For the past several weeks, I have opened this column talking about the tropical depression or tropical storm that was headed our way. Thankfully that is not the case this week. However, in the past week Subtropical Storm Gustav brushed us on the ocean side early in the week and then Tropical Storm/Depression Hanna brushed by on the inland side later in the week. At the time I put this column together last week, TS/TD Hanna had not even formed and by late Saturday and early Sunday it had already rushed right by. At present, it looks like we may have a week that is simply the usual workings between high pressures and low pressures, with a weak cold front thrown in for good measure.
A recent press release from the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries heralds the fact that four state records have already been broken this year. The last time that happened was in 1979. We have another three and a half months to go so there is plenty of time for another state record to be broken. If that happens, it will set two records, as it will be a first for five records to be broken in the same year.
The new records include a 61 pound albacore (this is a true albacore or white meat tuna-not the false albacore or little tunny that are so popular with fly fishermen and light tackle enthusiasts) that was caught by Timothy Burns on June 11. Burns, of Milford, New Jersey, was fishing on the charter boat Haphazard, out of Oregon Inlet. On May 1, Robert Spencer caught a 39 pound blackfin tuna, to set the new mark in that species. Spencer, of Smithfield, Virginia, was fishing on the charter boat Rigged Up, out of Oregon Inlet. Jesse Dunlow was fishing with a friend on May 25, when he landed a 105 pound cobia. Dunlow, of Windsor, NC, was fishing out of Hatteras. May 8 was the big day for Kevin Valla, of Havelock, NC. Valla was fishing on the head boat Capt. Stacy IV, when he landed his 2 pound and 11 ounce pinfish. Congratulations to all.
Maybe there are some other record fish waiting to be caught in our improving fishing conditions. In spite of the weather, there were some excellent catches over the past week. Baitfish are pouring out almost every inlet and in most cases there are some predators waiting on them. The rainwater of the past several weeks has found its way to the coast and is cooling off the sounds and nearshore ocean. As the water cools, more fish are becoming active and feeding heavily. The few reports that we are getting are basically good and once the weather settles and more people go fishing, the reports should be even better.
Some kings have moved right on in to the beach to check out the coastal buffet. Bogue Inlet Pier, in Emerald Isle, set the pace with four on Sunday. Many nearshore rocks, wrecks, and artificial reefs have been producing some more fish and that trend should continue. There are also numerous bottom feeders around the piers, in the surf, and in many inshore sounds and waterways.
Red drum continue to bite well in the marshes and inlets. They have been joined by black drum and some larger speckled trout. Topwater baits have been very effective in catching the larger trout.
Effective October 1, the minimum size for inside waters flounder will increase to 14 inches. The inside flounder season has been good and with more fishing pressure than in previous years. The combination of these factors made the larger minimum size necessary to meet the restricted harvest numbers that were set earlier in the year. For more information see the News Flash elsewhere on this site.
Capt. Jerry Dilsaver