The way it has been raining for the past week, we should be catching up on the rainfall shortage for the year. I understand we need rain, but I sure would prefer getting it in smaller amounts, rather than flash flood quantities--especially when I have to drive in it.
Even with the thunderstorms our weather has been pretty decent. There are some windy days still, but we might just find ourselves wishing for them when the dog days roll in during late July and August.
One weather surprise was this Wednesday morning. When I walked out on my rear deck just before sunrise it was only 56 degrees. I dealt with a little fog headed to the boat and out the inlet that morning, but fortunately it wasn't nearly as bad as I was concerned it could be.
A couple of days ago it appeared we were going to have another windy weekend, but the forecast has mellowed some. We are looking at some gusty winds early today (Friday), but by late afternoon they should lay out to less than 15 and remain there throughout the weekend.
Monday looks to be a great start for the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament with southwest breezes of around 5 knots. The ladies will start with a little more on Saturday morning, but should subside to 5-10 by early afternoon.
Speaking of the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament--it begins on Saturday with the Ladies big Rock. Then after a day of rest and registration on Sunday, the tournament begins in earnest on Monday and runs through next Saturday. Each boat is allowed a maximum of four fishing days of the six available.
There has been pretty good offshore action for several weeks. Even a few larger marlin have been caught already. The Big Rock should feature lots of billfish releases and several big blues being brought to the scales. The scales are at the Big Rock Landing on Front Street in Morehead city and will be open every day. There should be some large tuna, dolphin and wahoo arriving each afternoon to keep the spectators entertained between billfish.
The nearshore waters are warming and almost daily there are reports of smaller dolphin and kings getting closer to the beaches. Last weekend there were kings caught just a few miles off the beaches all along the state. There were even a few smaller dolphin mixed in with the kings. As the water temps continue to rise, these fish will continue to move closer to the beaches and more dolphin will also find their way closer in.
The cobia bite remains red hot. They are biting from Little River Inlet to Oregon Inlet. There have been reports of 50 and 60 pound cobia caught everywhere and even a few approaching 100 pounds.
The Spanish mackerel have arrived and more seem to be getting here almost daily. The nearshore trollers are reporting good catches of blues and Spanish mackerel right off the beaches. Around the inlets and along the shoals at Cape Fear, Cape Lookout and Cape Hatteras have been good spots to try.
The pier fishermen continue to see a pretty mixed catch. Bogue Inlet Pier reported water temps of 76 degrees early in the week and the summer fish are arriving strong. The warming water temperatures are also causing some of the spring fish to move on.
Sea mullet were the biggest part of the pier catch again this week, but that may change soon. Many pluggers have been doing very well with Spanish mackerel and filling their limits regularly. Other fish being caught include trout (speckled and gray), spots, blowfish, drum (red and black), dogfish, pompano, flounder and bluefish. A king mackerel hasn't yet been landed from one of the local piers, but a few have hit the planks down south and it could begin here at any time. There are still a few of the big Hatteras bluefish around to keep things interesting as they try to steal baits from the end-of-the-pier fishermen.
In the inshore waters, trout and drum continue to bite pretty well and more flounder are finding their way into local catches. Several guides and fishermen said we just had the best week yet for flounder and the flounder numbers are several weeks ahead of last year.
There was only 1.5 pounds separating the top three fish in last weekend's Carteret County Sportfishing Association Cobia Tournament and all of them weighed more than 80 pounds. The winner was decided by only .1 pound or 1.6 ounces. Congratulations to Jeremy Cannon for winning the tournament with an 83.3 pounder. Congratulations also to Michael Tickle and Adam Price for finishing second and third respectively with cobia of 83.2 and 81.8 pounds.
The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament begins this Saturday with the Ladies Big Rock and winds up Next Saturday. Daily weigh-ins will be on the Morehead City waterfront. For more information visit www.thebigrock.com or call 252-247-3575.