- Special Sections
- Public Notices
After a tremendous start to the spring fishing season, the inshore action slowed down a little bit over the last few weeks, but there are still plenty of fish being caught. Things are likely to pick up for a big burst in late April and May before the summer heat slows things down again in June.
Inshore redfish continue to feed but the schools are a bit more dispersed and finding them is not as easy. Also, pinfish and small bluefish have entered the equation, so fishing bait is more of a problem.
If you can get out to the jetties or find a redfish school cruising the inshore flats, then halved soft shelled blue crabs or fresh cut mullet are good baits—provided the baitstealers aren’t around. If they are, then scented imitation crabs from companies like Gulp and Strike King are good alternative, as are imitation Gulp, Billy Bay and DOA shrimp.
You can also hunt for redfish around docks and creek mouths. Some red drum have also been caught by surf fishermen out early in the morning usually using cut mullet or other fresh bait (fresh cut bluefish is good). With water temperatures rising, they are going to be hitting best at morning or after dark and feeding only when the tide is really moving.
Another fish running the tide are the speckled trout, who are feeding on shrimp and baitfish schools when the current gets really busy. Good trout lures are the imitation shrimp and Fishbites, Gulp or Bass Assassin jerkbaits and paddle tail lures.
I’ve been using some of Deep Creek Lures pogie paddle tail grubs and having success on the trout when the tide is moving. Specks are hit and miss at the usual spots: bridges, points, creeks and the jetties. Don’t fish one spot too long: the trout are either there or they’re not.
Black drum are around structure and a few can be caught during the day, but serious black drum fishing is taking place at night, when the baitstealers are less active. Fish right around the pilings or rocks and use cut shrimp or crab.
A lot of folks are drifting and casting for flounder and having mixed results. The flounder seem to be hitting best on a falling tide with mud minnows being the primary bait.
If you can catch some small pinfish by cast net or hook, then they make a great bait to toss around bridge pilings or docks for flounder a bit larger than the drifters and trollers are catching. Remember, for flounder simple rigs are the best and don’t use wire leaders. Keep your rod in your hand and keep your bait moving a bit
The piers are still having some outstanding periods of sea mullet (whiting) action mixed in with stretches where only the little ones are biting. The best time to catch the larger sea mullet is the last few hours of a rising tide and on any tide at night. Use the freshest shrimp you can get on small number 4 or 6 hooks with 2-ounce weights.
Most sea mullet will be just behind the breakers but local pier vets also know that there are some nice whiting holes at the far ends of our piers. They shift and move a bit. If you can get into the right spot as the tide is coming in, you can quickly catch a cooler full of nice sea mullet. I fried a bunch of them up for the family recently and they are absolutely one of the best tasting fish in the sea.
Some folks have started throwing Gotcha plugs for bluefish off the piers with some off-and-on success, and with the early warm water temperatures a few early Spanish mackerel have been caught as well. That action should heat up as we move toward May. There are also some flounder and blowfish off the piers and plenty of sharks and rays prowling the water.
Jeffrey Weeks, author of “Surf and Saltwater Fishing in the Carolinas,” is a fishing columnist for the Beacon. You may reach him at email@example.com or follow updated fishing reports at www.saltyweeks.com