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Carolina fishing report: Spot fishing picks up on the coastal piers

Spot are running down the North Carolina coast and pier fishermen are catching them, sometimes two at a time. The numbers aren’t staggering yet and the size isn’t the ‘yellowbellies’ of old, although these are indeed hormone filled yellow-bellied spot and it IS a fall spot run.

A cooler of spot caught this week at the Boge Inlet Pier in Emerald Isle, NC.
Bogue Inlet Pier

Some piers are getting decent fishing action already. Hopefully with the weather and moon ahead spot fishing will really kick in this week. The yellow butterflies are out in force.

Pick up on my recent coverage of spot season here:

Carolina fishermen on the spot watch

Fresh fried spot recipes

Stock up on Fishbites artificial bloodworms at great prices

Reports are coming in from Nags Head to the southern South Carolina state line. The early Virginia news was not exciting, but Outer Banks piers have been reporting sporadic spot in the mix for two weeks. The Crystal Coast piers have them in the mix now too.

The best reports have been from the Wilmington area, from Topsail Beach with SeaView Pier and Surf City Pier reporting good runs. Down in Brunswick County the Ocean Isle Pier and some others have had some little spells of spot here and there. They should start appearing in northern SC around Cherry Grove soon.

All of this leads me to hope this is just the beginning of a good fall spot season. It has been awhile since we had one of those. Some folks are looking hard at the inshore shrimp trawling by-catch issue for a reason and I think it plays a part, though dredging and the growing shallowness of our southern NC beaches can’t be helping.

As I am often told, spot are a short-lived species so conclusions are hard to reach. The inshore trawling by-catch issue will be touched by the Marine Fisheries Committee this year, but my suspicion is we will have another 5 years of our current rules. A nice, prolonged spot run along our coast would help that go down much easier.

Thanks to the Bogue Inlet Pier for the photos and Tim Chavez for the great spot walk video you see up there. Check them out, and I will keep you informed as things progress, hoping to get in on the action myself of course. If you have a spot report or pic please email it with your name to

As usually, Fishbites artificial bloodworms will work best and save you money, and they are on sale through my Bass Pro Shop links at cheaper prices than you’ll get elsewhere…stock up and remember they will last a year or more if you don’t use them all. Fishbites are a great money-saver over live bloodworms. Of course, earthworms, and small pieces of fresh shrimp will catch you some Carolina spot as well.

Also remember that while spot won’t go under a fishing pier they are meany times right down close to it at your feet. You usually don’t need to cast out a mile. I like to fish Fishbites and a bit of fresh shrimp together for spot as that bait combo works well and helps bring delicious pompano if they are around.

For many more fishing tips and tactics see my book Surf and Saltwater Fishing in the Carolinas


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