Capt. Lewis Emery of Carolina Beach said fishing isn’t wide open yet, but he’s certainly seeing a good sample of what is to come, and he expects to see steady improvement.
“Nothing is quite to the point of outstanding yet, but we’re seeing a good mixture of fishing,” said Emery, who works out of Island Tackle & Hardware. “The offshore guys are catching some wahoo and blackfin tuna. Inshore of that, along the break, there are some kings and a good mixture of offshore bottom fish. There have even been a few fishermen catching flounder on the ledges and rocks 10 to 15 miles offshore.
“Inshore, the fishing is a little slower, but improving,” Emery said. “I was out Tuesday and saw mid-river temperatures of 55 to 57 degrees that reached the lower 60s in the back of several creeks. There were fish stirring, and when the river (temperature) reaches the low 60s, we should see a big boost.”
Emery (910-458-3049) said there are some whiting near the mouth of the river, but most have been small; better numbers of larger fish should be arriving at any time. Whiting not only taste good, but are easy to catch, too. They simply like the freshest shrimp possible and it can be fished on a basic 2-drop bottom rig.
Emery said fish in the creeks usually bite better in the afternoons and said the forecast for sunny, warm days over the weekend would help get fish feeding.
“Most of the fish I have been catching are red drum,” Emery said. “I have been seeing them in pairs and small schools. They are still pretty far up the creeks where the water is a little warmer.”
Emery said he had been catching a few speckled trout along, too, and he has been seeing several flounder each week, either catching them himself or having other fishermen bringing them by the store.
“The key to catching fish right now is covering a lot of water, but you also have to concentrate on fishing slowly,” Emery said. “Even when the water warms a little in the afternoon, the fish are not moving quickly and won’t chase a lure that is moving too fast.”
Emery has been having the most success using soft plastics fished weedless because the algae bloom in the river will load up lures with an exposed hook.