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Although rising temperatures continue to heat up the water, the fish are still in somewhat of a spring mode and inshore action is still solid.
Inshore, the flounder bite remains strong. Fishing is good in Tubbs Inlet and the Shallotte and Lockwood Folly rivers. Flounder are biting best on the rising tides and hitting along drop-offs as well as around structures like bridges, seawalls and docks.
The ratio of keeper flounder (with the new 15-inch size limit) can vary day to day but is usually around 50 percent. Live mud minnows, finger mullet or peanut pogies will take plenty of flounder cast or drifted.
The small killifish, called tiger-side minnows, are great for flounder and last a long time on the hook if you catch some in your cast net. Live shrimp are equally effective bait if the bait-stealers like pinfish don’t eat them first. Speaking of pinfish, small ones are also great flounder bait.
Scented soft baits like Gulp lures or Bass Assassin grubs are also taking plenty of flounder and sometimes work better when targeting the larger ones.
Remember to set the bait quickly on artificial lures versus letting flounder take awhile when fishing live bait. If you miss a flounder bite, just drop the bait back into place as flounder often hit a second or even a third time.
Redfish continue to bite in the shallow areas toward the backs of creeks, as well as roaming the inlets themselves. Live minnows, Gulp baits and chunks of mullet or cut crabs will catch the red drum.
Black drum can be found now around any inshore structures biting shrimp or crab. Sheepshead frequent the same areas but are harder to catch, and anglers targeting them often use fiddler crabs.
Spanish mackerel are still feeding off the beaches, and anglers are catching good numbers while trolling spoons. Bluefish are mixed in with the Spanish.
Pier anglers are still doing well some days on tide-running sea mullet (whiting) who hit best when the current is really moving. Flounder fishermen are doing best in the mornings with live minnows or shrimp. Bluefish can be caught on cut bait on the bottom or by Gotcha plugs, and Spanish mackerel are coming through occasionally.
Surf anglers are taking some sea mullet, small spot and bluefish. Both the surf and the piers have plenty of sharks and rays, which hit any natural bait.
The fishing should remain good for a little bit longer before the hot days of summer slow it down a bit.