I hope you folks have been enjoying the cooler weather. I'm looking forward to some of the fish it has been moving and concentrating, but I have to admit I'm concerned with how quickly it caused the water temperatures in some areas to drop. I've heard some really mixed fishing reports this week, but so far the majority have been good.
The wind hasn't been anybody's friend the past few weeks either. It is laying out some now and currently looks to be pretty good on Friday, then really nice on Saturday, but bumping back up to 15-20 for most areas on Sunday and Monday. Unless something changes, we might want to try hitting the open water today (Friday) and tomorrow.
This morning Bogue Inlet Pier is reporting the water temperature in the surf at 58 degrees. That is a few degrees cooler than I would like, but maybe the sunshine and slightly warming temperatures over the weekend will get it to ease back into the lower 60s. I'd like to see it moderate and hold there for a few weeks.
I've had several good reports of spots in the past week from all along the coast. The good catches have been reported from inside waters and the piers. The channels around Middle Marsh have been busy as has the Morehead City Turning Basin, Gallants Channel at Beaufort, the Intracoastal Waterway Channel from the Emerald Isle Bridge to the White Oak River in Swansboro, the New River and Intracoastal Waterway intersection at Sneads Ferry, Several spots in the Intracoastal Waterway and Banks Channel behind Topsail, where Snows Cut runs into the Cape Fear River, the Oak Island Coast Guard Station Channel at Southport, Lockwood Folly Inlet at the Intracoastal Waterway between Oak Island and Holden Beach and the Crossroads at Calabash.
One thing has been constant about the spot bite. Most fishermen are saying they are catching spots the best on synthetic bloodworms. The Fishbites Bag-O-Worms is always mentioned, with Bass Assassin Blurp strips and Berkley Gulp Bloodworms. Of course real bloodworms will still catch spots too. They're just a little harder to find and must be kept cool.
Other notable inside catches were gray trout in the Morehead City Turning Basin, Beaufort Inlet, around Middle Marsh, in the Dead Tree Hole, at Johns Creek Rock, Sheepshead Rock, the WOFES and McGlammery Reef. Flounder fishing has also been good in Beaufort Inlet, Bardens Inlet, the hook at Cape Lookout, Bogue Inlet, Browns Inlet, Snows Cut and on the nearshore ocean artificial reefs. Speckled trout have been in most coastal river and creeks and a few are moving to the surf and along the jetties at Cape Lookout and Masonboro Inlet and red drum have been in the marshes and surf along most of the state. Fishermen said the gray trout were hitting stingsilvers and speck rigs, while the flounder liked live baits or strips and the specks and reds would hit live baits, grubs and MirrOlures.
Most of the fish were legal size except the flounder. Several fishermen reported that more than 2/3 of the flounder were under the minimum size and had to be released. On the opposite end of the spectrum, several fishermen reported catching drum that were longer than the slot maximum of 27 inches.
For those with enough clothes to handle the nighttime cold, there were also trout being caught under the lights of the Morehead City area high-rise bridges at night. Both speckled and gray trout were there. The preference was for live shrimp or minnows, but they were also hitting grubs.
The biggest problem with fishing around the bridges at night has been the bluefish. They are voracious, immediately eating anything that comes by them and the trout have been holding under the bluefish. One fisherman said he addressed the problem by casting well up current of where he wanted to fish and then eased his bait along the bottom back to where he wanted to fish. He said it wasn't foolproof, but it sure helped.
Pier fishermen have been doing well also. Even with the rapidly cooling water in the surf, pier fishermen have been catching a variety of fish. Black drum, red drum, speckled trout, sea mullet, flounder, bluefish and spots have been filling coolers at the piers. A few Spanish mackerel were caught last weekend, but the rapidly cooling water has pushed them away. Most pier fishermen think the Spanish are gone for the year.
Capt. Dave Dietzler reported good action with false albacore in the last few days. He said the northeast wind and cooling water had brought them in just off the beach between Beaufort Inlet and Cape Lookout. Small fast moving lures or flies always seem to be the right choice for the fat alberts.
The cooling water has pushed the kings offshore a bit most king fishermen feel it will take running about 15 miles offshore to find them in most areas. Several reports from Hatteras this week show the big kings are beginning to concentrate there in the areas from the Bad bottoms off to the Smell Wreck.
The wahoo bite had been pretty good for the last few weeks when the boats could get out and it should pick back up where it was. The tuna bite is improving off Hatteras and Oregon Inlet and could move south at any time. A few dolphin and sailfish are still around also, but their numbers are dwindling.
Another black tiger shrimp was caught in New River this week. This is the third of these huge Asian shrimp that have been reported in N.C. waters this year. One of the others was also caught in roughly the same location in New River, while the third was caught in the ocean off Southport. The shrimp caught this week was almost a foot long and weighed 1/4 pound. Fishery biologists are concerned with how the shrimp got into N.C. waters and what affects they might have on other shrimp and fish.
I tried bass fishing again this week, but with limited success. However, I got to try out a new kayak and that was good. I was in Greensboro and arranged with Get:Outdoors, a canoe/kayak outfitter in Greensboro, to borrow one of their demo boats to get out on a local lake.
The boat I borrowed was an Ultimate Multisport 14.5 with PROPEL pedal drive. This boat is made by Native Watercraft, which is a division of Legacy Paddlesports in Greensboro. This is a 14.5 foot long hybrid canoe kayak cross, with a pedal drive. The pedal drive is basically a small outboard-like lower unit that raises and lowers through a well in the hull and it has a set of pedals at the top. They are fairly new and I had been wanting to try one. The folks at Get:Outdoors were kind enough to let me have theirs for the day.
The PROPEL handled well and was extremely quick. I was able to cover a lot of water, but the bass just weren't cooperative. I think the wind had them spooked a little too. I managed a few strikes and a small fish, but nothing to be excited about. If you would like more information on the PROPEL 14.5, visit their website at www.nativewatercraft.com. You can also call Get:Outdoors at 800-450-6819 or visit them on-line at www.getoutdoors.us.
Friday night I visited the Fayetteville Area Anglers Network (FANN) at their FAAN Beach Blast, held Friday and over the weekend at Carolina Beach State Park. We talked about fishing opportunities, both ocean and inside waters, in the area and specifically with the weather conditions they would be facing over the weekend. This is a unique group that really isn't a club (there is a membership, but no dues), but a group of folks who get together monthly for programs, to talk fishing or go on outings like this one.
Even with the threatening weather, there were over a dozen fishermen gathered in the campground at Carolina Beach. I believe it was the excellent treat of the low-country boil prepared by founder Tom Carpenter that lured the folks in rather than the speaker, but I really enjoyed their company and hope I gave them a few weather alternatives (Sleeping in was my personal favorite and top recommendation--at least on Saturday). The weather gave us a break also as we were able to finish the excellent dinner and our fishing discussion before the rains came. For more information on the Fayetteville Area Anglers Network, visit their website at www.fayettevilleanglers.com or contact Carpenter at email@example.com.
I did not get this reminder in time for last week's report and I apologize for being late, but tomorrow (Oct. 31) is the last day to comment on the proposed bombing range expansion in Pamlico Sound. According to the Marine Corps, the reason for the expansion is for more operational flexibility in the use of 50 caliber machine guns mounted on patrol boats and helicopters. That may be true, but the expansion will place a lot of productive water and channels off-limits to commercial and recreational fishermen and boaters.
The Marine Corps appears to be trying to push this issue through on an Environmental Assessment (EA) and no findings of significant impact before the public can react. Comments must be written and either mailed to: Environmental Affairs Department (Range EA)--Natural Resources Division--PSC Box 8006--Cherry Point, NC 28533 or faxed to the same folks at 252-466-2000.
This is the last week to take part in a survey for a N.C. Parks Statewide Plan update. The survey is about the recreational resource needs for state parks and is just a few questions they believe will be helpful in planning future facilities and programs. Several of the questions are about fishing piers and boat ramps. The survey closes Nov. 7. To take part in the survey, visit www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=g9lToqZTXiQqIuIDWgPdbA_3d_3d.
The windy weather over last weekend caused several tournaments to be rescheduled. A couple of tournaments are on tap for this weekend and the Gordie McAdams Speckled Trout Surf Fishing Tournament at Emerald Isle runs through November 29. For more information visit www.emeraldisle-nc.org/eiprd or call the Emerald Isle Parks and Recreation Department at 252-354-6350.
The Calcutta Wahoo Challenge scheduled for last weekend in Morehead City has been re-scheduled for November 5-8. Wednesday was the Captains Meeting and Final Registration, with Thursday through Saturday being the fishing days. For more information visit www.calcuttawahoo.com.
The Cedar Point King Mackerel Tournament at Swansboro that was postponed from two weeks ago has been postponed again until November 1. For more information call 252-342-3589.
The Fall Brawl King Classic originally scheduled for last weekend in Ocean Isle has been re-scheduled for this weekend, October 31 to November 2. Friday is the Final Registration and Captains Meeting, with participants choosing either Saturday or Sunday to fish. For more information, visit www.oifc.com or call 910-575-3474.