September is a special month here at Topsail. It is the harbinger of fall — hopefully, anyway. The weather starts to cool and the fish feel the need to start bulking up for the winter or their migration to the south or north, depending on the species.
You can expect to see some phenomenal Spanish mackerel runs on the pier and near shore. The fall Spanish run is not usually as epic as the spring run but there are still days of awesome Spanish fishing. In addition to the Spanish you will hopefully see some large schools of big ole chopper bluefish pushing up the beach. Sunrise and sunset are usually the best times. Do not settle for merely chunking some bait out and waiting for a bite, make sure you have a Hopkins tied on to a medium action rod with a heavy mono leader. If you want to see a funny sight, keep an eye out for me in the fall running down the beach trying to keep up with the fast moving schools of blues. Smoked, baked and fried fresh bluefish is awesome.
The red drum migrates east and west when they are slot sized fish. Slot sized red drum usually do not travel very far north or south. When the water temps start to drop most of them leave the back waters for the ocean. This is why surf fishing for red drum in the fall is so good. The inlets make for great choke points and give the surf angler a good shot at them. Lures like gold Hopkins and Gulp work well, but the majority of the red drum will be caught with cut mullet or live finger mullet.
The king mackerel should go on the feed as well. You will start to see large schools of mullet and menhaden making their way up and down the beach. The kings will not be far behind. It is an awesome site to see a king “sky” a bait and leap out of the water with a 3-pound mullet in its teeth.
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.