It seems the weather change that has been forecast for the past few days is happening as I am writing this week's report. The wind has turned to the northwest and the temperature has dropped a few degrees. While our fall fishing has been getting better, even with the hot days and water temperatures, this could be the shot that drops the temperatures to where they should be and really sends fishing into overdrive.
The cold front is forecast to swoop in from the northwest and drop the temperatures while blowing fairly briskly from the northwest on Friday, then easing off a bit and switching more to the north. This isn't a mullet blow, but maybe it will have a similar effect. Winds should be back to below 10 knots by Sunday.
After the front passes, the forecast is for us to warm again, but not to the record and near record highs of this week. If the cool nights and mornings stay with us, the fishing should be really good.
The fishing report continues to be basically pretty good and we are waiting on it to improve. While the temperatures of both the water and the air haven't been indicative, and have made it easy to forget and think we were still in the middle of summer, we are at the middle of October and the fishing should be good.
The broken record continues with the bluefish report. They are almost everywhere in the nearshore ocean and around the inlets in the inshore waters, biting almost anything and are almost a sure thing. Fresh bluefish taste good to me and they are one of the best fighting fish in the ocean. If the 20 pounders fought pound for pound like the 2 pounders, it would take marlin tackle to land them.
King mackerel are still along the beaches. There have been numerous kings caught from the piers, including a 17 pounder from Bogue Inlet Pier Wednesday morning. There have also been some nice ones caught by boat fishermen just beyond the ends of the piers. I heard of several in the 30's and 40's from the Beaufort Inlet Channel up through the Dead Tree Hole area to Cape Lookout. There were 30 kings over 30 pounds weighed at last weekend's US Open King Mackerel Tournament in Southport and all were caught within sight of land.
Capt. Ray Massengill of Down East Guide Service called Tuesday about noon to say he had a charter off Cape Lookout and was nearing their limit of 15 to 20 pounders and had released several larger fish. A similar report was echoed by Craig Odom in the ship channel on Saturday. The baitfish are there and the kings have moved in to feed on them.
Early this week I received an e-mail from my webmaster, Capt. Benny Herring, who also runs Maps Unique Electronic Version. Benny had been out fishing with his neighbor and caught a 41 pound king. He said they were right on the beach, near one of the piers on Topsail Island.
The large red drum fishing in Pamlico Sound and the lower Neuse River continues to be good. More fish are moving to the inlets and surf, but the inside bit hasn't ended just yet. They have been caught from up the Neuse River around Oriental out to Cedar Island and Royal Shoal. For about the past week, there has been one or two caught each night at the Ocracoke points and Cape Point at Buxton. Probably more amazing is many fishermen during the US Open King Mackerel Tournament at Southport reported catching red drum of 40 to 50 inches while trolling for kings off the Brunswick County beaches during the tournament.
There are enough gray trout around to make things interesting. Some of the more well-know spots are the Morehead City Turning Basin, Middle Marsh, Dead Tree Hole and off the end of the Cape Lookout Jetty. With the water still being rather warm, the gray trout have been a little hit or miss, but good at times.
Capt. Noah Lynk, of Noah's Ark Charters, has been catching them pretty regularly and seeing lots of fish in the 2-3 pound range. Lynk said he is within sight of several of these spots, but fishing holes along the edges of the areas that don't get fished as hard as the main areas. Don't forget the bridges, especially at night, as good spots for gray trout.
The pier report is lots of bluefish and spot, with some sea mullet, Spanish mackerel, gray trout and king mackerel. For the spots and most of the other bottomfish, bloodworms or the Fishbites artificial bloodworm strips are the preferred baits. The blues and Spanish like got-Cha's closer to the offshore end of the piers.
There has been a good spot bite in Gallants Channel near the drawbridge for several days. There is just enough beach there for fishermen to walk and cast into the channel. There has also been a spot bite, though not quite as good, from the new county pier beside the Radio Island high-rise bridge. There is no charge to fish from this pier.
Spots are also beginning to bite in near the inlets in the creeks and Intracoastal Waterway. The concentration of spot yachts near the Emerald Isle Bridge is growing daily. As the bite continues to improve the boat numbers will grow.
The inshore speckled trout and puppy drum bite was good again this week. There are a lot of smaller, but legal, specks, but there are some braggin' size ones mixed in. The hottest reports are coming from the Haystacks behind Morehead City, but that may change with the cold front this weekend. It's about time for the bigger trout to move in along the Cape Lookout Jetty.
Puppy drum continue to bite well in the marshes, plus the pups and some yearling drum have moved into the surf. They are often in the deeper sloughs, just behind sand bars near the inlets, but can be almost anywhere along the beach. Several fishermen have reported schools large enough to give the water a reddish tint.
It has been a slow year for flounder and I didn't hear a report this week. Inshore, a good place to find flounder is on the slope where shallow water drops into a channel or slough and baitfish pass with the tide. This bottom contour is often found near the inlets. The nearshore ocean artificial reefs have been the most consistent spots so far this year.
For those with boats big enough to make the trip in the changing conditions, the wahoo bite continues to be strong. Fishermen are also seeing dolphin, an occasional sailfish and a few tuna (mostly blackfin south of Cape Hatteras).
Unfortunately there wasn't a king landed during the Bogue Inlet Pier King Tournament. Then, the bite stared this week with Greg Gant's 17 pounder.
The US Open King Mackerel Tournament was last weekend at Southport. Capt Charles Fisher and the crew of the Teezer led the field with a 41 pounder. The US Open pays 55 places and it took a king heavier than 25 pounds to make the board. This really makes things look good for the Atlantic Beach King Mackerel Tournament next weekend.
Several area fishermen qualified for the Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series Championship in Orange Beach, Alabama last weekend. Capt. Randall Edens and the crew of the East Coast Sports, were the highest placing Carolinians at 13th place.
The Oh Boy O'Berto Redfish Cup trail visited Morehead City last weekend in conjunction with the Seafood Festival. There are no locals on this trail, but they found many red drum in the waters from Pamlico Sound to Swansboro. Team Lake & Bay Boats, Mike Friday and Danny Latham of Punta Gorda, Florida, won the three-day tournament.
This weekend the CCA-NC Inside & Out Tournament will be held in Morehead City and Beaufort. The final registration is at Morehead Marine Friday evening and fishermen will weigh at Town Creek Marina Saturday afternoon. Call 919-781-FISH (3474) or visit www.ccanc.org for more details.