Fishing spotty, but Spanish bite still good
Let me check the calendar, barely mid-June, so why do the fish think we are in the summer doldrums?
Surf and sound temperatures are moderate, normal for mid-June, so where are the fish? That being said, I’ll give the good news first. The offshore dolphin and wahoo bites are still excellent, and the bite has moved closer and closer to the beach, with catches as close as 15 miles from the beach.
Want a fight on your hands? Amberjacks, or reef donkeys, are just a few miles out to sea at areas like the Hutton and 13-Buoy. Want another fight on your hands? Sharks are everywhere and they are not quitters. Many of the sharks are around the wrecks and reefs, or you can drop a line around any of the menhaden bait balls. In those bait balls you can also find red drum and still some cobia, but the cobia bite is winding down and moving north.
The Spanish mackerel continue to bite inshore in 25 to 40 feet of water, but the big fish are still concentrated around the Cape Lookout Shoals.
And of course there are bluefish in the mix too. Not in the mix are king mackerel, neither along the beach nor on our ocean fishing piers, both here on Bogue Banks or down at
Nearshore the flounder are still abundant, with a mix of summer and Gulf flounder on any of the reefs, wrecks and rock ledges. Some of the popular locations are the artificial reefs, like AR 315, 320, 330, 342 and 345, as well as the rock ledges like Keypost, Station, Lost Rock and Southeast Bottoms.
Live bait or bucktails tipped with Berkley Gulp! shrimp are proven killers. Speaking of killers, the giggers are still way out-fishing hook-and-liners in the inside waters, but the flounder bite is picking up.
The best bites inside are red red drum from Swansboro to the New River and that includes the White Oak River, where I will be getting my kayak wet this week. I will be working the Croatan area off VFW Road, just north of the Emerald Isle Bridge, one of my favorite kayak put-ins. In the Neuse River, there are drum, some speckled trout and around New Bern the striper bite is still excellent. For a great time, try top-water baits for the drum and stripers.
One inshore bright spot is the sheepshead, which are being caught by the faithful sheepshead fishermen in good numbers. Sand fleas, fiddler crabs and sea urchins are baits of choice.
The right location is the key to finding sheepshead. They are almost strictly hard structure oriented. The rock jetties, docks and structure around Radio Island, the high-rise and causeway bridges around Atlantic Beach and Morehead City, the Emerald Isle bridge and of course the White Oak River bridge complex in Swansboro. I have also caught nice sheepshead, weighing up to six pounds on live shrimp.
The surf fishing is not so good. I’m sure some of you have seen my Bogus Jeep-mobile from Bogue to Beaufort Inlets and many locations in-between. However, my miles-to-fish ration (both on car and on foot) is asymptotically approaching zero, and I’m not counting the drag stretching lizard fish or the throwback flounder.
Almost no blues, Spanish or reds have found my hook and heaven forbid I land a keeper flounder. I have heard of a very few scattered (I know that’s redundant) reds and some numbers of black drum. There are certainly plenty of mole crabs (sand fleas) from one end of the island to the other.
Now for the fishing pier doldrums. None of the piers reported any big fish this week.
Anglers fishing from the Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier in Emerald Isle have been catching blues early and late in the day, small croakers, small spots, short flounder and scattered sea mullet.
This week of course is the 58th Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament. There are 172 boats registered. If you get a chance go down to the Big Rock Landing and watch the weigh-ins.
(Richard “Dr. Bogus” Ehrenkaufer of Emerald Isle is on the radio every Monday morning at 7:30 a.m. on WTKF 107.1 FM and 1240 AM. Call him at (252) 354-4905.)