Inshore anglers continue to haul in good numbers of speckled trout, sea mullet, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, and early flounder. Near-shore anglers are reporting plenty of bluefish, Spanish mackerel, sea mullet, as well as some rather large king mackerel. Deep-sea expeditions have been returning loaded with mahi mahi, blackfin tuna, yellowfin tuna, snappers of all varieties, and quite a few swordfish that were caught and released. Contact: Oregon Inlet Fishing Center 252-441-6301, www.oregon-inlet.com.
Fishing has finally picked up, but main bite is still coming from bluefish right off the surf. The bluefish are accompanied by a few small Spanish mackerel, red drum, small pompano, and a few puppy drum that have made their way back to the area. On the sound-side, the local speckled trout population has come alive, as have the bluefish and puppy drum. Contact: Red Drum Tackle 252-995-5414, www.hatteras-island.com; offshore news, Oden’s Dock 252-986-2555, www.odensdock.com; or www.hatterasharbor.com.
Cape Lookout/Bogue Inlet
Shore and pier anglers are catching large Spanish mackerel, good-sized bluefish, flounder, and sea mullet, which have finally finished their trip from the sound to the sea. Pier anglers have also been reporting early catches of tarpon and a few false albacore. The backwater fishing has finally settled into the seasonal routine, yielding large catches of red drum and trout. Offshore trips have featured catches of Spanish mackerel and snapper, but the king mackerel and cobia bite is starting to come to life. Contact: EJW Outdoors 252-247-4725; Portside Marina 252-726-7678; www.ncoif.com.
Pier and Surf anglers continue to haul in a large number of bluefish and flounder grouped with average catches of red drum, black drum, king mackerel and the occasional false albacore.The sound-side anglers are continuing to catch their fair share of red drum and speckled trout. Boats that have gone offshore have been returning with average catches of king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, grouper, and sea bass. Those that have made it to the gulf stream have been bringing back some large mahi and wahoo to spice up their regular catch as well. Contact: East Coast Discount Tackle 910-328-1887, www.eastcoastsports.com.
Wilmington/ Wrightsville Beach
Backwater fishing is still more red and black drum and less speckled trout. Surf and pier anglers continue to haul in bluefish, Spanish mackerel, red drum, sea mullet and flounder and false albacore and tarpon have been slowly returning to the area. Offshore trips are still consistently returning with snapper, grouper, and Spanish mackerel, and those venturing to the Gulf Stream have been rewarded with big hauls of sea bass, snapper, blackfin tuna and a surprise catch of wahoo. Contact: Tex’s Tackle 910-791-1763, www.texstackle.com.
Many boats continue to return with above average catches of black bass, silver and gray snapper, bluefish, Spanish mackerel and a king mackerel. Shore-side anglers continue to report strong bluefish bites accompanied by the seasonal Spanish mackerel, sea mullet, and false albacore. Anglers are still reporting a good amount of flounder and red and black drum up around the legs of the pier and all down the surf. Contact: Dutchman Creek Bait & Tackle 910-457-1221; www.yeahrightcharters.com; or www.oifishingcenter.com.
Bass are still slow with just a few bites on soft plastics in shallow waters. The crappie are about 8 to 12 feet deep, and are biting on minnows near the brush piles. Catfish continue to bite steadily in the deeper waters on night-crawlers and cut bait. Water level: normal 251.5, Wednesday 251.9, full pool 264.8. Contact Outhouse Tackle Company 919-847-1222.; www.outhousetackle.com.
No Report Given. Water level: normal 216, Wednesday 217.2, full pool 240. Contact: Wilsonville General Store 919-362-7101; Crosswinds Marina 919-387-7011.
Bass fishing is still pretty slow, but the majority of the bites have been on the topwater on soft plastics. The crappie have gotten more active around the brush piles and are biting on live minnows and even the occasional worm in anywhere from 12 to 20 feet of water. Catfish remain in the depths and are biting on dip bait and night-crawlers. Water level: normal 300, Wednesday 300.6, full pool 320. Contact: Bobcat’s Bait & Tackle 434-374-8381; www.kerrlake.com.
Shearon Harris Lake
The crappie fishing remains strong all around the lake. Most of the fish have been hauled up near the brush piles and in shady areas. The bass fishing is still on the slow side, but a few have been caught on the topwater using soft plastics. Catfish can also be found in the deeper waters around the lake, but the bite has been slow, with just a few fish getting hauled up caught late at night on cut-bait. Contact: The Tackle Box 919-557-8255; www.wmi.org.
(For water levels go to http://epec.saw.usace.army.mil/)