Archive for the ‘Fishing Reports’ Category

Spring Fishing Report for April 2022

Spring Fishing Report

Better late than never!  The fishing has been pretty dang good this spring so far for both inshore and nearshore and should continue to heat up as we move along into the warmer water temps. To get us all ready for the upcoming spring season, keep reading for our Coastal Carolina 2022 Spring Fishing Report.

Inshore

There have been some really nice-sized schools of red drum that are always a blast to target as always.  For the schooled-up reds, depending on how spooky they are I like to throw things like a neg rig with a creature bait (when spooky) and when they are fired up you can sometimes get away with a top water lure.  Either way, it’s always a good idea to try and get an idea of how those fish are reacting to baits and the boat and then choose your bait accordingly.

Flounder seem to be starting to show up in good numbers, especially in the cape fear river.  I was poling a bank the other day and must have spooked around 50 flat fish and caught a handful when we switched to a spinner bait instead of throwing top waters for redfish.  For flatties in the marsh, I absolutely love a spinner bait or a good size jerk shad (6 inch usually) on a jig head.

Sheepshead should also be starting to show up in the backwaters on bridges and docks but are most likely still in their transition stage from the ocean to the backwater.  Look for this bite to turn on much more come the summer months.

Nearshore

Well, the Atlantic Bonito showed up about right on time and seem to still be lingering around.  If you have not had a chance to get out there and get some sushi might be a good time as they usually don’t stay around too long!  I like to look for these fish, either busting on the surface or looking for marks on my Garmin on structure typically.  My favorite baits for these are metal jigs in varying sizes.  If they are on the bottom, something slightly heavier like a Sting Silver works great.

Sheepshead should be on some of that nearshore structure this time of year if you are willing to go out and find some crabs to drop to them.  I have recently gone looking for mud crabs in the oysters and they are starting to get much easier to find as the weather starts to warm.  I like to use bottom sweeper jigs and 432 jigs when I have live crabs to pin them to.

Spanish Mackerel seem to be showing up in strong numbers nearshore and if you can get out there early enough, you just might get them while they are all over the surface busting baits.  I generally like the same sort of jigs I use for the Atlantic Bonito on the Spanish this time of year, anything that resembles the little glass minnows that are munching on.  If you are not able to cast to them trolling a #1, #2 planer and some weighted top lines should get you some bites when trolling lures like Clark spoons.

I have not heard of any cobia starting to pop their heads in but it really should be starting anytime now so if you’re out there I would always have a rod rigged with a DOA bait buster or a bucktail ready to rock n roll in case you get the opportunity.  Nothing is worse than seeing one and not being prepared to cast to it.

Winter Fishing Report for the New Year 2022

Although it has not quite felt like winter until just recently, the winter fishing patterns have started to begin… finally.  Large changes in water temperature can make it a bit tough on an angler, but this is a challenge gladly accepted and will overall attribute to you becoming a better fisherman if you can figure it out and roll with the punches.  Here are some of my favorite inshore species and one nearshore species for this time of year to go out there and target.

Red Drum

The red drum should really be starting to begin getting into their winter schools.  They have been slightly hard to pattern recently, I think due to the large variations in water temperature this year.  There will be a school in the marsh one day and then they are gone the next.  This is not typically the case with winter schools, as they generally will hang around the same spot for a couple of months unless they are heavily pressured or there are large variations in temperature and weather.  Hopefully, they will begin to be a bit more consistent on their locations and where they want to be located for winter.  This time of year is also good for checking out boat basins for schools as well as right along the beach on the oceanside when the weather allows.

For red fish (in the marsh) during winter, here are a handful of my favorites to throw at them.

-Z man ShroomZ jig heads paired with an assortment of Zman Creaturez soft plastics

-Eye strike jig heads paired with an assortment of soft plastics that include jerk shads, paddle tails and gulp.

-Occasionally if the fish are slightly higher in the water column and seem to be very happy a Mirrolure MR17 can do the trick.

-Live or Cut shrimp on a slip float.

Winter is one of my favorite times to fish for redfish on the fly since the water is usually very clear and the large schools can make it fairly easy to get a fly in front of a fish.  As far as flies are concerned, I generally try to think about what they are eating this time of year when choosing a fly so patterns that resemble crustaceans and small bait like mud minnows.

Speckled trout

Although they will not be as easy to catch, as they are in the Fall, there are still quite a few speckled trout around you just have to know where to look and get on them when they are willing to eat.  Trout in the winter can be notorious for being locked jawed, but if you get a warm day in the winter and know where to find them your odds greatly increase.  That is not to say they will not eat when it’s cold out, but from what I have experienced on cold days in the winter I have had a hard time catching them.  This time of year the Trout that are still around have most likely fallen out of the channels around inlets and pushed deeper into creeks.  They like to find deeper holes in the marsh to hang in that are still deep holes at a low tide.  The second place to try for trout in the dead of winter is boat basins.

For Trout this time of year here are a handful of my favorites.

-Eye strike jig head paired with an assortment of Zman soft plastic paddle tails

-Eye strike Jig head paired with an assortment of Zman Trout Tricks

-Mirrolure Heavydine In various colors

Sheepshead

If you have the ability to push off the beach a bit and hit some nearshore structure, this is a great time of year to hone your skills on the convict fish.  In general the sheepshead that were inshore on bridges etc. have pushed out further to find more consistent water temperatures in the ocean.  This is a great species to target in the winter on any nearshore structure, jetties or artificial reefs and not to mention you might get lucky and catch one of the best table fare fish around in winter, the Tautog.  You would fish for sheepshead the same way you would fish for Tautog so there is always a chance of catching one of these.  In my mind there is really only a couple of ways to fish for these fish this time of year.  Below are some recommendations.

-Bottom Sweeper Jig Head (various weights depending on depth and current) pinned with a live mud crab or cut blue crab.

-43:2 Fishing Jaw Breakers (various weights depending on depth and current) pinned with a live mud crab or cut blue crab.

 

Good luck out there!

 

Links to Products

http://432fishing.com

https://bottomsweeperjigs.com/

https://www.zmanfishing.com/cms/index.php

https://eyestrikefishing.com/store/#!/Eye-Strike-Jig-Heads-Retail-Bulk-&-Sampler-Packs/c/12575438

https://www.shopmirrolure.com/

Fishing in Wilmington NC in winter

Coastal North Carolina Fall Fishing Report

Coastal North Carolina Fall Fishing Report

Fall Fishing Report for Wilmington, NC

Thankfully, the weather in Coastal North Carolina is starting to slightly cool off, especially in the evenings. These crisp days have us at Blackbird Guide Services dreaming about wearing pants and a sweatshirt on the boat. To get us all ready for the upcoming autumn season, keep reading for our Coastal Carolina Fall Fishing Report.

Targeted Fall Species

This is my favorite time of year, not just because of the moderate weather but also because of the migratory fish that start to push into the Wilmington area. Fall gives the inshore and nearshore angler a lot of different options. These options include targeting species such as:

  • False albacore
  • Speckled trout
  • Red drum
  • Bull reds
  • Spanish mackerel

For this report, we will break it down by the species I have focused on mostly in years past to try and give as much guidance as possible.

Trout Fishing

As of October 5th, 2021, trout fishing has just started to begin. By that, I mean the migratory trout, to my knowledge, have not quite made their way down to us yet.

Still, I do believe that these slightly cooler temperatures have turned those residential trout from being lock-jawed over summer to more likely to eat bait when it floats past their strike zone. For the early-season trout, I have always found the most luck fishing the same spots where I had success in the early summer. Targeting those same spots when there is some decent current in the early morning or late in the afternoon will be your best bet.

If those spots don’t end up working for you, I would start to target areas around inlets as the mullet run is in full swing. With all those big schools of bait getting washed out in the ocean, it’s always a good bet that predatory fish will be close. Not to mention that when the migratory trout do show up, it’s generally in the inlet areas, and it’s always nice to get on them early before everyone starts to find out.

As far as lures are concerned, a few of my favorites include:

False Albacore Fishing

False Albacore [Albies] have just started to show up and should continue to get better and better as the ocean temperatures cool. If you are looking for a drag screaming fish on light tackle, this is what you want to go target.

There is not much science to Albie fishing, which can be refreshing as they are thick here; and are generally easy to find. I generally focus my efforts on inlets for these fish when the bait is getting pushed in and out with the tides. This is most likely where the fish are going and will want to hang out.

If they are not around the inlets, it’s a good idea to start to push off the beach a couple more miles to see if they are somewhere a bit further off. The main clues to look for when fishing for Albies are birds diving or hovering over the water and Albies busting above the surface.

I try my best to approach these fish without spooking them. Keep in mind that a change in motor pitch can send them down, so the slower you can approach them (within reason), the better; if they are thick drifting with the motor off is the way to go. If you are spin fishing, the jigs are slim and sometimes heavy, which means you can throw them a country mile, so there is no need to run right into them.

This is never a wrong time of year if you are out Albie fishing, and it’s going slow to run right up on the beach to see if there are any big schools of reds right in the breakers. There will still be plenty of fish in the marsh, but they are not entirely locked into a spot like they do in the winter.

That is not to say you can’t find a solid school in the marsh right now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were there one day and gone the next. It is still productive to fish for them how many of us do in the summertime, throwing top waters over oyster beds, grass points, and scalloped out areas in the marsh.

Albies are a great fish to target on the fly if you are itching to give your fly rod a proper workout. For Albies, my favorite spinning rod lures include the Hogy Epoxy Jigs, Albie Snax, and Clarkspoon Stick Jig. For flies, I am generally going to throw Clousers and Surf Candy Flys.

Red Drum Fishing

I will finally touch on Red Drum. Luckily Red Drum are around all year, but their habits, movements, and places they want to be can change drastically. This time of year, they can be tricky to nail down, and I think there are various reasons for that. I believe some redfish will follow those bait schools out into the main waterway, the inlets, and even the ocean during the mullet run.

Fishing live mullet on Carolina rigs and under floats is always productive, although the bait might become harder and harder to find as the mullet make their way into the ocean and head south. Also, using soft plastics like Zman paddle tails to power fish your way through areas to try and find where they want to hang out that day.

Lastly, if they have not already, big Bull Reds should start to make an appearance around the inlets and nearshore structure. I have only ever used cut bait and live bait for these fish, as generally, that is the most productive way to get your hands on one.

That said, there is the rare opportunity to sight fish one as well. I have only experienced this a couple of times in my life but if you are heading out fishing, try to never leave the dock without at least one rod rigged up to sight fish a bull red.

If you are fortunate, you may run into a school of bulls on the surface or busting bait, and it always pays off to be prepared for that if it happens. For this, I would typically have a bucktail jig on a heavier rod. The fishing in coastal Wilmington North Carolina has been amazing this summer and should continue well into fall. If you would like to have a superior fishing experience out on the water, check out our fishing charters for the Wilmington, NC area.

I hope some of this information helps and you enjoyed reading our Coastal North Carolina Fall Fishing Report. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us anytime. We’d love to take you out on the water to catch the species in this report!