By: Steve Fifer
The fishing around town has been a little slow recently but you can always find something biting. King mackerel and amberjacks are found around the nearshore wrecks and live bottoms especially on the east side. Slow trolling a live menhaden or a frozen cigar minnow on a dead bait rig is the traditional method. The spanish and bluefish can still be found along the beaches from the Cape down to Bogue Inlet. Trolling Clarkspoons behind a small #1 planer is the most often used technique but don’t neglect using a bird teaser right on the surface. The shoals just off Shark Island at the Cape still have a blues, spanish, and albacore chasing schools of glass minnows. Cast a lure the same size as the bait and reel it in as fast as you can; those fish are always faster. Don’s Glass Minnow Jigs, the smallest size Stingsilver they make, and Sea Striker’s Jigfish all closely resemble the baitfish. The nearshore AR’s (285, 315, 320, and 330) still hold flounder. It’s hard to beat a 2-ounce bucktail with a 4” Gulp shrimp trailer drifted right on the bottom. There are 3 very important elements to this type of fishing: 1) Fish as vertically as you can, 2) Don’t jig the lure too far off the bottom (6 to 10” bounces work fine), and 3) Give the flounder a few seconds to ingest the bait. Don’t set the hook when you feel the thump. Wait until you feel some solid resistance then set the hook. Hard. Inshore, you can find redfish, flounder, and speckled trout all in the same general areas but in slightly different places. The mouths of little feeder creeks are good spots for flounder, while boat docks, bulkheads, and oyster bars are good places to find reds and specks. The best bite is on a moving tide with the 2 hours on either side of high or low tides being ideal. Live bait such as shrimp, mullet, or mud minnows on a jighead, carolina rig, or under a popping cork will almost always draw bites. For artificials, try a DOA, Betts, Storm, or Vudu shrimp under a popping cork or a soft plastic swimbait, grub, or jerkbait on a jighead. Remember to use only enough weight just to get the bait to the bottom; too heavy a jighead will ruin the action.