N.C. coastal fishing report for mid-May

Limits of grouper, as well as plenty of other species, are being caught along North Carolina's coast as we move into the second half of May, 2020.

N.C. coastal fishing report heats up with the weather

As we move into the second half of May, the weather is heating up, and the N.C. coastal fishing report remains just as hot. Anglers are catching a huge variety of fish. And the action isn’t confined to one species or one section of the coast. Whether you’re fishing offshore, nearshore, inshore, pier, and surf fishing, you’ve got a chance at catching just about everything.

Capt. Pete Cruger with Sneaky Pete Charters is back to fishing around Oregon Inlet. His clients have been catching plenty of trout. Bluefish are thick, and some days he’s caught far more blues than specks. But the trout are worth it, and some of the blues have been worth the fight as well.

Stripers, Spanish mackerel, and redfish have also been in the mix, and Cruger (252-573-9185) is itching to get on some cobia when the wind and weather cooperate.


N.C. coastal fishing
Even on windy, bad-weather days, the trout bite has been on fire along North Carolina’s coast.

The folks from Rigged & Ready Fishing Center in Supply has been raking in the grouper offshore. They’ve had to take a break from the fishing at times to triple-check the numbers of gag and scamp grouper on some days.

The grouper fishing action has been so hot that they caught a six-man limit before 10:30 a.m. one day last week. They also had a great day with mutton snapper last week, catching 10 along with 12 grouper. It was a rare day, but the kind of day that is happening right now. They were fishing 64 miles offshore, probing ledges.

N.C. coastal fishing
The fish are biting so strong off N.C.’s coast that even mutton snapper are getting in on the action.

Big pompano, cobia biting out of Atlantic Beach

“Up until a few days ago, I had only caught one mutton snapper in North Carolina waters. But on May 13, we caught 10, along with 12 grouper. It’s not every day we hit it like this, but I’ll take it,” said Capt. Kevin Sneed (910-448-3474).

Chasin’ Tails Outdoors Bait & Tackle reports some big pompano coming out of the surf at Cape Lookout National Seashore. Ewa Orocz brought one in to the shop after catching it on bait shrimp. Her fish weighed 3.89 pounds.

N.C. coastal fishing
Nathan Motsinger’s big pompano was one of many caught around the Cape Lookout National Seashore in the past few days.

Nathan Motsinger was also fishing at Cape Lookout when he hooked an even bigger pompano. His weighed 5.93 pounds, and is the biggest pompano ever weighed in at Chasin’ Tails. Motsinger’s fish also bit bait shrimp.

Anglers weighed in two cobia at Chasin’ Tails over the weekend. William Shamblin’s “man in the brown suit” weighed 48 pounds. The fish bit a bucktail that Shamblin cast around a bait ball.

Anglers fishing out of Atlantic Beach are also catching plenty of dolphinfish in a variety of sizes. Chasin’ Tails put two on their scales over the weekend that weighed more than 50 pounds apiece.

N.C. coastal fishing
The Long Shot crew boated this 51-pound dolphin over the weekend.

Triggerfish are very thick on the nearshore reefs and anglers are racking up big catches of them. Sheepshead are biting inshore and nearshore as well, and one Chasin’ Tails customer weighed in a convict that weighed almost eight pounds.

Fishing expected to get even better in coming weeks

Another prize catch came out of Atlantic Beach from Zachary Barclay, who weighed in a 7.52-pound Spanish mackerel. Barclay was fishing a Bowed Up Lures Bucktail around a bait ball, hoping for a cobia. But he wasn’t disappointed by the big Spanish.

In Wrightsville Beach, pier anglers are getting in on the action at Johnnie Mercers Fishing Pier (910-256-2743). Limits of Spanish mackerel and bluefish are biting daily. And the king mackerel have shown up. Pier regular Hiro Nguyen decked the first king on the pier for 2020 in late April. He’s caught two more since then. Eddie Donton put a 20.8-pound king mackerel on the pier this past Friday.

Other Other Johnnie Mercers Pier anglers are catching nice pompano, ringtails, sheepshead, and black drum.

Eddie Donton caught this king mackerel off Johnnie Mercers Pier, where plenty of species are biting.

As good as the N.C. coastal fishing has been all over, Capt. Jot Owens of Jot It Down Charters in Wrightsville Beach expects it will only get better. Owens (910-233-4139) said anything inshore that’s been inconsistent due to cooler nighttime temperatures will quickly become much more consistent. And he said the weather should stabilize enough that anglers will be able to get out into the nearshore and offshore reefs more regularly.

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Brian Cope
About Brian Cope 1648 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of CarolinaSportsman.com. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at brianc@sportsmannetwork.com.

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