Fishing inshore has been good over the past few weeks. The longer days and recent warmer weather has been slowly increasing water temperatures and this has the fish and the bait starting to move and feed at different locations.
Inshore there have been some nice sized speckled trout feeding in a variety of locations, anglers have been reporting fish near the inlets, boat basins, and in deeper sections of creeks. Z-Man Trout Tricks and Paddlerz have been catching a lot of these fish. Billy Bay Halo Shads and MR17's have been producing fish as well. Light fluorocarbon leaders, Pro-Cure, and lightweight jigheads will increase your chances. A few groups of red and black drum are still feeding around docks and deeper holes in the creeks. Fresh dead shrimp, cut mullet, or mud minnows fished either on a BWC jighead or carolina rig will produce bites if the fish are there. Gulp shrimp and Jerkshads will also work, but the key is going to be fishing them extremely slow. Look for the some schools of reds to start to move to the flats in the coming weeks, especially on higher tides. Some flounder are starting to be caught inshore, including a few keepers.
Surf anglers are reporting good catches of pufferfish and a few sea mullet and black drum, mostly on shrimp and Fishbites shrimp. A few smaller bluefish and some red drum have been reported. This time of year a big 5lb+ bluefish can be caught at any time; so far there have only been a few reported inshore.
Fishing in the Cape Fear River has been hit or miss, but can be very good if you can find active fish. Striper can be caught casting or trolling along the shoreline and especially near creek mouths. Storm swimbaits, bass assassin die dapper and down south lures rigged on a weighted twist-lock hook are good choices for casting. The bomber long A has been the go to trolling lure lately. A few trout and drum have been reported in the river as well.
Some good numbers of false albacore and Atlantic bonito have started to show up in the 8-10 mile range. Just a few fish have made it closer to the beach, but as long as we don't have any major cold fronts these fish should make their way into the beach in the next two weeks or so. When they arrive trolling clarkspoons behind lead weights or Yo Zuri Deep Divers near bait marks or artificial reefs is typically effective. They can also be caught casting Shore Lures, Epoxy Jigs and Stingsilvers as well. Fishing for Black Sea Bass has been good in the 10-15 mile range. Squid on a two hook bottom rig is a safe bet, but the fish can also be caught on a number of artificials such as bucktails, Hopkins spoons, and the 2oz Roscoe jigs.
The anglers that have been targeting King mackerel lately have been fishing 30-40 miles offshore around natural ledges and live bottoms by trolling drone spoons or dead baits such as bonita strips or cigar minnows. These fish will start to make their way inshore throughout April, typically somewhere near 66-68 degree water.
The wahoo bite has been strong on days that have been fishable. Try to locate structure that is close to a temperature break and continue to work the area if you catch a fish. Trolling ballyhoo behind Blue Water Candy Jags and Ilanders has accounted for most of the wahoo action. Blackfin tuna have been reported both on jigs and topwaters, but most are being caught while trolling cedar plugs, green machines, and ballyhoo. A few scattered mahi have been reported as well as a few sailfish.