Last week we had a fair bit of chop farther offshore, but the nearshore waters were pretty decent for the first few miles off the beach. Of course, with the northerly winds, it was better off the southerly facing beaches. Then, Friday started off a little breezy, but it layed out later in the day and was really nice for the weekend. Unfortunately it breezed back up in the last few days and has been a bit bumpy. The winds are supposed to come back to the south by this weekend, but right now the forecast is for a little more velocity than we would like.
For the first time in many weeks, there is not an active tropical system as I prepare this report. The cooler weather should be sticking around and making fishing better for both the fish and us. We will have a fairly stiff cold front roll across us before the weekend, but the wind should get back around to a southerly direction by the weekend. The good news is that the cooler temperatures have gotten the water temperatures to drop some. The water is still a little warmer than usual, but it is finally starting to cool. It was still 75 degrees yesterday off Southport.
Offshore, the wahoo bite continues to be red hot. Numerous boats are reporting catches of six or more. While the numbers are declining some, there are a good number of late season sailfish being caught. Yellowfin and blackfin tuna fishing is getting better, and there are still plenty of dolphin around. With a little less wind to contend with, the offshore catches would be even better.
The king mackerel fishing continues to be red hot. The kings have really shown up recently! They have been biting very well from Hatteras to the NC/SC State Line. The first real bite of big kings off Hatteras came last Friday. There was a king or two over 50, and several in the 40's. Off Southport, the hottest spot has been the Lighthouse Rock chain. Off Cape Lookout, the area from the Cape Lookout jetty out to the Rock Barge has been holding a good concentration of kings, while the larger kings are being caught across Lookout Shoals at 30 Minute Rock, East Rock, and some of those places.
Congratulations to Randy Griffin and the crew of the Wild Ride. The king they thought might go 40 pounds on Saturday didn't quite make it, but at 39.85 pounds it was large enough to claim the win in the Fall Brawl King Mackerel Tournament. Shana Griffin was also awarded the Top Lady Angler Award for landing the big king. The Southern Kingfish Association Pro King Tour comes to Morehead City this weekend at Coral Bay Marina. Call 252-247-4231 for more information.
The few piers I passed over the weekend were loaded to the max. This is usually a good clue that the spots are running. Pier fishing all along the NC coast has been really good for the past week or so and should get better for another couple of weeks. In addition to the spots, there are sea mullet, gray trout, speckled trout, flounder, red drum, black drum, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, and king mackerel being caught almost daily. Several pier owners are reporting that the best catches of larger spots are coming later in the day and at night.
Red drum are biting well from the marshes to the surf. Gray trout catches continue to pick up weekly. The same is true for speckled trout fishing. Spot are also running strong along the Intracoastal Waterway and sounds. When you anchor to fish for the spots, please remember that it is illegal and unsafe to be blocking a marked channel. Anchor at the side of the channel and cast over into it.
Capt. Jerry Dilsaver