The warmer temperatures originally forecast for this week never arrived, but we got the gusty winds in spades. The wind is still howling right now, but is supposed to drop out and give us a decent fishing day on Saturday. It'll be cool, actually real cool, but the swell and wind will be down for the first time since Monday.
Once again the wind will be coming from several directions leading into the weekend. It is from the south right now, but supposed to go to the west and then back to the north. At least with northerly winds the water along the southern facing beaches begins to clear.
As much as I hate to admit it, there isn't a whole lot of fishing going on right now. It is mostly due to the wind but for different reasons. Strong winds, especially from the south, often muddy up the water and keeps fish from feeding. Strong winds also keep many boats at the dock.
The big news right now is bluefin tuna. Unfortunately, it is just as often news from them not being caught as it is from good catches. There are some bluefin around, but the numbers are low and the weather is keeping the bite unpredictable.
There was a fair catch of bluefins last Wednesday and then a good catch on Thursday and by the weekend the highways looked like a boat show as fishermen poured into town in pursuit of them. Unfortunately the bite shut down over the weekend and only a few were caught on Monday. I haven't heard of any significant catches since then.
When they bit, the places mentioned were between the Trawler Buoy and Big 10 Rock, west of the shoals and off Drum and Ocracoke Inlets on the east side. The bite has been a little better closer to Hatteras, but headed down our way. The catch has been slow enough the closed commercial days have been waived for this weekend, so you may see some commercial boats out bluefin fishing also.
There is a story of one boat that battled a huge tuna all day Monday and into the night. After thinking they finally had it under control, the tuna went berserk when they gaffed and harpooned it and ripped them out, broke the line and escaped. One of the fishermen on the boat had caught a 600 pounder previously and said this fish could have swallowed that one. WOW!
Weather has seriously handicapped most fishing very far from shore for the past several weeks. There are still some kings but they are out beyond 80 feet deep. The better king bite has been a little offshore, around some of the other wrecks between Cape Lookout and Cape Hatteras. Several nice kings have been caught in that area by boats pursuing bluefin.
With the brisk winds and choppy water, it has been difficult to see and chase fat alberts, but there are still some around. The trout fishermen always complain about catching them around the Cape Lookout jetty and one day earlier this week they bit well across the shoals, just east of Cape Lookout.
I think almost all of the ocean piers have closed for the winter. However, several dedicated pier fishermen are reporting occasional good catches of trout, sea mullet and red drum.
While I went Monday, just after the wind switched briefly to the south and shut the bite down, and didn't have much action, the speckled trout are biting really well right now. I fished a slough along Shackleford for a while and then in the Newport River and only caught a few smaller specks.
Talk about adding insult to injury--Capt. Dave Dietzler e-mailed me they bit really well Tuesday morning in one of the spots where he saw me only catch one on Monday afternoon. There are still a lot of undersize specks being caught, but there are some really nice ones too.
The speckled trout still prefer live shrimp to any other bait. If you can't find them to catch yourself, many tackle shops are stocking them. Live mullet minnows are a reasonable second choice, with hard and soft plastics next in line.
The red drum are in the marshes from Core Sound South and biting pretty well. Most are from just below to just above the slot size. There are also some of these same fish, plus a few larger ones, being caught in the surf. The red drum are in the surf along the entire coast.
The stripers have been biting pretty well from the Va. state line down to Cape Hatteras and are just really beginning to turn the corner at Hatteras and continue south. A few stripers have been caught along Core Banks, around Drum Inlet and by some of the boats fishing for bluefin tuna.
Many of the larger boats are beginning to focus on bluefin tuna and fishing closer to shore. There are still some wahoo and occasional tuna offshore, but the weather just hasn't been conducive for making that run.