Fishing has been good inshore for red drum, black drum, sheepshead, and ladyfish. A few keeper flounder are still being caught along with a few nice trout. Fishing has been good closer to the inlets lately, mostly because of recent rain and the large amount of bait in the ocean. Docks in the ICW with deep water and good current flow have been holding fish as well. Live bait on a carolina rig in deeper water or under a popping cork when in shallow water has been producing fish. Gulp shrimp and ZMAN soft plastics have been catching some fish as well. Topwater baits will work for the drum and trout, especially early in the morning.
The trout bite will continue to get better as cooler weather starts to work its way into the area. Rapala X-Raps, Yo-Zuri 3D Inshore twitch baits, and a variety of Mirrolures all work well. Soft plastic paddletails and shrimp imitations can also be extremely effective when fished under a popping cork or with a very lightweight jighead. Using lighter flourocarbon, between 10-15lb will also help you get more bites.
Fishing in the Cape Fear River has been good; some keeper flounder, trout, and reds are being caught. Live menhaden and mullet are catching a lot of the fish. Some anglers are also doing very well with topwater baits and soft plastics. Some tarpon, big reds, and plenty of sharks are being caught by anglers fishing with large live mullet and menhaden closer to the mouth of the river.
Surf anglers are reporting some good fishing now that there are mullet running in the surf. Slot and over-slot reds, black drum, croaker, sea mullet, ladyfish, and a few pompano have been biting. Fresh shrimp or live sand fleas have been the best all around bait. Cut mullet on a fishfinder rig is a good way to fish for red drum, bluefish, and smaller sharks.
Spanish mackerel fishing has been good right along the beach and out to 5-6 miles at some spots. There are some nice sized fish mixed in. Live mullet or menhaden is the best way to target the big ones. Troll clarkspoons behind lead weights or planers and surface trolling lures like the BWC spanish daisy and mackerel tree rig. Casting jigs rigged with a fluorocarbon leader and fished with a fast retrieve will catch the Spanish as well. Some ribbonfish are also being caught in the inlets and just off the beach on clarkspoons behind planers. There has been strong fishing for flounder, gray trout, and big red drum at the nearshore AR's. Fish either a bucktail tipped with a gulp, a live bait on a carolina rig, or a stingsilver. A few cobia are being caught around reefs and baitballs in the ocean as well.
Reports on the kings have been coming from 5-30 miles offshore recently. There are a lot of small fish close the beach, however there has been a few 20lb and larger fish mixed. There's a handful of mahi and sailfish also being caught. Sailfish have been as shallow as 65' of water, while the mahi have mostly been in water that is 100' and deeper. Live bait is a good option when it's available. Cigar minnows or ballyhoo on dead bait rigs will also work. Some boats are also having success with drone spoons and Yo Zuri Deep Divers. Having a bait deep on the downrigger or a planer has been making the difference at times.
There are some quality gag grouper being caught offshore from 65' of water and farther out. Amberjack, barracuda, and various bottomfish are also being caught. The red grouper and scamp bite has still been good around 40 miles and further. Live or frozen cigar minnows, pinfish, squid, and strips of false albacore will work. Attach these baits to a Barefoot Decoy Jig or just a bottom rig with a large 8/0 - 10/0 circle hook. It's a good idea to put a light-line out for mahi and kings while bottom fishing.
The fishing in the Gulf Stream has continued to improve: the blackfin, sailfish, and wahoo have all been biting well. Ledges to the North and South of us have had better fishing, but the north-east wind and high seas from earlier this week should have moved a lot of water. Trolling with smaller plugs and small ballyhoo should produce on the blackfins. Pulling a spreader bar or daisy chain is a good way to attract their attention to the surface. Jigging and popping can also be an effective method. For the Wahoo go with wire rigs and medium or large ballyhoo behind Ilanders, BWC Jags, or sea witches. You'll want to have a planer in the water or at least a large diving plug running deeper than the rest of the spread. Bottom fishing has also been good out near the break; scamp, red grouper, large amberjack, and triggerfish have all been biting.