The heat of summer has arrived and along with it has come steady, if not spectacular, fishing along the Brunswick County coast. According to Capt. Mike Stacy of Ocean Isle Fishing Charters, fishermen willing to move around and fish for several species can expect a good, mixed-bag catch.

“Between fishing the inlets, along the jetties at Little River Inlet, the Ocean Isle and Sunset Beach bridges, docks on the (Intracoastal) Waterway and in the creeks, plus several holes in the marsh between Ocean Isle and the state line, I’ve been finding a variety of fish,” Stacy said. “There just hasn’t been an overwhelming number of any of them in any one place. We’ve been catching some flounder, speckled trout, red drum and black drum inside and around the inlets and Spanish mackerel just outside the inlets, and it’s made for good variety and fun. However, there are days we really have to work for it.

“There is good news too,” Stacy said. “The mullet minnows are getting just large enough to use for bait, and they are moving around in the creeks and waterway. I’ve been using mud minnows and peanut pogies, but there are days the fish just want mullet minnows. Now, they are large enough we can catch them, and they will be getting larger. Mullet minnows are much more active baits than mud minnows, and I really believe having them moving about and to use for bait will get more fish actively feeding.”

Stacy (910-279-0119) thinks having live bait is important to summer fishing in the heat. He said red drum and trout will sometimes hit artificial lures, especially early and late, but they won’t often chase during the middle of the day. Live bait, on the other hand, moves naturally, and you can cast to a spot and let it swim until it teases a fish into biting.

Stacy fishes live baits two ways and often mixes them up in the same spots. He’ll fish a Carolina rig with the lightest weight possible, a fairly short leader and a wide-gap hook, and he’ll suspend it under a float. The float-rig is more productive for trout and will also catch drum, but flounder may not come off the bottom for a suspended bait. He likes to start with the bait about a foot off the bottom, hopefully close enough to get the attention of gamefish but far enough off the bottom to stay away from bait thieves. If the bait thieves bother you, raise the bait off the bottom six inches at a time until they quit.