Our warm winter may eventually have to surrender to higher forces, but it is holding on, kicking, clawing and screaming not to be driven off. Unfortunately it may be outweighed and outgunned by the winter weather that trained long and hard before finally making an appearance in the last several weeks.
We had some warms days in the middle of this week, but they have been banished again. Yep, a couple of days of warmer weather, which were merely routine a few weeks ago, came in during the middle of the week and had us smiling and thinking early spring again. Then, poof, they were gone and we are quickly moving back into the cold, and sometimes wet, winter many experts predicted we would see during February.
There will probably be a wind event also. I am doing this a couple of days early this week and don't have a good forecast through the weekend, but it looks like the wind will switch from southwest to northerly sometime on Friday and build to 15-20 knots and stay there at least through Saturday.
This may not be the weather we are wanting, but at least we aren't digging out from a blizzard like many of the larger cities north of us. We've done that digging out before and it isn't fun.
I haven't heard much about fishing over the past week. The weather wasn't very nice and a lot of folks stayed home. However, there were a few good reports from the several fishermen who ventured forth in the last week.
I didn't hear any bluefin tuna reports this week. Now the commercial bluefin season has closed, it doesn't seem to be as important to head out to catch one of these brutes. If I had to guess a spot for bluefins this week, I would say the roughly triangular area between the Trawler Buoy, Big 10 Rock and 14 Buoy.
Since the commercial bluefin tuna season closed, several boats have been heading offshore when a weather window presents itself. While I didn't hear of any particularly outstanding catches this week, I have heard about several wahoo, some schoolie yellowfin tuna, a few blackfin tuna, plus even a couple of dolphin and kings.
There has been a pretty consistent king bite when weather conditions allowed making the trip. There are some kings offshore of Hatteras and in both directions from 14 Buoy, but the best concentration has been down south, closer to Frying Pan Light Tower.
The scattered striper bite continues off Cape Lookout and Shackleford Banks. It isn't steady enough to feel like you will catch one if you go and fish, but it is steady enough people keep coming back and trying for them.
The Cape Lookout striper bite has been slow this week, like in most past weeks. The bite has been scattered along Shackleford Banks, in the Dead Tree Hole, along the edges of Cape Lookout Shoals and just off the beach up Core Banks toward Drum Inlet. This isn't a hot bite, but many fishermen feel the next cold front could be the one to crank it up.
The ocean striper bite is much better out of Oregon Inlet. The fish are still moving a lot and may be south one day and north the next, but they have been closer to the inlet for a couple of weeks now.
Speaking of stripers, there have been good reports of stripers from the Neuse River around New Bern. Most of these have been smaller fish, ranging from shorts to barely legal fish, but there are a few bigger ones mixed in. Around the Highway 17 and railroad bridges are good places to begin. The action has been best on cloudy days.
The speckled trout bite continues at the Cape Lookout jetty. Many locals say this is the latest they remember the speck bite lasting. If we don't have a serious freeze, with a longer period of cold weather, they may be around until spring.
Some puppy drum have also found the base of the Cape Lookout jetty to be a good winter home. There are also many juvenile red drums in many creeks and marshes. The secret to your successful drum trip is spotting them before they spook, then shutting down and creeping to within casting range.
Not a whole lot has been happening in the surf this week. A couple of nice trout catches came from the slough just east of Beaufort Inlet, along Shackle ford Banks. Several of the fishermen catching these fish, said the conditions made it easier to surf fish than to fish from a boat. If you went through Beaufort Inlet earlier this week and saw those empty boats anchored on the sound side of Shackleford Banks, it was trout fishermen anchoring and hiking across the island to fish.
There are several boat shows in N.C. this weekend and the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition returns to Charleston, S.C.. The boat shows this weekend are the Power and Sail Boat Show at the N.C. State Fairgrounds in Raleigh and the Hickory Boat Show at the Hickory Convention Center.
This Saturday will be the annual Open House/Customer Appreciation/Fishing School at Morehead Marine, Highways 24 and 70 in Morehead City.
North Carolina Sportsman Magazine has announced the dates of their 2006 fishing schools. This year they will offer this excellent event at 3 locations. The closest location is in Greenville on March 18 and is only a month away. The other 2 are sooner, with one in N. Myrtle Beach on February 25 and the other in Holly Springs (Raleigh area) on March 11. Call 1-800-538-4355 or visit www.northcarolinasportsman.com for more information.