Bottom fishing has been great
for Grouper, with a lot of nice fish in the 120-200foot depth range.

Until next time,

Tight Lines from Freeman's Bait & Tackle


May 5, 2018

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 


April 21, 2018


It is a great feeling that from now until the end of December we will have the luxury to choose from a number of different great fishing opportunities. We will experience migratory runs of both Southernly and Northern orientated fish populations passing through our unique area of a "migratory fish interstate". The start of it all are the large schools of Chopper Bluefish and Bull Drum along our beaches, and they have made their presence known, let the season begin!

There have been clouds of Bluefish along the surf in certain areas of beach, specifically from Fort Macon out to the Cape. There have been hit or miss schools of 40+" Red Drum along the shoals area of the Cape to pair nicely with the Chopper Bluefish, making for some exciting days. The Sea Mullet fishing is getting in its peak along the beach and areas near the Turning Basin. The Gray Trout are here as well, with most of them in deeper structure along the ICW and turning basin areas. Flounder fishing is just getting started, and a few early arrivers are already being caught in Bogue Sound and at most of our nearshore reefs. The big Sheepshead usually arrive just after the first batch of Flounder push inshore, so pretty soon we will be seeing the "fully-grown convicts". Black Drum fishing has been solid around the Fort Macon rock jetty and the Cape jetty. False Albacore have made a strong showing just a couple miles off the beach as well.

The marsh has been holding more and more slot sized Red Drum as every day grows warmer. They are becoming very active, making topwaters a top choice at this tranistion time of the year. Speckled Trout are known to choke a topwater as well, and all signs are showing that we will still have a healthy fishery here along our beloved Crystal Coast. If you do catch a Trout, please just take one extra minute to wet your hands before handling it. Always make sure that you wet down all dry surfaces/measuring boards that the fish is exposed to while out of the water, and please dont handle a fish you plan on releasing with a towel. Always suppport the belly of any fish you release, and never pick her up by the gills. If all fisherman practiced proper handling skills, it would make more of a difference than anyone realizes. Don't forget to report any tagged Red Drum, Speckled Trout or Cobia taken in our inshore waters to the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries tagging program.

Offshore the fishing has been heating up. We have had some of the best Yellowfin Tuna fishing that boats of Morehead/Atlantic Beach have seen in a very long time. If you want to try to catch a few Yellowfin, get out there ASAP, because who knows how long this bite will last. The Wahoo are starting to chew a little bit better, and we are seeing a few scattered gaffer sized Dolphinfish prematurely arriving, in a couple of weeks the Dolphin fishing will be world class. Bottom fishing remains stable, and Grouper opens back up in May for recreational anglers to target again.

Tight Lines from Freeman's Bait and Tackle


April 10, 2018


On the beach there have been schools of Bull Drum along the shoals at the Cape. There will be a school of adult Black Drum out there at some point this month as well; it seems to happen every April.

The chopper Bluefish have made their first appearance. We have heard of a couple of them caught near the Coast Guard Station. There will likely be some good schools of chopper Bluefish at the shoals if you can get a good weather day to get to them. Sea Mullet are showing up along the beach as well as Black Drum for those fishing with fresh cut shrimp from the surf zone. False Albacore are available in places like the Shipping Channel and the Cape. Slot sized Red Drum have been schooling in the whitewash of the beaches in front of Atlantic Beach and Fort Macon, if you have the right weather you can sight fish for them.

There have also been Red Drum in large schools in the marsh. The schools of Drum that have been in the marsh this Spring are upper slot sized fish. These fish are starting to become more active with the water temperatures now in the low 60's. Look for them around oyster beds and in the back of grassy bays when you have high tide conditions. Speckled Trout are now starting to feed up before they spawn. This is the time of the year when you have opportunities at a gargantuan female. Remember, Speckled Trout are not to be kept, and if you catch one, treat her like a lady and make sure she is taken care of properly. Wet your hands, do not grab the gills, and support the belly. Never use a rag to handle any fish that you plan on releasing, and this goes for all species. Black Drum and Sheepshead are starting to chew near dock pilings on the ICW. There have been a few early Flounder around in deeper pockets in the marsh and artificial reefs. The Gray Trout have made their arrival known, and are feeding at the turning basin and the Atlantic Beach bridge.

Offshore fishing has started to pick up. Anglers are having good luck on Wahoos, Blackfins, and even Yellowfins. There have also been a few beautiful Swordfish taken for those that have been targeting them these last couple of weeks. Grouper are still closed, but bottom fisherman have been doing well on Black Sea Bass, Triggerfish, Jacks, and a few Beeliners.

Until Next Time,

Tight Lines from Freemans Bait and Tackle


March 21, 2018

We still haven't quite had our annual spring push of fish yet. There have have been small windows of good weather that start to increase the water temp, but we keep getting cold fronts and chilly nights to knock us right back down. However, it wont be long until our annual early species like Gray Trout, Sea Mullet, Bluefish, Black Drum, Red Drum, and even our overwintered Seatrout begin their start of Spring tendencies. It will be any day now that the Sea Mullet will show up in biomass in areas like the Turning Basin and around the Port Wall. Fresh shrimp will do the trick for a tasty plate of fried Sea Mullet. Gray Trout will be in areas similar to the Sea Mullet, but you will want to fish with either a jig and plastic, or a jigging spoon. Bluefish will soon begin to flood our inlets and beaches, look for birds and commotion on the surface. Big topwater "walk the dog" baits are really fun to fish with for the Chopper Blues. Yet, you can really throw anything you want at a bluefish, they aren't particularly picky. Large schools of Bull Red Drum should start appearing around the back of Shackelford Banks and the Cape within the next 2 or 3 weeks, if not sooner. There are also usually a couple schools of monster Black Drum out there in the same area every spring. You have just got to get lucky to find them, and a boat with a tower really helps a lot too. Sight casting to both adult Red and Black Drum can be achieved with a bucktail/twister grub combination. They will be schooled up and in competition mode as soon as they see the presentation.

Offshore the fishing has been pretty slow lately. There have still been the typical culprits like scattered Wahoo and Blackfin, but the fishing should start to heat up very soon. Bottom fishing for Sea Bass and Triggerfish has been good lately.

If you have any interactions with a tagged fish, please report all information to the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries. It is important data for numerous tagging programs and it is used as one of our states platforms for collecting vital data for a range of priority species.

As always,
Tight Lines from Freeman's



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