The Bottom Fishing is Easy in the Sloughs Catch
By DAMON TATUMDAMON TATEM
BEACH, PIER AND BRIDGE FISHING
Corolla to Coquina Beach
Surfcasters trying their luck in deeper sloughs along the northern beaches should catch a mixture of small bottom fish this week if the weather is good.
Quite a few small spot, small croaker, mixed-sized sea mullet, sand perch and possibly a pompano or two should be easily landed on bloodworms or fresh shrimp.
Fishing should be the best on the rising and high tide.If the weather is hot, seas are calm and the water is clear, early mornings, late afternoons and early evenings will be the most productive times to fish. No. 4 or smaller hooks are a must, as most of these fish are small and have small mouths.
There is no size or creel limit on bottom fish such as spot, croaker and sea mullet, but anglers should keep only what they intend to use.
Scattered bluefish weighing between 1/2 and 2 pounds also should periodically appear in surf catches. These aggressive fish will be taken on metal lures when the water is clear, and on fresh cut bait when the water is cloudy.
Actively feeding birds usually are a good indication of bluefish in an area. Voraciously feeding bluefish tear through schools of small baitfish, leaving wounded fish behind which are eagerly eaten by waiting flocks of seagulls.
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 tail.
Anglers trying their luck on the Melvin Daniels Jr. Bridge between Nags Head and Roanoke Island should catch a few speckled trout and flounder at sunrise just about every morning.Some small black drum and bottom fish should be landed during the day. Fishing is somewhat slow during the hot summertime on the Daniels Bridge, but improves when the wind goes to a northerly direction and temperatures drop.
Pier anglers in Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head should deck a nice variety of fish this week.
If the water inshore is a bit dirty, plenty of small croaker, spot, pinfish, sand perch and some sea mullet should be taken.Action could be particularly good with the passage of a front and a shift in the wind to a northerly direction.
Spadefish, sheepshead and some triggerfish should be caught around pier pilings fairly regularly when the water is clear and warm. When light onshore winds push warm clear surface water inshore along the oceanfront from the Gulf Stream, pier jockeys have the opportunity to land a big cobia, king mackerel or jack on live bait.
Quite a few bluefish and some Spanish mackerel also should be decked when the water is clear and warm. Most of the bluefish and Spanish mackerel will be taken at sunrise and sunset on Gotcha lures.
Oregon Inlet area
Bonner Bridge catwalk anglers should have good luck catching some nice sheepshead around bridge pilings. Sand fleas, also called mole crabs, should produce the best action. Some triggerfish, black drum, small bottom fish and an occasional flounder also should be landed by catwalk anglers.
Anglers wading in the Green Island Slough area just south of Oregon Inlet should catch an occasional speckled trout, puppy drum or flounder.
Small bottom fish, some puppy drum and a few trout should be landed in the Off Island Channel behind the Bodie Island Lighthouse by anglers fishing from the bank.
Pea Island to Buxton
Pinhead croaker will most likely keep surfcasters busy in this area, with these small pesky bottom fish hitting just about any type of bait thrown overboard. In addition to the small croaker, anglers should beach some spot, sea mullet, pigfish and sand perch.
Scattered pompano, including some nice-sized fish, also should be taken on shrimp and sand fleas.
Tailor blues and Spanish mackerel should be caught fairly regularly on Stingsilver lures when the water is clear. 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.
A few puppy drum and an occasional keeper flounder should be landed from deeper sloughs along the beach in this area. Puppy drum should be taken on fresh cut bait, with the best action when the water is somewhat rough. Anglers can keep one puppy drum 18 to 27 inches in total length per person per day.
Pier anglers on the northern shores of Hatteras Island should deck a mixture of croaker, small spot, sea mullet, pigfish, sand perch and sheepshead on bloodworms and shrimp when the water is a bit murky. Spadefish, triggerfish and a few sheepshead should be caught close to pier pilings when the water is clear.
Bluefish and Spanish mackerel action should be good early mornings and late afternoons when winds are light and clear water is close inshore near the beach.
An occasional king mackerel, cobia or jack could be landed on live bait from the ends of piers at any time when conditions are right.
Buxton to Hatteras Inlet
Surfcasters fishing near the Buxton jetties should catch some sheepshead, flounder and a few speckled trout. Anglers can keep 10 speckled trout 12 inches or larger in total length per person per day.
Spanish mackerel and bluefish should hit Cape Point fairly regularly. The best action should be at sunrise and just before sunset. Small bottom fish, pompano and a few flounder also should appear in surf catches in the Cape Point area.
Surfcasters along the Frisco beach should land some sea mullet, croaker, spot, a few flounder, scattered bluefish and Spanish mackerel. Spanish mackerel action will be good when the water is clear.
Some keeper puppy drum, bluefish and Spanish mackerel should be beached in the Hatteras Inlet area regularly.Some yearling drum should be hooked and released.
Anglers on Frisco pier should deck a mixture of small bottom fish, bluefish, sheepshead, spadefish and Spanish mackerel when winds are light and the surf is calm.
INSHORE TROLLING AND BOAT FISHING
Bluefish, Spanish mackerel and a few albacore should keep boaters busy in the Oregon Inlet area. Sound anglers will catch speckled trout, puppy drum and small bottom fish. Some nice flounder should be taken on the west side of Duck Island. Anglers can keep eight flounder 151/2 inches or larger in total length per person per day.
Headboats in the Oregon Inlet area should land small bottom fish, flounder and a few snapper blues.
Boaters in deeper water outside the inlet should deck jacks, king mackerel and cobia around offshore towers, over wrecks and along tide lines. Anglers can keep two cobia 33 inches or larger in fork length per person per day.
Inshore trolling for Spanish mackerel should be good in the Hatteras Inlet area. Boat anglers also should catch bluefish and some nice keeper flounder. Puppy drum, speckled trout and a few gray trout should be taken regularly in Pamlico Sound, west of the inlet. Anglers can keep six gray trout 12 inches or larger in total length per person per day.
Headboats fishing in deep water off Hatteras should land tilefish, triggerfish, grouper and snappers.
OFFSHORE, GULF STREAM
Blue water anglers off Oregon Inlet should deck the usual summertime mixture of dolphin and wahoo, along with a few mixed- sized tuna.Billfishing should be fair to good overall, but will become excellent when the wind goes to northerly with the arrival of a cold front.
Hatteras offshore anglers should release scattered billfish, mainly sailfish. Mixed-sized dolphin, some blackfin tuna, an occasional yellowfin tuna, fair numbers of wahoo and a few king mackerel should be taken. Anglers can keep three king mackerel 24 inches or larger in fork length per person per day.
Originally published by BY DAMON TATUMDAMON TATEM.
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