While there have been some scattered thunderstorms, including a few which were pretty severe, our weather has been pretty good for the past week. It got a little windy several times, but conditions were fishable and, for the most part, the fish cooperated.
The forecast has our good weather continuing through this week and into the weekend. However, every day will be hot and some will be especially hot. Use lots of high SPF sun screen and drink lots of fluids, especially water and sports drinks.
The humidity has been and will remain very high. With these hot temperatures, the probability is high for some intense summer thunderstorms. Pay attention to the sky and when you see one building head for safe harbor.
The great offshore fishing continued through the weekend. The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament kicked off Saturday with a record-breaking 56 boats in the Ladies Big Rock Tournament. A blue marlin and several white marlin were released, plus some tuna, wahoo and lots of dolphin. Congratulations to Beth DiGuiseppe and the crew of the Town Creek Reveler for releasing a blue marlin to win the Ladies Big Rock.
The billfish bite was pretty intense from roughly Swansboro Hole to the Rock Pile. White marlin accounted for the majority of the action, but there were also blue marlin and sailfish. A new S.C. state record 881 pound blue marlin was caught last week off Charleston by Corky Taylor on the Rascal. Maybe those big fish will be off Morehead city this week for the Big Rock anglers.
The cobia bite is getting better and has spread along the entire N.C. coast. Probably the most interesting catch was an 88 pounder from the surf at Cape Point in Buxton.
With the warming water, the gray trout bite has slowed in some areas, but isn't quite over. They are biting from the surf, piers, in the Hatteras-Ocracoke Ferry Channel, Wallace Channel, the Morehead City Turning Basin and along the edges of the Beaufort Inlet Shipping Channel.
Bluefish are biting well along the entire N.C. coast. They are mixed from just over a pound to 10 pounds and larger.
There were a few more large red drum caught in the surf at Ocracoke Inlet and Cape Hatteras Point over the weekend. Boat fishermen found a large school just offshore on Diamond Shoals.
The inshore drum bite in the creeks and marshes remains good and includes everything from rats to big pups. There are also some speckled trout and nice black drum being caught.
The Spanish mackerel bite was especially hot this weekend. Several boats reported only being able to fish two lines.
The king mackerel are getting larger, but there are still some undersize ones mixed in with the schools of kings and Spanish.
Do not mistake these small kings for Spanish and keep them. The minimum size for kings is 24 inches and the limit is 3. For Spanish it is 12 inches minimum length and a limit of 15. Mackerel are measured from the tip of the nose to the middle of the fork of the tail.
The easiest way to identify large Spanish and small kings is the fingernail-size black spot at the front edge of the leading dorsal fin. If it has one, it is a Spanish. If not, it is a king.
Youngster Daniel Blanks had a great week at Ocean Crest Pier in Oak Island last week. Early in the week, the 12-year old landed a 49 pound cobia. Then, just to prove it wasn't a fluke, later in the week he landed a 36 pound king mackerel. Way to go Daniel!
Tropical Storm Arlene brewed up quickly last week and created some havoc in the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico. Thankfully she never got to hurricane force as many of those areas are still recovering from their barrage last year.
One of the casualties of TS Arlene was the Wal-Mart FLW King Mackerel Tournament in Venice, La. They fished on Friday, with the day beginning nice, but turning ugly really quickly during the afternoon. The Carolina fishermen must have felt right at home in the conditions as they clearly dominated the event.
Boats from N.C. or S.C. collected 20 of the top 40 slots, including 8 of the top 15. Congratulations to all, but especially to Capt. Tom Aberle and the crew of the Slip-N-Slide for catching a 56 pounder to claim the win. Aberle is from Wilmington and also runs the Greater Wilmington King Mackerel Tournament.
The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament (252-247-3575) began Monday and continues through Saturday. Daily weigh-ins are on the Morehead City waterfront. 168 boats are competing for over $1.3 million in cash prizes.
The Hatteras Marlin Club Blue Marlin Release Tournament (252-986-2454) begins next Monday.