Hey, we finally had a pretty good weekend, in spite of a small Tropical Depression that flared up off Georgia during the day on Friday. Some weather forecasters had the surprise storm headed up the coast on Saturday, but a few heavy rainstorms were all that made it into North Carolina. Many fishermen said that Saturday was very possibly the best weekend fishing weather so far this year. It may not have been that quite all that good, but it sure was a welcome change.
The wind blew last week like forecast and began falling out on Thursday. Now it is puffing up again for this week. Maybe by the weekend it will have fallen out to a good comfort level for even the small boats. With the stifling humidity, thunderstorms are a possibility at almost any time. While you are out fishing, keep an eye peeled towards the sky and plan to vacate the area if a serious cloud looks to be approaching.
The good reports form inside the inlets is red drum, flounder, and tarpon. The flounder and small red drum are scattered all along the coast with concentrations around most inlets and creek or river mouths. Tarpon are being caught in Pamlico Sound around Brant Island Shoal and the mouth of the Neuse River. Some large red drum are also being caught in this same area at night.
According to several fishermen, The African pompano "Bit like bulldogs" again out at Frying Pan Light Tower, off Southport. Most of these were larger fish also, with many fish in the high 20's and low 30's. The kings bit well over the weekend. There were several caught from the piers, including one at Sportsman's pier on a Got-Cha plug. They were on the beach from Beaufort Inlet south and a little farther offshore almost everywhere. In addition, Long Beach Pier had a 44 pound cobia on Saturday.
During the few days of really nice weather, there have been a lot of smaller boats that fished offshore. The primary fish in the offshore bite has been dolphin, but the billfish put in a good showing off Hatteras over the weekend. Congratulations are in order for the Godspeed, who had a Grand Slam on Saturday. A Grand Slam consists of a blue marlin, white marlin, and a sailfish. We should hear about more and more of these as we move into the prime white marlin time off the Outer Banks.
There has also been a pretty consistent tuna bite from Hatteras to the north. Some boats reported seeing deep blue Gulf Stream water as close as 120 to 150 feet deep. They also said that there were some good numbers of wahoo scattered through these shallower areas.
Congratulations to Brett and Alan Barnes, on the Hot Rod for catching a 40 pound king to win the King of the Cape Classic King Mackerel Tournament this past weekend in Southport. Alan was also the Top Junior Angler in the tournament. Congratulations also to Capt. Derek Jordan on the Kingfish for releasing 5 tarpon to win the Oriental Rotary Tarpon Tournament in Oriental.
This weekend there is a trio of tournaments for fishermen to choose from. The Ducks Unlimited Band the Billfish Tournament (252-247-2106 or www.ncdu.org) is July 31 to August 2 in Atlantic Beach, the Long Bay Lady Anglers King Mackerel Tournament (910-278-7524) is August 1 to 3 in Oak Island, and the Island Harbor Marina KenCraft Challenger King Mackerel Tournament (252-354-3106) is August 1 to 3 in Emerald Isle.
Capt. Jerry Dilsaver