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I just returned from two days of fishing on the Ocean Crest Pier in Oak Island, and the action was very steady.
The best action was on the bottom, as the wind pushed cloudy water into the pier area (on clear water days, there is solid plug action on the blues and Spanish, but I missed most of that). At the end of two days I had half a cooler full of pan-sized whiting (sea mullet) along with some croaker and spot. Surprisingly, the bait of choice for the whiting and croaker wasn’t cut shrimp but cut grass shad. I caught all the grass shad I wanted by the pilings on my gold hook rig and the whiting hit the cut bait better than the shrimp. The four or five spot I got came on Fishbites bloodworms.
I plugged away at the bluefish and Spanish mackerel along with the king fishermen, who were casting for bait. The cloudy water didn’t yield much though, as I got just two keeper Spanish and two nice blues. I also caught two undersized cobia, the first cobia I ever remember catching, and they went back in the water quickly.
No kings were decked while I was there, but the king anglers landed several 10-pound class chopper bluefish and a couple of nice sharks. Jeremy Thompson of Leland caught a nice lemon shark. The big rays came through and broke everybody off a couple of times.
I got to meet the new pier manager, Vance Courson, who is friendly and helpful. As far as the anglers are concerned, fishing the deep end of the pier you couldn’t have asked for a better crowd and we really had fun even when the fish weren’t biting.
As for the rest of the fishing report, the other piers are all reporting decent whiting action and Spanish and blues off and on. Inshore, the best action is on flounder and redfish.
Flounder are being caught in the inlets by boats trolling or drifting live bait. Big flounder can also be targeted by anchoring up and fishing the pilings of the bridges and docks. Some flounder are being landed around the pilings of the piers.
The redfish bite has been off and on, with a nice bite on high tide up in the flooded grass. Live finger mullet or pogies and scented Gulp jerk baits have been working well.
Pier anglers and the occasional surf fishermen are still catching large 6- to 10-pound class chopper bluefish on occasion. The best baits for them are whole live fish, such as snapper bluefish or grass shad or big chunks of cut bait.