We all know there are bill fish out there since one of the largest blue marlin tournaments in the world is held every year in Morehead City (The Big Rock), but not many folks pursue them. Everyone thinks you need a 50-foot Buddy Davis and a whole rack of $1,000 rods and reels — but it ain’t so. Plenty of bills are caught on 25-foot center consoles every year with gear that is smaller and less expensive than in years past.
Today with the invention of braided fishing line and carbon fiber you can now land much bigger fish with tackle that is less expensive and works just as well at putting the heat on ’em. This goes for bluefin tuna as well in the winter. You do not have to make a 100-mile round trip to catch a bill fish, maybe a marlin, but there are sailfish in our inshore waters. I have seen a picture (I wish I could find it) of a sailfish crashing mullets in the surf just north of Sea View Pier. Last year a sailfish was caught on a pier in the Outer Banks. Sails are routinely caught in the summer in sight of the beach by king mackerel fishermen. Personally the closest I have ever caught a sail was at seven miles, but there are guys who actually target them one to two miles off the beach and catch them.
One of the best and most effective ways to catch sailfish is by kite fishing. There are only a handful of guys doing it here in N.C., but it is catching on. This is where a kite is flown behind the boat while either drifting or trolling and your lines are attached to the kite with a release clip. This creates a unique presentation of baits. It creates more splashing and distress calls from your baits, in turn creating more strikes; not to mention the strikes are super violent as the fish is usually leaping out of the water with your bait in its mouth. The slack that is created when the bait is taken gives your prey another second or so to get a good bite on it as well. So if you have never kite fished, give it a try it may be just what you’ve been looking for.
The fishing report for this week is outstanding. Cobias are thick on the beach following the schools of menhaden. Most are being caught with big bucktails tipped with large soft baits, there have even been a few caught off the ends of the piers. The ones made by Blue Water Candy are just awesome. The Spanish are chewing off the piers and just outside the inlets. The flounder are starting to bite in the ICW pretty well on Gulp baits. The reds are all over the surf as well as good catches of sea mullet and black drum. The sheepshead have started to bite a little off the piers. The mahi are super thick in the Gulf Stream. I have not seen this kind of mahi bite in a long time, and many of the guys fishing for the mahi are catching blue and white marlin as well.
Tight lines and fair winds.
Capt. Chris Medlin is a third-generation tackle shop owner and charter captain. He makes his home on Topsail but loves fishing all over. Most of the time you can find him at East Coast Sports in Surf City or just contact him through his website at Eastcoastsports.com.