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Flounder are biting in many areas

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By Capt. Jacob Frick

The average water temperature in our area is holding in the lower 70s and that has triggered a good flounder bite. Shallow areas like Tubbs Inlet and Dunn Sound, S.C., and Hogg Inlet S.C., have all produced numbers of small flounder the last few weeks. As the water temperature has continued rise and is holding around 70 degrees even in our surf zones, deeper areas have started to show signs of life. Places like the Little River (S.C.) jetties, Shallotte Inlet and Lockwood Folly have all seen more flounder this week with solid keepers in the mix.

Many anglers use a drifting or trolling technique this time of year as the flounder are typically more spread out. Even with the warmer water temperatures, bait has been tough to find. Most of our local tackle shops sell live mud minnows and those little rascals will catch flounder. However, many of the more seasoned anglers desperately will be looking for the large schools of peanut menhaden to show up in our waterways. I have talked to a few guides around the Oak Island area and good schools of menhaden have shown themselves on the surface near the wildlife ramp area. That is a long run from the Ocean Isle Beach area just to get good bait. I have noticed several scattered flips just outside of the Holden Beach canals the last few days but have not been patient enough to get a net full of menhaden in that area yet. I have marked large balls of bait in the usual places in front of the Ocean Isle Marina area but have not seen bait come to the surface yet. I expect by the time this column actually makes it too your eyes the menhaden in our area will be flipping and that will be the choice bait for most flounder anglers.

The weather is holding true to a typical spring pattern with unstable conditions. A chance of showers is predicted each day this week. Don’t let a 30-minute chance of rain keep you off the water all day. If you are coming down this weekend, call your favorite guide and get hooked up.

The speckled trout bite has been good in our area as well but should get a bit more challenging as water temperatures continue to rise. We have been catching a few on soft plastics, which I think is a blast. We have been picking up a few flounder and plenty of bluefish by throwing chartreuse-colored soft plastics as well. The Spanish mackerel should be somewhere really close to our beachfront now with all the bluefish action we have been experiencing. The Gulf Stream action has been so hot that most of the offshore fleet has not been looking for the Spanish. The winds and wave action have been too much for smaller bay boats to go looking, but I am gone with the first window of opportunity. The Cape Fear area around Yaupon reef will be the target area and we have heard of some action happening in that area already, but nothing hot enough to make that run yet. One 40-pound king mackerel was caught in that area a few days ago while anglers were searching for Spanish, and a few big drum are hanging around the reef. It should be any day now that the full alarm will sound and the bite will be on fire in that area. Again, it most likely will be this weekend once the weather stabilizes for a few days.

May can be one of the best times to visit our beaches and go fishing. The Gulf Stream fishing has been on fire. The water is not busy with joy riders and jet skiers yet. The hotel rates have not peaked and almost everything is open for the season. There are many fishing opportunities in the backwater with flounder biting well, speckled trout hanging around and possibly a nice redfish to stretch the line. Even on calm days, the search for Spanish mackerel and the possibility of catching a shark can keep children entertained for hours. Come on down and join us this month before it gets too hot and crowded.

See ya on the water!

Capt. Jacob Frick, who has 10 years of knowledge and experience in guiding family, friends, and clients in the backwater surrounding Ocean Isle Beach, is a fishing columnist for the Beacon. Reach him at (803) 315-3310 or thickfrick@hotmail.comfor additional information or questions about his columns.