Wasn't last week and the weekend something? It got a bit bumpy on Sunday, but was probably the best stretch of weather we have had so far this year. This should continue for a while, with Wednesday and Wednesday night being a bit breezy from the Topsail area to the north and stay much like last week to the south. Maybe there is something about welcoming in the fall---The summer has been windy, and now the first few days of fall are much nicer.
Even though it is over 1500 miles away, our weather forecasters are already warning us about Hurricane Isodore. It slammed the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico over the weekend and brought up to 20 inches of rain. While it remains in the Gulf of Mexico, it is forecast to gain some strength and make a move by midweek. Some forecasters, including Rob Gilliam of Coastal Weather Services, think that it may follow much the same path as Tropical Storm Hanna, several weekends ago. While I wouldn't wish the destruction and flooding on anyone, we could still use some rain.
Last week I briefly mentioned that the minimum size for flounder caught in inside waters would increase to 14 inches on October 1. This will go into effect, while there will still not be a limit on the number that an individual can keep. The change was mandated to meet the restricted harvest numbers that were established by the National Marine Fisheries Service in conjunction with the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. My question is: Couldn't we have established a reasonable limit (15 fish per person was the number on some North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries surveys) and left the minimum size stand at 13 inches? In the ocean, we already have a limit of 8 fish per person.
The king mackerel finally appear to be moving in to the beaches. This past weekend, many of the prize winning kings from the Wrightsville Beach King Mackerel Tournament were caught in and around the Cape Fear River Sea Buoy. In spite of the higher-than-normal water temperatures, the mullets are pouring out the inlets and the kings are moving in for a snack. Congratulations to Carl Cliver and the crew of the Jus Rite for winning the Wrightsville Beach King Tournament with a 36.60 pound king.
The NC/SC/Ga Governor's Cup Billfish Conservation Series Shootout is coming to Town Creek Marina in Beaufort this Thursday through Saturday, September 26 to 28. This tournament pits the top five boats from each state's billfish series, in a quest for bragging rights. Almost as if on cue, some billfish showed up around the Big Rock over this past weekend. While Saturday was better than Sunday, there were reports of blue marlin, white marlin, and sailfish. It will be interesting to see what the top 15 billfish boats in the southeast come up with.
In the inside waters, red drum continue to lead the hit parade. With the full moon tide over the weekend, nice drum were cruising the marsh grass in search of small crabs, shrimp, and minnows. This will slow some this week, but the drum will still be cruising the marsh edges. Big drum were also caught around the marsh points and islands in Pamlico Sound. Even though the water is still a little warm, the trout activity is picking up well. From Hatteras to Sunset Beach, there are reports of good catches of nice size speckled trout. There are also some good reports of gray trout from Morehead City to the north.
Capt. Jerry Dilsaver