Summer Fishing Report, Fishing Methods and Early Fall Fishing Forecast
Captain Trevor Smith
(Picture: Chris with a Barracuda that fell for a live pogie on one of our Wrightsville Beach Fishing Trips.)
2014 Summer Fishing Synopsis
In short: Summer fishing this year was great with many days catching limits of fish and steady action “catching”.
Lets start with the weather and how it influenced the summer fishing season, fish movements, patterns and feeding habits.
Summer 2014 was an above average year for rainfall; in turn, slowing the inshore fishing activity (for many anglers) due to big fluxes in salinity and turbidity levels. Red Drum, Speckled Trout and Baitfish are more affected by these changes and push toward the mouth of the nearest inlet to up the salinity to comfortable levels. On the other hand, Flounder are more tolerate of the turbidity and salinity changes, thus not as affected by the rain water “washouts”; however, like most fish they follow the food source (baitfish). If the washout is dramatic and the baitfish move out for more than 8 tide cycles (2 days), you will find most of the flounder near the mouths of the inlets as well. There were many days this summer with washout conditions; however, we continued to stay on the fish by following the fish tendencies due to weather. A few more patterns I have noticed fishing washout conditions is the inshore fish (Drum, Trout, Flounder) will take natural bait on more occasions than presenting artificial bait. I honestly don’t know why this is but if it works stick with it! Just like fresh water fishing, after a rain the bite is HOT! After a good summer rain shower or storm has passed… go to your “go to” spots immediately. On many days this tactic will produce fish on otherwise slower days do to the intrinsically programmed need to feed in the fishes DNA (weather it’s the change in pressure or just an instinct to feed due to an impending change in water chemistry… I dunno J). Offshore the washout rain conditions muddy the water (sometimes for miles and miles out) thus pushing many fish toward the cleaner water. Find the clean water and find the fish! (Picture: This a a very nice Spanish Mackerel that was caught on one of our Carolina Beach Fishing Trips that fell for a deep diver.)
Summer Fishing Tactics & Tips:
(Picture: These two Cobia were caught on one of our Topsail Beach Fishing Trips in the 6 mile range that fell for live baits.)
-Always have a large live bait on a balloon rig and on the bottom at all times. I use a king live bait rig on the top balloon rig and a double 6/0 circle hook rig on the bottom with 100+ lb mono or flouro.
-Drift the live bottom and nearshore ledges with live mullet on a Carolina rig. You will catch everything! This year we caught many Cobia, a 200 lb tiger shark, nurse shark, Grouper, Trigger Fish, Flounder, Trout, etc on a FINGER MULLET drifting the right bottom. Side Note: I can understand catching Cobia on a finger mullet; however, I still cant get over a 200 lb tiger shark foraging on a finger mullet… lol
-Always jig a diamond jig on the bottom of your Sabiki Rig. You will not be let down.
-Bring the “high-speed” trolling and bring it NOW! I prefer the 7” Yozuri Deep Divers going 8-11 MPH. I go as fast as the plugs will pull “true”. We TONS of K Macks in the boat this year high-speed trolling. Tip: be sure the break in your split-ring is in the nose of the lure and “not in the knot”.
-Fish BIG BAITS in the inlets and channels. You will be surprised how many Cobia and Big Sharks us the waterways and inlets for navigation. I usually have a live bluefish or menhaden either light-lined or on the bottom.
-If you have three anglers on the boat fish three different methods! One angler on a live bait Carolina rig, one angler on a jig head with a Gulp and one on a Diamond Jig. You will up your catch ratio as the feeding patterns change daily!
(Picture: This nice Flounder was caught on one of our Wilmington Fishing Trips and fell for a live mullet while inshore fishing.)
Noticeable Changes in Summer Fish Patters from 2013 – 2014:
-No Nearshore or Inshore Octopus this year (Last Summer we caught 100+)
-HUGE influx of Cobia this year: We have caught over 30 juvenile Cobia and 5-10 adult cobia: Last year we did not experience this amount of cobia moving through nor did we experience a full summer duration.
-Gray Trout are larger this year on the nearshore structure (1-3 miles offshore); however, the volume of fish is down from last year.
-Sharks, Sharks & more Sharks! This year was a bumper year for the Atlantic Sharpnose. Sharpnose are normally prevalent in our waters; however, the catch numbers are noticeably up by over 100%. Not to mention the numbers of nearshore Tiger Sharks we caught/ encountered right off the beach.
-A Million Sea Bass this year… Ohh wait a minute, that’s not a change!! Come on DMF, lets lower the size limit and up the creel limit as these buggers are destroying our reef fish populations. I am officially renaming the sea bass to “Reef Glutton” as every one we catch both small and large are so fat they are about to POP!
-2014 Oddity of the season thus far: I caught a full-grown adult Flying Fish in a backwater marsh! Still trying to wrap my head around this one!
2014 Fall Fishing Forecast:
Be ready as 2014 will be EARLY Fall Fishing! The mullet run is early, I caught a True Atlantic Bonito ALREADY, the yellow butter files showed up a month early, and last but not least: the rings on Saturn are wavy this year (J/K about the rings on Saturn).
Fall is almost here and the fishing is HOT, HOT!
Give us a call, bring the Family and LETS GO FISHING!
-Capt. Trevor Smith