Well, another spring weekend has come and gone and we had another marginal Saturday and windy Sunday. At least it wasn't as cold as the previous one. However, there is a gleam of good weather headed our way and it begins this Sunday.
The winds that came in last Sunday were nasty and tried to hold on for a while. While I have heard various reports on the highest gusts, I feel safe in saying the gusts approached hurricane strength along the beaches. One of the highest numbers I heard was 66 knots at Emerald Isle.
The air temperatures didn't return to their normal warm this week either. I heard one television weatherman noting the weekly average temperature was 16 degrees below normal. We are fortunate there has been some sun almost every day and the water temperatures have dropped too badly.
We don't have a strong weather system approaching right now, but it was enough the directors of the Calcutta Wahoo Tournament have already cancelled Friday's fishing and will only fish on Saturday. The north and northeast winds that have been lasting well into this spring may be losing their stronghold after this last burst. Beginning Sunday the winds are forecast to swing to the west and then the southwest, which is a summer and warming wind along the N.C. coast.
Last Sunday's blow forced me to postpone a yellowfin tuna trip, but I hope to reschedule it for early next week. Those southwesterly breezes and warming temperatures will have me itching to go.
I spent a little time in the creeks last Saturday afternoon, but there were stretches the wind was already so stiff I had to run my trolling motor on high to make any headway. This was with the current running with me too. The bite was really slow, with a couple of short flounder and some barely slot drum being all we saw. Still, as I have already said too many times this year, it was better than spending another afternoon staring at the TV or computer.
The winds and resulting large swell have kept the surf stirred up along much of the coast. There was some good action before this and it should be returning pretty quickly. The surf fishermen were finding a few bluefish, skates and sharks, but expect to see the sea mullet, trout, flounder, red drum, bluefish and more return once the ocean settles a bit.
The reports from the piers haven't been particularly good this week either. There have been some sea mullet, puffers and bluefish scattered throughout and expectations are high for more flounder, drum and trout as the water clears. Earlier in the week, the surf temperature at Bogue Inlet Pier was 61 degrees.
Even with the winds, fishermen are working the creeks and marshes to find some red drum and speckled trout. They say the schools are scattered and it is much tougher fishing than just a few weeks ago, but are excited about what will happen once the wind slows and the temperatures return to normal. They are also catching a few gray trout, sea mullet and flounder. The protected areas, with minimal wind disturbance and tide flow are the places to look right now.
The strong sea mullet bite at the Morehead City Turning Basin has slowed also. There were a few days this week several fishermen reported more boats were fishing than fish were caught. There are a few sea mullet, gray trout and croakers being caught, but the bite is slow. They best action appears to be along the edges of the turning basin and the channel out to Beaufort Inlet.
On the days the winds allowed going, there were mixed reports of gray trout and sea mullet in the Dead Tree Hole and just offshore of the Cape Lookout Jetty.
I only heard one report of false albacore or Atlantic bonito this week. This was bonito and the fisherman was happily headed home to fix dinner. Learn to tell the difference between these two and you will be happy when catching bonito. Atlantic bonito are excellent table fare and false albacore are not.
There weren't many king mackerel reports this week, but it was certainly weather related. The hot spot off Morehead City has been the general area of 240 Rock, 210 Rock, West Rock and AR 305 and it should produce again once the winds subside. To the south, the reports of the past few weeks have come from around Frying Pan Tower. There were a few more kings included in the mid-week tuna bite off Hatteras.
Speaking of the tuna bite, it appears to still be going pretty well when boats can get there. There are also a good number of wahoo and a growing number of dolphin being caught. A couple of marlin were also released last Saturday.
A potential State Record blackfin tuna was caught on the Dream Girl out of Oregon Inlet last Saturday. The tuna weighed 40 pounds. I will pass on more details as I receive them.
Weather is a major factor with the offshore bite as it allows or prohibits the boats from making the trip. Nasty weather also breaks up weed lines and disrupts the flow of warm water eddies and temperature breaks. Sometimes it takes a while after a hard blow for things to return to normal.
The excellent offshore bottom fishing continues. Not having weather to get there has been the only thing that has slowed the bite. The catches have included grouper, beeliners, black sea bass, red snapper, pinkies (red porgy), triggerfish, tilefish and a few hog snapper.
The spring tournament of the Calcutta Wahoo Challenge is this weekend. Registration is tonight (Thursday), but Friday fishing is cancelled due to weather. The tournament will fish on Saturday. All activities will be under the tent at the Catherine Davis Park on the Morehead City Waterfront or across the street at the scales. For more information visit www.calcuttawahoo.com or call 252-222-3321.