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Hey NC angler forums,

I'm sort of new to fishing. I'm currently a 21 year old college student, but I haven't fished since I was a small child. Apparently my beginner's luck ran out when I was a kid. It has taken me seven trips to finally catch fish: two bluegill and a largemouth bass. I've tried surf fishing at the south end of Wrightsville, fishing off of a dock at Masonboro, fly fishing at a small lake, and a 1/2 mile hike to the pennisula at Sutton Lake with no luck at any location. Finally caught something tonight at a small lake within the town. However, I'm really eager to catch a saltwater fish.

At the above locations, we haven't had a single bite in saltwater. Is fishing really that much of a hit or miss? I'm pretty sure there are fish wherever we are fishing. We seem to be hitting the tides at a pretty good time too.

Are there any go-to-spots within Wilmington to catch saltwater fish? It'd be a dream to catch a red fish, but I think aiming for flounder of bluefish would be a good start.

I don't have access to a boat, so any location on land or on a dock is ideal.

Any tips for lures/bait/etc would be great too!

Thanks!
David
 

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If you can get down to Topsail Island there are two piers that you can go to. You can also surf fish. If you have a vehicle that can be driven on the beach, drive down to the Inlet between Topsail and Lee Island and you can def pull some flounder out of the water. I use carolina rigs with cut mullet on them. In the surf and off of the piers. Sometimes I will use a gotcha plug and pull in some blues of nice size. Right now they are catching blues, flounder, and cobia off of the pier on Topsail. Hope this helps.
 

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I was in the same "non boat" situation as you not too long ago. The best place I could say to go is the S end of wrightsville beach at day break with cut bait. You should at least catch blue fish and possibly others, I've caught flounder, blues, and even a small cobia there using cut bait and live finger mullet caught in a cast net. Good luck.
 

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Go to the Carolina Beach ramp area on Snows Cut an fish there. Catch some live bait and put it on Carolina rigs. When all else fails head down to Ft Fisher and try around the wall...
 

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Sorry in advance for my longwinded answer, I got diarrhea of the brain:cool:...

In answer to one of your original questions about fishing and luck:rolleyes:. Fishing can be hit or miss depending upon your ability to 1) Read the water, 2) Make a decent presentation (you said you fly fish, so I'm pretty sure you have been introduced to this concept), and 3) You actually fish over fish.

I say this to all of my fly casting students:D: 90 percent of the fisherman catch 10 percent of the fish, and 10 percent of the fisherman catch 90 percent of the fish.

As a college student, you may not have money for guides;), but a guide will teach you everything you need to know about a particular fishery, if he or she is good. Of course, none of us starts with a guide, most of us start with a friend who is familiar with the fishing hole. And usually that's your best start.

Lots of people never "fish over fish," which means no fish are looking or sniffing the lure cause they're not around:mad:. I rarely catch fish in riffles of trout streams because I have no confidence in that part of the stream. I like runs and the heads of pools. That's because I was taught that riffles frequently, under bright sunlight, are too shallow to hold fish. (Yeah, I know, a nice humpy doesn't look prettier than in a riffle, and yes I've caught fish in riffles, but I rarely fish them.)

Sometimes you can approach the stream wrong.:( I used to weight 100 pounds more than I do now. And. yet, I still sometimes go crashing in to a stream like a giganotosaurus looking to kill a T-rex. When I started, I would see fish scooting away in absolute terror. When I lived in Florida, I would snook fish and you really wanted to stay back from the swash so you could keep from scaring fish that were literally swimming at your feet during the summer spawn.

Or maybe the presentation isn't right. I once came upon an angler fly fishing for trout in a tiny mountain stream in Pennsylvania, where fish can be very forgiving of a bad presentation. But he had on a massive 3-inch balsa wood bass popper:confused: that the little 5 and 6 inch native brookies were frightened to death of when it landed on a stream no more than 3 feet wide. I gave him a couple of size 16 adams and he caught fish on every cast afterward.

I was that guy's first on-stream guide:), and at the time, I had never been guided before, but I was really good about asking questions at the local fly shops:D. What size lure, what time, what should the tide be doing (in saltwater), what are they really eating, what should my lure imitate, where should I stand to cast, what should I be aiming for, what have you been able to catch when you go out?

Shortly after, I finally got guided on my favorite stream, the Neshannock in northwest Pennsylvania. And the guide pulled out size 20 nymphs. And I hadn't caught more than one 10-inch trout per 8-hour trip up until that point. This guy pulls out these size 20s -- I can barely see the dang fly -- and I have six trout, between 8 and 16 inches, in 20 minutes:D, and those are the ones where I didn't miss the strike. (At the time, I had vowed never to tie anything smaller than 18; boy, did that change.)

While I would trust most anything I've read on this forum, especially the suggestions about cut bait :D:D:D-- and have caught fish from suggestions I've read here -- you really want to start at the nearest tackle shop to the fishing hole you want to tackle. And make sure your bait isn't too big or too small for what you want. Should you use a size 2/0 hook at Fort Fisher or a size 2? I like those commercials where the person asks all kind of questions of the waiter, but won't ask questions about their health to the doctor. Treat your tackle merchant like your doctor.

By the way, I happen to believe beach fishing can be tough because in the beginning it's really hard to read the water. Where are the holes? They were invisible to me when I started. That's why I like piers. Drop your bait into the pilings and you've got a good chance to catch something.

Anyway, you have some wonderful suggestions here from the other posters. I will make another. Until you catch something in salt water on lures or cut bait, skip fly fishing the beach:eek:. Fly casting a beach is more fun standing up than going to the zoo and watching monkeys, but even a little bit of wind, your ability to read the holes, line management, the amount of weight you need to get your lure in the strike zone can all be really frustrating in the beginning.
 
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