This has been a rather mundane week for me both personally and for fishing. I wanted to get some things done, but seemed to stay bogged down in getting ready to do them. I guess that comes from my eastern N.C. redneck heritage. What do you expect from someone from an area where people are always "fixin' to" do things? I guess my fixin' to needs a little repair itself.
At least it wasn't a super weekend to be fishing. In spite of the forecast, we managed to slide by without rain on Friday and Saturday, but on Sunday it caught back up to us. Along the coast, we're still behind the curve on rainfall and drought conditions, but the folks upstate may be just about caught up. I'm almost glad this weekend is shaping up to be windy, as I've heard so much from the inland shad and striper fishermen about the big slug of dirty rainwater runoff that is headed our way down the rivers.
Mother Nature might need to step up and lend a hand to get it done, but it's time for spring to take over. Even the calendar says so. Spring is scheduled to arrive during the day Friday and I'm willing to help roll out the red carpet.
We are looking at another windy weekend. The forecast has small craft advisories though Saturday evening along the whole coast, with them going away from south to north through Sunday afternoon. Sunday that forecast remains just for waves and the forecasters are a little undecided on what Monday might bring.
While it might not be quite as quickly as we would like, the water is warming. Bogue Inlet Pier is reporting 53 degrees in the surf and Capt. Dave Dietzler, www.capelookoutcharters.com, said several afternoons this week he saw it at 60 degrees back in the creeks at low tide.
Dietzler said he was catching some specks and reds both in the creeks and along the surf. He also said he found a school of fat Alberts on the east beach at Cape Lookout, but they were being picky and weren't in the mood to eat.
I have heard a couple of rumblings about some fish in the Morehead city Turning Basin, but haven't been able to verify it. The word is some early gray trout, black drum and sea mullet have been caught. We used to think some grays and sea mullet might be around by the middle of March, so it's not too far fetched.
While there haven't been a lot of days to head offshore, the reports have been fairly promising. There are numerous reports of wahoo and blackfin tuna, with a few scattered yellowfin tuna, but now there are even some dolphin being caught. This is happening all along the state, with reports coming from off Cape Fear and Cape Lookout, plus a little off Cape Hatteras.
There has been a growing bluefin tuna bite off Hatteras and Oregon Inlet. Anglers are catching a lot of 50 to 75 inch bluefins. There are also some blackfins, yellowfins and this week even a couple of bigeye tuna were reported. With all these little spots of action all around, it should be long before things really take off.
In that area near the break, but inside of the Gulf Stream, some folks have been combining kings and bottom bouncing trips. I love to mix the first blistering run of kings with the bulldog stubbornness of grouper. It is definitely the best of two worlds.
Black sea bass are still being caught between the beach and the grouper. It's about time for the big hump-headed spawners to arrive. That is some good fishing and even better eating.
This week I head good things about the Neuse River shad bite and the word is they were all the way upriver to Goldsboro. I'm afraid the rainwater coming down the river will slow the bite for a while, but it had been good and getting better. The shad bite was also improving in the Cape Fear River, near Riegelwood, and in the Roanoke River, near Weldon.
Once the shad have passed, the stripers shouldn't be very far behind. There are some in the coastal rivers, but the reports from the ocean off the Outer Banks have all but stopped. Stripers are working their way up the Roanoke, Pamlico, Tar, Neuse, Trent, Cape Fear and Northeast Cape Fear Rivers.
Flounder fishermen in the middle to northern section of the state have received a little good news. Effective April 1, the minimum size for flounder caught north of Browns Inlet will decrease from 15 1/2 inches to 15 inches. It will remain 14 inches south of Browns Inlet and the possession limit will stay at eight fish. Browns Inlet is at Camp Lejeune, between Browns Island and West Onslow Beach.
Frying Pan Tower has been auctioned by the federal government and the high bidder was Shipwrecks, Inc. of Charleston, S.C. Their winning bid of $515,000 won the rights to refurbish the former light tower. The tower contains 5,000 feet of living space and even includes a pool table left over from when the Coast Guard manned the facility. A Spokesman said they were planning to renovate the tower and use it as a fishing and diving center, plus a base for ocean research.
The North Carolina Sportsman Saltwater Fishing School will be held this Saturday, March 21, in Sanford. Speakers from the area include Capt. Dave Dietzler, Capt. Ray Massengill, Capt. Michael Wells, Capt. Anthony Ng and yours truly. The first 100 registrants for this school will receive Star Rods Spinning Rods valued at approximately $50 and a few of these first 100 registrations still remain. Registration will remain open at the door Saturday morning. For more information call 910-279-6760.