If last weekend was any indication, the weather hasn't quite gotten straightened out just yet, but we are proceeding headlong into spring anyway. Tomorrow is Good Friday and this is Easter Weekend. I am writing this a little early as I will be fishing the Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour event in Sarasota, Fl. this weekend.
Fortunately the weather forecast is good. There were a few cold days early in the week, but we are warming back up now and should stay warm through the weekend.
With a little luck, the wind won't be too strong this weekend either. At the time I was writing this, the weekend wind forecast was truly just a guess. Hopefully it will be calm and allow fishermen to go where they want.
That will be a pleasant change from last Saturday. I was in the parking lot at Fort Macon Marina and discussing trying to find some protected water to go fishing. Suddenly a wind gust swept through and rocked me back on my heels and completed the decision--no fishing that day.
The best news is a good mixture of fish are here and biting. With the weather allowing, there is something happening for just about every fishermen. It begins with drum, trout and the first few flounder in the creeks and goes all the way out to tuna, wahoo and the first billfish at the Gulf Stream.
The water has warmed enough those big schools of red drum, which were in the marshes all winter, are beginning to break up and spread out. There are still lots of them around, but the concentrations will be getting smaller. This can be good and bad, but they are spread through many creeks and marshes from state line to state line. An assortment of grubs, suspending or diving stick baits and gold spoons are all working well to entice them.
With the warming water, the speckled trout bite has gotten pretty unpredictable--not that it ever was a sure thing. When you find them, there have been good numbers of smaller specks, but there aren't an abundance of larger specks being caught right now. There probably are a few honey holes giving up some nice trout, but those folks aren't talking.
The sea mullet are biting in the Morehead City Turning Basin. There are a few gray trout mixed in also. The fish are scattered from the State Ports out to Fort Macon Coast Guard Station. Fresh shrimp really helps attract the sea mullet.
With the few gray trout mixed in with the sea mullet, I'm surprised I haven't heard of many good catches of grays from the Dead Tree Hole and off the end of the Cape Lookout Jetty. Maybe the wind has been a factor there and this weekend could be a good one there.
There should also be some grays at Johns Creek Rock, Sheepshead Rock and the WOFES.
There certainly isn't a profusion of them, but the flounder that wintered inside are beginning to wake up and feed. Most of them are really thin and would be better served to be released to fatten up over the summer, but there are a few biting.
I also heard a few reports of bottom fishermen catching a few flounders around the nearshore artificial reefs. Those flounder should be a little more filled out and a better choice for the table.
This weekend should mark the beginning of when the remaining piers are all open and open all week. Triple S Pier in Atlantic Beach is gone and Long Beach Pier is almost gone. Sportsmans Pier will probably close in June and there are strong rumors about several others.
A few piers have already begun the season on weekends and there have been promising reports. The biggest news is sea mullet and nice ones too! While there have been some good daytime bites, the better catches have been around dark, especially if the tide is rising. In addition to the sea mullet, the pier catch includes speckled trout, gray trout, a few flounder, big blowfish, spots, red drum, black drum, dogfish and a few flounder.
The king mackerel bite is getting better almost daily. They have been almost a nuisance to the tuna trollers at times, but are also moving in. Several reports note good concentrations of smaller fish around 210 and 240 Rocks off Morehead City and the bite remains red hot around Frying Pan Tower. There are also good king reports from around the wrecks off Hatteras.
When the winds lay and allow it, the offshore fishing is good. The preferred catch is yellowfin tuna and they have been reported from the Georgetown Hole to Hatteras. Other offshore catches have primarily been blackfin tuna, wahoo and kings, with a (very) few dolphin, a couple of early billfish and even a few bluefin tuna (primarily off Hatteras).
The first tournament of the year is next weekend! It is the spring event in the 2006 Calcutta Wahoo Challenge Series from Morehead City. This tournament is April 20-22, with the fall tournament scheduled for October 19-21. In conjunction with the Spring Wahoo Challenge, the Take A Kid Fishing Boat and Tackle Expo is scheduled for the same weekend at the Crystal Coast Civic Center. For more information call 252-241-3348 or visit www.calcuttawahoo.com.