(Photo Source: Hatteras Tuna Fishing Report)It’s March. A month of promise, yet a month that often tries our patience. Spring, and better weather and better fishing are coming, but not soon enough, as we still have windy and cold days to endure, especially at the beginning and during the middle of the month. There has been very little fishing action reported in the past week to 10 days, but there are at least a few fish around for anglers who can put in the time and effort to locate andcatch them. On the offshore grounds they include wahoo, yellowfin tuna, dolphin and king mackerel. Inshore anglers and surf fishermen hook up with an occasional speckled trout, red drum, striped bass, black drum, and sheepshead. In particular, speckled trout fishing will improve as our days get longer and warmer in March.
The following summaries are provided by the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/recr...shing-reports1
Ocean: Winter anglers catch plenty of yellowfin tuna, when conditions permit, along with a few wahoo and dolphin, to make for some good offshore action. Midrange anglers target striped bass and red drum during the winter season with moderate to good success. Find a regional fishing website that reports daily catches or contact a local tackle shop for up-to-date fishing reports.
Inlets/Sounds/Bays: When weather permits, activity will be heavy with anglers targeting striped bass. They are often found throughout the Roanoke, Croatan and northern Pamlico sounds, especially near bridges or any other structure. There will also be some good winter catches of spotted seatrout and red drum. Good places to try include around the barrier islands and Oregon Inlet's Green Island Slough from pre-dawn to mid-morning hours.
Piers/Beaches: Piers are currently closed, most will re-open around Easter. Beach anglers may have a tough time fishing this time of year due to rough surf and adverse weather, but once again, when conditions permit, some of the largest red drum and striped bass are taken from the surf. Bluefish blitzes can happen this time of year and offer anglers some short-term active fishing. Don’t forget about the possibility of some excellent speckled trout surf fishing this winter on the beaches from Rodanthe southward.
Ocean: There will be plenty of excellent fishing opportunities onboard charter boats during the winter. The central coastal area has become home to North Carolina’s bluefin tuna fishery. Multiple hook-ups and multiple fish days are the norm rather than the exception. Another species that sometimes makes the winter scene in the central area is striped bass. Striped bass are sometimes taken from Cape Lookout Shoals and other areas along the beach throughout the winter. Other offshore species such as king mackerel, yellowfin tuna and wahoo will also be available to Gulf Stream anglers. Bottom fishing for a variety of reef fish species is also excellent during the winter months. There are several head boats that operate throughout the year. Some of the best snapper and grouper catches occur during the winter, providing a quality fishing experience. Extended/overnight fishing trips are also offered. Bluefin tuna trips have also been offered in the past. Private boat anglers will enjoy many of the same opportunities as those mentioned for charter boat anglers. Near-shore bluefin tuna fishing should be excellent. Those fishing offshore will have access to excellent catches of king mackerel.
Inlets/Sounds/Bays: The speckled trout fishing was excellent this fall in the central coastal area. A good winter fishery is in the making. Newly established striped bass fishing on the shoals of Cape Lookout will also be a favorite. Inside, the creeks of the White Oak, New, Neuse, Bay, Pamlico and Pungo rivers will offer occasional excellent speckled trout fishing. Good catches of speckled trout were already being reported in the fall from Bay River, Campbell’s Creek and other central area tributaries. Do a little research before going, this is a specialized fishery. You might want to consider a local guide. This will greatly improve your opportunity to get on the fish.
Piers/Shore: Most piers are closed for the season. Some may allow access, but catches will be limited. Shore fishing activity will be limited.
Ocean: Anglers on private and charter boats enjoy some of the best bottom fishing and king mackerel fishing of the year during the winter months. Frying Pan Tower normally holds lots of king mackerel. Look for bait and water temperature around 70 degrees. There may also be great fishing, in these same areas, for groupers, sea bass, porgies and other various bottom fish. Bluefin tuna are another option during the winter months. Ledges around the shoals such as the Fairway Ledge and the Cucumber are good places to look for one.
Inlet/Sounds/Bays: If we don't see too cold of weather, speckled trout and red drum fishing can be good during the winter months. Look for the trout around the inlets and the drum in the bays and up in the back of the creeks. Striped bass fishing in the Cape Fear River is another option for wintertime fishing.
Piers/Shore: Most piers are closed for the season. Some may allow access, but catches will be limited.
TW's Bait & Tackle
TW’s report reminded us that while March is here, it is still winter. The shop reported, “Water temp is 44 degrees. There is no fishing news.”
Chasin' Tails in Atlantic Beach
Inshore: As of now we're still seeing red drum in our backwaters plus out at the Cape Lookout Rock Jetty and the Fort Macon Rock Jetty. I've heard of a few schools working the marsh areas for anglers sight fishing on calm clear days. Anglers are having the best luck on live mud minnows, bait shrimp, finger mullet and Gulp! baits.
Just this week we weighed in a speckled trout that was in the 5-pound range along with a few more smaller fish that the customer had caught in the North River area. That is really the first action of trout I've seen in a month or so in our area. So, with the days getting longer and warmer, speckled trout should start moving around more and feeding. There has been a few caught in School House Creek in the last week or so too. Baiting up with live mud minnows, Mirr-O-Lure 17MR, and artificial shrimp fishing real slow will produce the best action.
Surf:Fort Macon Rocks are still holding a few fish for surf fishing. I've heard red drum, black drum, dogfish and sheepshead are being caught using bait shrimp, finger mullet or live mud minnows.
Offshore:There hasn't been many boats out fishing over the last few weeks as the wind has been keeping them docked. I've looked back on last year's records and by the first of March we were seeing good numbers of wahoo and blackfin tuna, so it's time to start thinking about catching some fish.
Hopefully, we won't have much March wind so anglers can take advantage when the bite gets good. Medium and large ballyhoo fished on Blue Water Candy Lures should get the job done when you venture out.