March/April 2020 Fishing Report and Forecast
Hello from Breakday Charters, spring has sprung here on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina and per long-term forecasting we are in the clear from winter and it shows. Water temperatures are ahead of schedule and it has the fish biting. One thing is for sure in these chaotic days, fishing is not closed! A sure cure for cabin fever is to take a BreakDay, and get out on the water and go fish! With three boats we do it all, MARSH2OCEAN, and can offer you and your crew multiple option for that next fishing adventure. The following is a fishing Report/Forecast for the remainder of March and April.
These waters consist of the sounds, creeks, rivers, and marshes. We had a mild winter and the inshore bite is reflecting those mild conditions. The Speckled Trout are moving out of their winter holdouts putting on the feedbag to prep for their first spawn in May. We are largely fishing Intracoastal Waterways and marsh creeks casting soft plastics and harbaits (twitch baits and topwater) for these beautiful and tasty fish. Red Drum are cruising inshore structure along the ICW along with flooded marsh and grass flats at high tide stages on the search for their next meal, especially shrimp and crab. Techniques include topwater plugs, soft plastics, and oftentimes a chunk of mullet or shrimp depending upon conditions to tempt these bulldogs. As we push into the end of this month into April the annual spring arrival of tasty Sea Mullet will materialize with fish being tempted by bits of shrimp on a high low rig or speck rig. Sea mullet will be accompanied by croaker, puffer fish, snapper sized bluefish, and grey trout (weakfish). Larger weakfish will gravitate toward deep inshore structure and will readily crush vertically jigged casting spoons and plastics and pull all the way to the net. Flounder too are available, however, current regulations have this fishery closed until August 16. Springtime inshore offers variety and with so much territory we can find a place to fish in all but the worst weather.
Coastal waters of Onslow bay including the Cape Lookout bight from the inlets and beach out to approximately 20 miles will contain a host of light tackle friendly opportunities as the spring unfolds. False albacore cruising in search of bait pods and will fall for trolling and casting techniques using spoons, casting jigs, and the fly. Pound for pound the hardest pulling quarry in the nearshore mix. With the warming temperatures snapper bluefish will invade nearshore waters in great quantity sometimes mixed with the albacore and provide excellent casting opportunities to busting fish. On the right day we also may bump into schooling trophy sized red drum chasing menhaden bait balls and susceptible to sight casting bucktails and plastics. Continuing into April the annual northern migration of sushi grade Atlantic Bonita will pass by and are susceptible to the same trolling and casting techniques. Bonita can be present for weeks to a month so keep up with reports to know when they arrive. April is also the month for chopper sized bluefish and the ultimate light tackle topwater fishery. Year to year quantities vary, but these fish have showed well for the past 3 years and provide quality pullage. These fish will cruise the beaches and flats of the cape looking for their next meal and will also get on the inshore flats of the inlet connected sounds often offering sight fishing opportunities. Nearshore reefs, wrecks, and natural bottom will offer jigging and bottom fishing for flounder (opens Aug 16) black sea bass, porgy, grunts, and grey trout, providing excellent table fare and bent rods. If water temperatures continue on their current trajectory we are likely to see king and Spanish mackerel making early appearances in our nearshore waters. Springtime nearshore don’t miss out!
Pelagic ocean waters 20 miles and beyond to the break on the edge of the Gulf Stream offer year round opportunities top to bottom with the onset of spring bringing bluewater trolling action back to the famed waters of the Big Rock aboard the Long Break. Early spring catches will primarily consist of some of the years largest wahoo, tunas (blackfin and yellowfin), along with King Mackerel but as with any gulf stream trip anything is possible. Mahi and the billfish will start to consistently invade these waters on their migration north towards the end of April. Trolling both rigged ballyhoo and artificial lures will get the job done. Under the right conditions tuna may offer topwater casting opportunities. Offshore bottomfishing and jigging will offer tasty catches of triggerfish, black sea bass, vermillion snapper, red snapper (July season), groupers, and amberjack to name a few. Sore arms is the goal and surprise catches of the oddball are common. We can even combine trolling and bottomfishing to offer a day of variety from spring time bluewater, don’t miss out!
Check us out online at Breakday Charters and easily book online at https://square.site/book/3PDSYK226AVE2/breakday-charters-atlantic-beach-nc
Coming in May Forecat – Cobia, Mahi, and Kings oh my!
Captain Justin Ragsdale
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