By: Steve Fifer
The weather has settled down…it’s go time. Good reports are coming from all the local hotspots. From the Cape down to beach to the inlet, false albacore are here and feeding heavily. Look for schools of them crashing into baitfish and making a big fuss on the surface. Flocks of birds diving into the water give them away every time as do any shrimp boats actively trawling. Without a doubt, the best way to catch them is by casting a small metal jig about the same size as the bait they’re eating and three of the best are Don’s Glass Minnow jigs, and Sea Striker’s Jigfish and Casting jig. Also very active now are spanish mackerel and bluefish. Look for them around the inlets Barden, Beaufort, and Bogue. They’ll hit the same jigs. It is advisable to use a short bite leader of 40 or 50# mono or some of the knottable wire leader material for these toothy guys unless you enjoy buying lots of lures! This is a great time to catch big (5 pound plus) spanish by live lining finger mullet or menhaden at the nearshore AR’s like the 285, 315, 320, and 330. Don’t be surprised to catch keeper kings at the same time. Inshore, the spot run has started in Gallant’s Channel and along Town Creek. They’ll be in the Turning Basin any time, maybe right now. Two hook bottom or speck rigs baited with live bloodworm or the Fishbites version work best. All you need is little pieces of either about ½” long. The feeder creeks and marshes along the ICW starting at the Neuse River and continuing all the way to Swansboro have speckled trout in them now. Soft plastic jigs or Gulp on a jighead or a plastic shrimp under a popping cork are the baits of choice. Of course a live shrimp or finger mullet fished on a carolina rig is almost a sure bet for specks, black drum, redfish, flounder and sheepshead in the same areas. The things to look for are structure (boat docks, bridge pilings), oyster bars, and current breaks in 2 to 6 feet of water. Find any combination of these things and you’ll find fish.