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By Barrett McMullan
Special to The Beacon
Overall, fishing this past week remained great—tricky, but great.
Daily thunderstorms that seemed to appear in the blink of an eye kept fishermen on their toes as they bobbed and weaved from spot to spot trying to stay dry and keep catching.
Between the dynamic weather conditions, inshore, near shore and offshore, fishermen found plenty of action from a variety of species.
On the inshore grounds, the redfish bite continues. This has been one of the best redfish seasons in recent memory as anglers are catching plenty of slot size (18-27 inches) redfish on live baits such as small pogies, mullet minnows and mud minnows.
The most productive areas to target redfish has been the Little River jetties, docks along the Intracoastal Waterway and oyster bars in creek mouths.
The flounder fishing has also been good on the inshore waters this week. Flounder can be found almost anywhere but anglers targeting flounder where mud bottom meets the sea grass are finding the best numbers of fish. Other spots to check include creek mouths and deep holes in the creeks. Mullet and mud minnows are the bait of choice.
Near shore, the big story remains flounder on the artificial reefs. The Jolly Mon reef, Yaupon reef and Caudle reef are all inside of 40 feet of water just a couple miles off the beach and are loaded with flounder. Live minnows are the best baits for the flounder on the reefs but take plenty of bait because there will be nonstop action from flounder, sea bass and other bottom dwelling critters. Also having plenty of tackle is a good idea as fishing around the artificial structures tends to cost a lot of tackle. Anchoring over the structure and fishing a minnow on a Carolina rig is the preferred technique. Besides the near-shore flounder bite, the Spanish mackerel are still holding in 30 feet of water around the pogy schools.
Keep fingers crossed and knock on wood: the king mackerel are still here. This year has been like its supposed to be in the king mackerel world. The fish are holding in 65 feet with the big schools of cigar minnows at spots like the shark hole, 65-foot hole and jungle. If the weather stays really calm for a couple days in a row, they move inshore to the 390/390 and Christina’s ledge. Putting on my forecaster’s hat and if things are to continue as they did in past years, over the next month we will get some type of an effect from a tropical storm. It may be just a big swell from a storm that stays far offshore. This will be enough to dirty the water and the kings will head offshore to 100 feet. This hasn’t happened yet and, hopefully, it won’t, but it has been a pattern in past years and could happen in the coming month this year. My long-range fish forecaster then goes on to state the kings will hold in 100 feet and as the water clears the next big move will be to the beach in time for the bait migration and cooling temperatures. Now, hopefully, the fish will read the playbook.
Once again this week I can report overall the fishing is very good and you don’t have to go far to have success. Our staff and captains at the Ocean Isle Fishing Center are on the water nearly every day, so don’t hesitate to stop in and say hello and we’ll do our best to give you the latest on the water report of where they’re biting and what you’ll need to catch ’em.