Except for that line of storms Monday afternoon and a couple of breezy days, the weather has been really nice for over a week now. Last weekend was Easter Weekend and the first major influx of tourists hit our beaches without any major incidents.
With the possible exception of some thunderstorms with a passing front over the weekend the weather generally looks good for the next few days. All we need is for the wind to blow itself out and stay calm.
The line of storms Monday evening caused spot damage all along the coast. There were tornadoes reported in several inland counties, plus at Camp Lejeune and Topsail. When we have heat build to the levels of early last week and then cooler air moves in, the change spawns these storms. They have started a little earlier than usual, but the threat will be with us into the fall. Pay attention to the weather and if you see an ominous cloud approaching seek shelter.
Today and Friday look to be pretty good fishing days, with light winds and slight seas early and then slowly building Friday afternoon. Unfortunately Saturday is forecast to be windy and with larger seas. Sunday starts with the leftover winds from Saturday, but is forecast to switch to offshore and lighten up later in the day. By Monday, the winds should be back in a more acceptable range at 10-15 knots.
The water temperatures have reached the mid to high 60's and more fish are arriving each week to add to the already impressive mixture. The newly arriving fish this week included lots of Atlantic bonito around the artificial reefs off Ocean Isle, Wrightsville Beach and Atlantic Beach, plus some Spanish mackerel. The Spanish were off New River Inlet Monday afternoon and could be arriving everywhere else along the coast at any time.
There are red drum spread throughout the marshes and coastal creeks from Pamlico Sound to the S.C. state line. They are chasing shrimp, peanut pogies and mullet minnows, so a wide variety of grubs, suspending or diving stick baits and gold spoons are all working well to catch them.
There seemed to be a slight resurgence in the speckled trout bite over the last week, but the locations were pretty hit and miss. When you find them, there have been good numbers of smaller specks, but not many larger ones. An assortment of grubs and MirrOlures has been the way to get their attention. The most commonly mentioned bait for both the drum and trout is Berkley Gulp.
The sea mullet have been biting pretty well all along the coast for a few weeks. There is a good concentration in the Morehead City Turning Basin. Some gray trout are mixed in throughout this area also. The fish are scattered through the No Wake Zone and along the channel out to Fort Macon Coast Guard Station. Fresh shrimp is usually the key for catching sea mullet but several fishermen have reported good success using small pieces of the Fishbites bloodworms.
A few more reports of good gray trout catches are coming from the Dead Tree Hole and off the end of the Cape Lookout Jetty. I haven't heard from Wallace Channel, Sheepshead Rock and the WOFES, but there should be some there also.
The warming water is waking up the flounder. It isn't hot yet, but enough were caught during the past week to believe you can target them and catch them. There were some catches from inside waters, but the better fish came from the nearshore artificial reefs and hardbottom areas.
All the piers are open and reporting some action. The biggest catches continue to be sea mullet and there are some really nice ones too! There have been a few good daytime bites, but the better catches have been around dark and into the early evening. A rising tide also seems to be good. In addition to the sea mullet, the pier catch includes speckled trout, gray trout, big blowfish, spots, red drum, black drum, dogfish and a few flounder.
The king mackerel are biting. They are still a bit offshore, but the reports are good. Several days they have been almost a nuisance to the tuna trollers just inshore of the Big Rock. The king bite remains red hot around Frying Pan Tower and they are also around the wrecks off Hatteras in good numbers.
The offshore fishing is good, but very weather dependent. When the winds allow, there are good catches of yellowfin tuna. The primary locations are around the Big Rock, the Point, Southeast Rocks and the Steeples, but they can be miles on either side of these locations, depending on how the underwater currents and eddies are working. Other offshore catches have included blackfin tuna, wahoo, kings, a few dolphin and even a couple of early billfish.
The spring event in the 2006 Calcutta Wahoo Challenge Series is this weekend from the Big Rock Landing in Morehead City. In conjunction with the Spring Wahoo Challenge, the Take A Kid Fishing Boat and Tackle Expo is scheduled for Friday afternoon and Saturday at the Crystal Coast Civic Center. There will be many displays and fishing seminars at the expo. The captains scheduled to appear are Eddie Cameron, Joe Shute, Katrina Smith and yours truly. For more information call 252-241-3348 or visit www.calcuttawahoo.com.