Wow! Weren't those 70 degree days in the middle of the week nice? It's a shame the wind started blowing up again on Thursday, as many folks were hoping to take advantage of the sun and warmth that afternoon. I guess this is just a little teaser of what is around the corner and I'll sure be glad to get there.
Unfortunately we will be having at least one more shot of cold weather before spring can arrive. After being in the mid-70's during the middle of the week, we are dropping back into the frigid zone for the weekend. The fall begins today with highs in the high 40's and low 50's through early next week.
It's going to be fairly windy too! A gale wasn't forecast, but a special wind warning was issued for Thursday into Friday and it isn't supposed to back off a lot until Monday. We are looking at a cold and windy weekend. It could be a good time to find a heavily sheltered creek or maybe to visit one of the shows.
Once again there weren't a lot of folks fishing this week, but this time there were some really good reports from those who ventured out. After hearing some of them I'm chomping at the bit to get out on the water.
Another week has passed with no bluefin tuna reports or striper reports other than the rivers and Outer Banks. It might be time to declare them gone for the spring. With the good reports coming in from other fish, I don't believe many folks will be chasing them any longer this year.
Several boats took advantage of the small weather windows in the past week to head offshore. Most had catches worth bragging about. There are pretty good reports of yellowfin tuna, blackfin tuna and wahoo along temperature breaks. There were temperature breaks reported just a little south of the Big Rock and the Steeples. These breaks will undoubtedly be gone after this wind event passes, but hopefully several more will move in to take their place.
It isn't quite time for the offshore fishing to get hot, but after our mild winter, it appears to be getting a head start. Many of the charter boats are finishing up their spring maintenance and getting ready to go. You may want to schedule your spring tune-up before the line gets too long. Several dealers are saying they have a backlog.
Those same small weather windows that hinder getting to the Gulf Stream are also playing havoc with the king fishermen. There has been a pretty consistent king mackerel bite in 65 to 67 degree water about 30 to 40 miles offshore. Three general areas are off the Smell Wreck at Hatteras, offshore of 14 Buoy and over around the Papoose and Naeco off Cape Lookout and northeast of Frying Pan Light Tower off Southport.
Even the Outer Banks stripers weren't biting well this week. As more boats begin to concentrate on heading out for tuna, the reports will drop off even more. There has been a very consistent bite of smaller stripers around Manns Harbor.
The good striper reports continue to come from the Neuse River around New Bern. Most of these are smaller fish, but they haven't been too picky on what they will bite and they pull back well. There are also a few larger ones mixed in to occasionally bump your adrenaline output. Around the bridges are good places to begin fishing.
I didn't get speckled trout reports from the Outer Banks or southern coast this week. There probably are some around, but the weather is hindering fishing for them. The speckled trout bite continues to plug along at the Cape Lookout jetty. This past week, some specks were also caught from the surf and piers along Bogue Banks.
The piers aren't open yet and some of them won't open this year. Add Triple S Pier to the list of those that won't reopen and there are questions regarding Sportsmans Pier. Most of the remaining piers will begin reopening around the middle of March and all should be open by early April.
There are some red drum along the ocean beaches and just inshore along most of the N.C. coast. A hotspot has been around the Cape Lookout jetty, along the Cape Lookout Shoals and in the surf and just offshore of Shackleford and Bogue Banks. Some of the reports from this area mention schools so large the suspected numbers are over 1,000. The sizes run from shorts, through the slot, to oversize fish.
The reports from inland have the shad fishing picking up in the Cape Fear, Neuse and Tar Rivers, plus many adjoining creeks. If you don't know these waters or don't have a smaller boat and want to give it a try, the bite is good enough from the banks around Lock and Dam Number 1 near Riegelwood, Highway 70 boat ramp in Kinston and the Town Commons in Greenville to keep your attention.
The Eastern Carolina Boat Show is at Overton's in Greenville this weekend and the Dixie Deer Classic is at the N.C. State Fairgrounds in Raleigh.
The North Carolina Sportsman Magazine 2006 Fishing Schools Series began last weekend with a big crowd in North Myrtle Beach. The closest of these events will be in Greenville on March 18 and is only two weeks away. The other event will be in Holly Springs (Raleigh area) next Saturday, March 11. Call 1-800-538-4355 or visit www.northcarolinasportsman.com for more information.