Offshore – The excellent mahi-mahi bite in the 15-25 mile continues to hold strong. While it is not as red hot as this past June, we continue to do very, very well. Each day brings us between 6 and 12+ mahi-mahi of GOOD size and we’ve been landing several 15-20lb fish every single day. Typically this time of the summer is all about little bailers and chickens – this year we’re seeing all sizes, very consistently. I’ve been utilizing my out-riggers and concentrating on fast trolling ballyhoo and artificials and weeding through the very plentiful kings. Speaking of kings, we can just wack them on live-bait on the live-bottoms but most of my clients have preferred to cover water and search for the mahi…and we’ve still been landing a couple big kings just about every day.
The amberjacks are still very plentiful – with some weather, we can hit ’em hard with the long rods.
Nearshore – the big spanish mackerel have showed up on the wrecks and the little guys are thick on the beaches. The sharks are in the shallows…and we’ve been doing very well the past couple of weeks with the flounder on the wrecks and live-bottoms. Had a couple days with 8-12 keepers!
Inshore – What a pleasant surprise this year has been. Not only has the hard structure (docks and deep oyster rocks) been productive all summer with the reds, flounder – and particularly the black drum and sheepshead. But I have been doing very well with the red drum and some big speckled trout in shallows and flats. Part of this we can attribute to our fishery, another part to a great ruling by the NCDMF as forced upon the state by NOAA scientists that is more severely restricting gill nets in southeastern, NC. The gill netters kill so many sea turtles (and NEVER report any) that the federal regulators laid down the law – not only will the turtles, birds and mammals benefit…but so will our inshore fish.
The red drum bite has been STRONG the past couple of weeks – I’ve been concentrating mostly on topwaters and popping corks with artificials under them…and we’ve been whacking a nice trout or two just about everyday with an average of 8-10 drum per trip in the shallows. Throw in a little dock fishing and you can double that number on a good day and include more flounder.
The sheepshead and black drum bite around the docks and bridges also remains STRONG – throw all this stuff together and you have an excellent inshore mixed bag.
A few reports…Starting with the latest.
7/18 – Interesting day. I had planned to fish nearshore or offshore with John, John and Charlie but with the terrible forcast they opted to fish in the backwaters instead of cancel/reschedule. The tide was a bit poor today, falling very quickly and leaving us with very little water to fish. We hit some of the flats/shorelines early getting several bites and landing a couple nice slot drum on corks.
With the tide dropping, I decided to hit some deep hard structure and docks. Simple put – we wacked them, wacked them again and wacked them some more. We found several schools of drum holding deep and the bite was wide open. Every fish but 2 or 3 were in the slot and I lost count of how many we caught – easily upwards of 30. Charlie also got a tagged fish – I don’t see very many down this way!
Half-day of fishing – 30+ slot drum and a bonus 17″ flounder? Doesn’t get much better than that.
A few pictures from their trip…didn’t take a lot of pics today, just too busy catchin’ these cookie-cutter slot fish.
7/17 – Today NOAA said it was supposed to blow between 15 and 25 in the morning. I woke up and it was sunny and slick. …and it stayed that way until after lunch time. I took Dick and Jim out to look for some flounder and big spanish on the nearshore wrecks.
We wore out the flounder – putting 11 keepers in the boat, losing several more to cudas and a good number of undersize fish – the two biggest were right at 22″ and 4.5lbs. As hot as the flounder bite was, we didn’t spend much time looking for the big spaniards. My problem was that the finger mullet I found that morning were small – I had a half-dozen in the 4-5″ range and that was what they wanted. Each big mullet didn’t last 2 minutes and we managed to land 2 spanish right at 4lbs. Even got in before it started blowing – awesome day y’all!
Ed and the Ryans – these long islanders just wanted to have some fun in the afternoon and get some tight lines. I asked them if jigging for flounder was something they might enjoy. One of their favorite things to do at home – these guys could get it done, period. Being that the NY flounder size limit is currently 21.5″s they were excited to find a few keepers.
They wore them out – boating over 20 fish releasing about 5-7 keepers (can’t remember) between 15 and 18.5″s. They kept four of the nicer ones with Ed landing the biggest – 4.5lbs and 22″.
Ed’s 22″ fish!
Recent offshore reports….
Scott and Aaron did very well today with a pretty solid mixed bag – several nice mahi, a 17lb king, and some cudas, false albacore and AJs to round out the day. Always a pleasure to see you Scott!
Richard, his son Reed and their friend Tim…we all had an awesome time today. Not only did we really have a lot of fun together, but we caught so awesome fish. Reed is an absolute fishin’ fool and I had him clearing lines and mating for me by lunch time – and he went strong all day.
We caught a few kings early before switching over to the dolphin game and we started getting bit pretty quick – we boated about 12 today with several really nice gaffers in the 15-20lb range (not bad for 20 miles out in July!).
Our two highlights:
1)While I was clearing a line, Reed decided to play a trick on me by pulling back the drag and letting some line out with the clicker screaming. As soon as he did that – a big cow slammed the bait. We had him repeat the trick all day.
2)Richard landed the fish of the day – a really nice bull. What made it special was, in the slick calm conditions, we saw him streak into the spread, full speed, from probably 100 yds away – he just CRUSHED the ‘hoo a that point!
I had a couple of my favorite faces around today – good ol’ Brant and his son Jim (and they brought a new friend – Trey with them). While it was not a bad day, it was definitely a bit slower. We started off hot hooking two really nice gaffers (breaking 1 off) as I let out the first baits. After that we picked away at them all day – a fish here, a fish there, a short strike here. We managed a decent number of bites and boated several nice mahi and a decent king mackerel. While the wind was calm, as soon it swung east the fish stopped chewing – UGH, I hate east wind!
Jim had the fish of the day – a bull mahi that slammed our short bait behind the teaser, screamed drag off of the TLD-15 like only a king usually does…and put up a pretty awesome fight.
Always great to see y’all!
More backwater reports…
Like I said above – the reds have been strong in the shallows and around the docks. We’ve also caught a few really nice trout this past week – including a 25″ fish!
Angela and Wayne came down to fish with me again – it was blowing a little bit by the mid-afternoon but we managed to easily stay out of the wind. We started off around the docks catching a few drum and several flounder (all undersized with most around 14″). As the tide rose – we went shallow and tossed popping corks to the banks. The bite was on and very steady – while Ang was hot at the docks, Wayne did very well. We landed about 8+ fish in the slot and Wayne got a bonus 3lb speck!
The weather was gorgeous, cool and partly cloudy, when I had Ben and Charlie on board. It was a somewhat eventful day…for being rather slow. However, sometimes you need to measure your day by the quality of your catch. We had several good strikes on topwater and on the corks, but Ben had the hot hand – first he landed a 25″ citation speck on a halo shrimp under a popping cork in 12″ of water…and then followed up with a 27″ beast of a drum. Awesome!
Sue and Rich had a great time today – beautiful weather and a really good mixed bag. We started way back in the marsh, tossing corks and topwaters to the bank. While the drum would wake and barely roll on the plugs, they would jump on a cork or a spinnerbait. We had probably a dozen strikes first thing (and lost a BIG trout right at the gunnel), but we just couldn’t seem to stay connected. However, Rich figured it out and landed several before we switched gears.
While Rich was hot on the flats, Sue was red hot under the docks – she started off with several reds and a couple flounder before we went looking for some sheepshead and black drum. There were plenty of crab-eaters around today, and while we fed them a lot of crabs, Sue and Rich both managed a few nice black drum and a couple 3lb sheepshead among a bunch of smaller ones. Sue did have a hause of a sheepie on – but he managed to wrap up in a piling! We’ll get him next time!
Jeff and Donna had a good day – Donna started off doing the worst thing you can possibly do…catch a slot drum on her first cast. That’s usually bad luck. Well, she did pretty good – giving all her bad luck to her husband. She caught several more reds and several undersized flounder while Jeff hooked, and subsequently broke off, a huge doormat of a flounder.
In the marsh it was decent – not red hot but steady – we picked away at them – losing several well-hooked fish before landing a couple in short succession. But when Jeff got some luck, he held on and finished the day with a 3.5lb speck!
Andrew and Ben had a pretty fun day – we started off with a couple reds under the docks (1 picture and my camera battery was dead – ugh). We then moved on to the sheepshead and found them chewing like crazy…and by chewing, I mean stealing our baits. It took these two a little while to figure them out but we ended up landing a bunch of little guys, several in the 2-3lb range and 1 really nice 7lb’r. We finished the day casting to some big schools of spanish the inlet – keeping about 10 or so. Good job y’all!
Only pic of the day…
I had a day off, was in a bad mood – and my good buddy Capt. Gordon called me and we decided to take his boy, Will, sheepshead fishing. It put me in an instant good mood. Plus we caught a good number of the crab-eaters. Lots of small fish in the 1-3lb range, we broke off several bigguns with Gordo catching the biggest one of the day – a 6lb’r. We finished the day putting will on a good little school of black drum in the 3-4lb range – with the goofball catching the two pictured.