CAPTAIN JEFF CRONK
HOOKED UP FISHING REPORT
SCHOOL’S OUT, FISHING’S IN! A H O O K E D U P L O O K AT W H AT ’ S B I T I N G I N J U N E
ith the school year ending in early June, families all over the state will have more opportunities to spend time together enjoying coastal activities such as fishing, boating, water sports, shelling, shrimping and more! Regardless of your age, our beautiful Crystal Coast has so much to offer!
Anglers looking to hook-up with redfish and flounder this June will find plenty of fish working the shallow bays behind our barrier islands. These areas have many secondary channels that connect to our three inlets which provide a direct path for fish migrating in from the ocean. Schools of redfish will be moving throughout the backwaters feeding on blue crabs, fiddlers, mullet minnows, menhaden and shrimp. Anglers wanting to target both redfish and flounder with the same bait should use ⅛-oz. to ¼-oz. jig heads or a spinner bait rigged with a scented soft bait like Berkley Gulp baits or a Powerbait Pro Shad. Switching over to a top water bait will produce some incredible strikes from redfish too. I prefer to fish against the grass or shorelines during the higher part of the tides and then off the shorelines, along the points, around creek mouths and around oyster beds on the lower part of the tides. Fish will tend to recede to these locations as the tide falls. If the tide is extremely low, moving into the ICW and fishing around and under boat docks will often produce both flounder and redfish. Area bridge and dock pylons will also be stacked up with one to 5-pound sheepshead with some fish pushing 10 pounds or more. A live fiddler crab fished on a 1/0 to 3/0 wide gap, short shank hook using a 1 to 2-oz. egg weight will be a deadly rig when suspended along the down current side of a pylon. Start near the bottom, holding your bait still for 1 to 2 minutes, then repeating this at different depths until you find a pylon or a depth they are feeding at.
FISH’N 4 LIFE CAPTAIN JEFF CRONK
leads fishing and nature charters on the Crystal Coast. To get out on the water with him, call 910-325-8194. You can also visit him online at nccharterfishing.com.
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The inlets and surf zone will be very active with plenty of bluefish, Spanish mackerel and a variety of bottom fish including redfish, flounder, sea mullet and more. Trolling these areas with clark spoons or hard baits such as Yozuri Crystal Minnows will keep a rod bending with either bluefish or Spanish. Anglers willing to move a little farther off the surf around our nearshore hard bottoms will find some large Spanish in the 4 to 7-pound range with some 5 to 30-pound king mackerel. These larger fish tend to shy away from artificial baits, but anglers can switch to 4 to 6" menhaden or other live baits fished on some light 7-strand wire with two gold no. 4 treble hooks. While on these nearshore hard bottoms, jigging a Bett’s Flounder Fanatic Bucktail tipped with a 4" Berkley Gulp Shrimp will produce hook-ups with big sea bass and flounder. But of all the fish to target nearshore in June, cobia will be the prize! Cobia averaging from 20 to 60 pounds will be hanging around our inlets and nearshore structure in search of food as they get ready to spawn. Options for targeting these fish include anchoring near the inlets or cruising within a mile of the beach and looking for schools of menhaden to fish around. Three rigs are important to have ready when looking for Cobia. I prefer a 3-oz. bucktail rigged with a 10" Berkley Gulp Eel reading for jigging through schools of bait, a 12" pre-rigged Power Bait Eel ready for casting to surfacing fish and a live bait rig consisting of a 6/0 hook and 4' of 50-lb. fluorocarbon with a live menhaden ready to cast to fish not willing to hit an artificial bait. This is an amazing fishery that can produce a trophy fish! €
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CarolinaSalt.com » June / July 2018 CAROLINA SALT 19