After we made it all the way to Memorial Day Weekend without a cold front upsetting the fishing, we had another one this past weekend. Fortunately, it wasn't as bad as predicted and the weekend fishing conditions were really pretty good, as long as you kept an eye tuned to the sky and made an occasional move around a thunderstorm. This is actually a pretty good idea at any time and especially when the temperature and humidity are both above 80.
We are looking at another shifting forecast for the end of this week and the weekend. Above Surf City, the forecast has the wind creeping into the 15-20 knot range and turning northwest. Below Surf City, the forecast is for 10-15 knots from the southwest into the weekend. That line is a little too fine for reliability this far out. My suggestion is to check the weather again later in the week. While you should always error on the side of caution, this could easily be another weekend with calm seas, like the one just past.
Once again, many fishermen concentrated more on hiding from the wind and fishing the inside waters. Several tackle shops around Carolina Beach and Southport reported weighing flounder in the 10 pound range. Other fish in the catch included sea mullet, gray trout, speckled trout, red drum, black drum, spots, croakers, and bluefish.
The southern coast piers reported good catches of larger flounder and mixed bottom fish over the weekend. The central coast piers reported lots of Spanish mackerel, large bluefish, and a good bottom fish mixture also.
More flounder are showing up along the entire coast and around the inlets is a good place to find them. The hot baits are finger mullet, mud minnows, and peanut pogies. There are also cobia inside the inlets at Morehead City and Ocracoke. A few cobia created some real surprises, excitement, and some tense moments for some unsuspecting flounder fishermen.
When the weather wasn't quite as rough as the forecast, several boats made quick runs out to Frying Pan Tower. The African pompano that had showed up there the previous weekend were still around and hungry. Most were 20 to 25 pounders, which are nice fish, but there are a few in the high 30's around also.
The larger boats headed offshore and continued to see good mixed catches of dolphin, tuna, wahoo, and a scattering of billfish. While it had appeared that dolphin had become the primary offshore catch, there were more tuna in it this week. The tuna bite appeared to be stronger, the farther north along the coast you went.
This was the weekend of the Carteret County Sportfishing Association Cobia Tournament in Beaufort. Jimmy Salter, of Beaufort, claimed the win with a 59.30 pound fish.
The US Open Pier Tournament was also held over the weekend on Ocean Crest and Long Beach Piers in Oak Island. This tournament has three categories for fish of different sizes. Houston Bishop, of Gibsonville, topped Category 1 (spots, croakers, whiting, pompano, etc.) with a 1.40 pound pompano. Robert Turner, of Hope Mills, topped Category 2 (bluefish, Spanish mackerel, drum, flounder, etc.) with a 4.10 pound black drum. Category 3 is the big fish (kings, cobia, etc) from the end of the pier and there were none caught. Austin Somers, of Oak Island, was the Top Junior Angler, with a 1.90 pound speckled trout.
This weekend, the Pirates Cove Cobia Tournament will be held in Manteo and the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament will begin with the Ladies Big Rock in Morehead City. For more information on the cobia tournament visit www.fishpiratescove.com and for the Big Rock visit www.thebigrock.com.
Capt. Jerry Dilsaver