Small, Hungry Bluefish Chomping to Get at Bait Catch of the Week
By DAMON TATUMDAMON TATEM
BEACH, PIER AND BRIDGE FISHING
Corolla to Coquina Beach
Surfcasters along the northern beaches should expect typical summertime action this week, with a mixture of small bottom fish and small bluefish taken.
Anglers bottom fishing using small hooks baited with bloodworms or fresh shrimp should catch a few sea mullet, spot, sand perch and small croaker. The best fishing should be in deeper sloughs along the beach on the incoming tide.
Small bluefish action should be steady with one half to 1-pound blues landed on cut bait when the water is dirty, and on metal lures when the water is clear.
Anglers can keep 15 bluefish per person per day with only five greater than 24 inches in total length. There is no minimum size limit on bluefish. Total length is measured from the tip of the snout with the mouth closed to the top of the compressed tail.
Occasional speckled trout should be taken by early morning anglers casting soft plastic lures in sloughs along the Kitty Hawk beaches. Most of the trout should weigh between 1 and 2 pounds. A few puppy drum also should be hooked and landed on trout lures.
Pier anglers in this area should catch quite a few tailor bluefish weighing between 1 and 3 pounds. Most of the blues should be decked early mornings just after sunrise, or late afternoons just before sunset.
The best action will be when the water is clear and the fish are schooled and aggressively feeding. Most of the blues will be taken on Gotchas in a variety of colors. The old standard red head and white body is always a consistent producer of good catches.
A tell-tale sign of bluefish action in an area is flocks of vigorously feeding seagulls. Bluefish are voracious feeders and have extremely sharp teeth. They attack schools of small baitfish, eating what they want and leaving behind small pieces of the baitfish. The baitfish remains attract lots of hungry gulls.
Plenty of small bottom fish such as spot, croaker and sand perch should be caught from piers by bottom fishing anglers when the water is a bit muddy. The best fishing should be on the incoming and high tide.
There is no size or creel limit on small bottom fish, but anglers are encouraged to keep only the small fish they intend to use.
When light easterly winds push clear, warm Gulf Stream water inshore around the pier pilings, pier jockeys should deck some triggerfish and spadefish.
These fish prefer clear, warm water and move inshore with the water to feed on small crustaceans and worms that live on pier pilings. Anglers dangling their bait close to the pier pilings usually have the best luck. Quite often anglers have difficulty getting these fish to take a bait, and have to resort to snagging or foul-hooking them.
Cobia and jack crevalle action is a strong possibility for pier anglers using live bait when light onshore breezes push clear warm water inshore along the beach.
Oregon Inlet area
Anglers trying their luck from the catwalk on the south end of the Bonner Bridge across Oregon Inlet should land some nice sheepshead, small bottom fish, bluefish and a few black drum.
Anglers wading along the shoreline on the south side of Oregon Inlet should beach some trout, flounder and an occasional puppy drum.
Fair numbers of speckled trout and some small bottom fish should be taken by anglers fishing in the Off Island Channel behind the Bodie Island Lighthouse. A few puppy drum also should be caught in the area, along with an occasional keeper flounder. Anglers can keep eight flounder 15 1/2 inches or larger in total length per person per day.
Pea Island to Buxton
Surfcasters along the northern shoreline of Hatteras Island should find steady bottom fishing action in this area. Lots of small spot, small croaker, sand perch, pigfish and some sea mullet should easily be landed on bloodworms and fresh shrimp.
The best fishing should be on the rising tide in deeper sloughs along the beach. On bright, sunny, hot days, action is usually best early mornings and late afternoons.
Some keeper flounder, puppy drum, an occasional trout and pompano also should be taken on bait in the area.
Good numbers of tailor blues and fair numbers of keeper Spanish mackerel should be caught in the area on metal lures such as Stingsilvers when the water is clear. Bluefish also will be landed on fireball rigs and bottom rigs baited with fresh mullet or menhaden when the water is dirty.
Anglers can keep 15 Spanish mackerel 12 inches or larger in fork length per person per day. Fork length is measured from the tip of the snout to the middle of the fork in the tail.
Pier anglers in Rodanthe and Avon should have very good luck catching lots of small bottom fish when the water is somewhat choppy and dirty.
Bluefish and some nice Spanish mackerel should keep anglers busy when the water is clear. The best action will be on the ends of the piers at sunrise and sunset.
Fair numbers of triggerfish, spadefish, a few sheepshead and some pompano also should be decked when conditions are right.
Big fish such as cobia, king mackerel or jacks can be taken at any time by live bait anglers when onshore winds are light and the water is clear and warm.
Buxton to Hatteras Inlet
Lots of tailor bluefish and some good-sized Spanish mackerel should be caught in the Buxton area when the water is clear. Blues can hit the beach at any time, but generally the most dependable fishing is early in the morning and late in the afternoon.
Bottom fishing should be good in the area with spot, croaker, sea mullet, pompano and mixed-sized flounder reeled in just about every day behind the Buxton motels and near Ramp 49.
Some puppy drum also should be landed on cut bait in the area, along with an occasional big cobia. Anglers can keep one puppy drum 18 to 27 inches in total length per person per day.
Surfcasters fishing along the beach south of the cape in the Frisco area should catch some small bottom fish, a few keeper flounder, bluefish, some Spanish mackerel and pompano.
Sand fleas, also called mole crabs, are a great bait for pompano. These small crustaceans inhabit the high energy surf area where waves break and are seen constantly burrowing in the sand.
The pompano lie in wait for a weak or injured sand flea to be pulled off the drop-off into deeper water just outside the surf line by the receding waves.There they are easy prey for the hungry pompano.
Bluefish and some Spanish mackerel should be beached near Ramp 55 when winds are light and the water is clear. Small bottom fish and some pompano also should be taken by bait anglers.
Frisco pier anglers should land some nice Spanish mackerel along with scattered bluefish on a regular basis when the water is clear. Scattered bottom fish, some small gray trout, pompano, sheepshead and triggerfish also should appear fairly regularly in pier catches. Anglers can keep six gray trout 12 inches or larger in total length per person per day.
INSHORE TROLLING AND BOAT FISHING
Good numbers of small bluefish and some Spanish mackerel should be decked by boaters trolling Clarkspoons and nylon rigs in the Oregon Inlet area, and up and down the beaches near the inlet.
Some good cobia catches should be reported from along color changes and grass lines a few miles outside the inlet. Cobia and jacks should be taken in good numbers around offshore towers and wrecks in deeper water off the inlet.
Boaters fishing in the sound west of Oregon Inlet should catch lots of speckled trout, some keeper flounder and puppy drum.Anglers can keep 10 speckled trout 12 inches or larger in total length per person per day.
Headboats in the area should land some flounder, small bottom fish and snapper bluefish.
Inshore trolling for Spanish mackerel and bluefish should be excellent in the Hatteras Inlet area. Boaters should deck some speckled trout, nice flounder and an occasional puppy drum. Some nice big cobia also should be taken regularly. Anglers can keep two cobia 33 inches or larger in fork length per person per day.
Headboats in the Hatteras Inlet area should catch plenty of bottom fish in the sound and around the inlet. They should land quite a few snapper, sea bass, triggerfish and grouper in deeper water outside the inlet.
OFFSHORE, GULF STREAM
Blue water fishing should be good off Oregon Inlet with plenty of dolphin and good numbers of tuna taken. A few wahoo also will appear in catches. Some big-eye tuna weighing more than 100 pounds should be decked and some billfish should be released.
Hatteras Gulf Stream anglers should catch plenty of gaffer and bailer dolphin, quite a few wahoo, a few nice-sized yellowfin tuna and king mackerel. Anglers can keep three king mackerel 24 inches or larger in fork length per person per day. Billfish action should be good, with mainly sailfish and blue marlin released.
Originally published by BY DAMON TATUMDAMON TATEM.
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