We catch all sorts of fish on our charters at different times of the year depending on what charter you decide to book. The winter months are generally slower, but a speckled trout and red drum bite can be worked for on an inshore charter.

Red Drum
Speckled Trout

Near shore in the winter time, we sometimes see the bottom fishing bite start to work, but pickings are hard. Black Sea Bass and Tautog are the primary bottom feeders nearshore in the colder months.

Black Sea Bass

We always look forward to the springtime Atlantic Bonito run. This is the real start of nearshore spring fishing. The Bonito are much like a miniature tuna and are great fun to catch on light tackle setups on half day trips. Additionally, this is an exceptionally fun time of year in the charter fleet because it is the first time when most of the captains get out to chase the fish. This is when you can come out with us and truly feel like a charter fisherman! Usually the Atlantic Bonito begin to run in late March/early April. Around this same time we also sometimes see the big “chopper” bluefish start to push in. If you have never gotten the chance to catch a chopper inshore in early spring, boy are you missing out! These fish feed in very shallow water, and are also super fast and get up to 12-15 pounds! Give us a call to see if any of the early spring pelagic feeders are around to be hooked!

Atlantic Bonito

In the same area where the Bonito like to snack, we also troll and cast for Spanish Mackerel, troll and drift for King Mackerel, and bottom fish for Grouper, Flounder, and a variety of other bottom feeders. This fishery really begins to take off shortly after the Bonito show up. Once mother nature starts the spring warming pattern, hold on because the waters come alive fast!

Spanish Mackerel
King Mackerel
Gag Grouper



During the warmer months, we can also enjoy a great nearshore Mahi-Mahi and Sailfish bite! Trolling ballyhoo is a great method for hooking up with these high-speed pelagic beasts. The Sailfish is personally my favorite fish to catch, just because they are one of the fastest recorded fish in the ocean at 70 mph. Catching larger nearshore pelagic fish is especially fun because the fish don’t have much room to swim down, only out and away. Hooking into these fish means you better hold on, because they will make hard, fast, and long lateral runs. This means the drag will scream and your arms will hurt! However, you will also go home with fish stories that all your buddies won’t believe.

Dolphin Fish or Mahi-Mahi

When planning your vacation to Wrightsville or Carolina Beach, don’t forget to call Golden Hour Guide Service for your charter fishing needs!

Capt. Alex Benson