We've had a couple of blows since last week, but it looks like the nice weather will be returning starting today. After the temperatures had been so unseasonably warm for so long, the cold snap last Saturday was brutal. The gale force winds didn't help it a bit either.
We had another blow in the middle of this week, but some folks went fishing during the weather window on Monday and there was at least one big surprise. The winds are falling out some as I write this and the temperatures are supposed to rise over the weekend. Maybe we'll have some good things to report next week.
The schools of menhaden are still gathering around the end of Cape Lookout Shoals and to the east and hopefully the bluefins and stripers will soon find them. To my recollection, this is the slowest bluefin season since we first realized they winter here and that was over 10 years ago.
There were a few bluefins caught this past week, but not what anyone had hoped for. The windy weather played a definite part in the slow fishing, but it appears they just haven't arrived yet.
There were a few rumors of some bluefin being caught down near Frying Pan Shoals last Thursday and Friday, but most folks just held them as rumors. That bubble was burst on Monday, when Capt. John "QB" Quattlebaum and the crew on QB's Sea Witch pulled a 308 pounder through the transom door just 9 miles offshore of Oak Island, near Lighthouse Rock.
That 84 inch fish ended the speculation and has a bunch of boats waiting for the current blow to fall out so they can give it a try. Quattlebaum said he was part of a 10 boat group that morning looking for the bluefins and 5 of them had bites. His was the only boat that landed one.
The Cape Fear bluefin action continued on Thursday. By noon I had heard there was one boat already headed in with one and others were still fishing. According to some of the fishermen, they are seeing some large schools of menhaden gathering in this area.
I didn't get a Cape Lookout striper report this week. They are still biting well from Ocracoke to the north. The heaviest activity is around Oregon Inlet.
The cold and windy weather slowed the speckled trout reports, but several local experts have said it didn't get cold enough long enough to shut down the bite entirely. They said this might be the last hurrah of the season for many inshore locations, but the bite should return pretty quickly in the Outer Banks surf, at the Cape Lookout Jetty and in some of the inside creeks in the southern part of the state.
Last weekend's cold temperatures shouldn't have been enough to run the puppy drum out of the creeks and marshes. Thankfully it didn't last very long. They should be back in their familiar haunts once the sun shines on the water for a few days.
This latest cold snap may be enough to move the larger drum off the beaches and out into deeper water. However, don't be surprised if you still find some in the surf or if you encounter them while bottom fishing at one of the closer in artificial reefs.
There is not a boat or fishing show in North Carolina this weekend. That changes next week when many area dealers will be at the relocated Raleigh Convention Center Boat Show and still others will be at the Eastern Carolina Boat Show in Williamston. The Raleigh Convention Center Boat Show is not in downtown Raleigh this year, as the Convention Center is being rebuilt. This show has been relocated to a large warehouse at 900 Aviation Parkway, (exit 285 on I-40).