The past two weeks has been the best stretch of weather we have had in quite some time. It cooled some, as the front moved through Monday and Tuesday, but it is already warming again. The forecast looks good through the end of the week for both winds and temperature. After all, when it is 80 degrees we need a little breeze to cool us down.
This stretch of warm sunny weather has really bumped the fishing into high gear. The water has warmed considerably and made fishing that was already good get better. Water temperatures from the weekend were reported at 69 degrees at Ocean Crest Pier in Oak Island and 65 degrees at Bogue Inlet Pier in Emerald Isle. Now I'm hearing complaints of things like, "I wish I hadn't kept so many, now I have to clean them." Sorry folks, but I would call that a positive problem.
The fishing in many inside waters continues to be excellent. Probably the most productive inside area across the coast right now is the State Port Turning Basin in Morehead City. This has been a hot spot for sea mullet (whiting, Va. Mullet) and gray trout for a several weeks. Now some puffers and biter size bluefish have joined them, along with a few scattered reports of keeper flounder.
The speckled trout bite is slow and scattered, but the trout specialists always seem to be able to find some. The specks appear to be farther back in the creeks and marshes than most folks are looking. Still, their catches have not been particularly consistent like many of the other inshore fish and most fishermen really do prefer catching to fishing.
There are also some puppy drum moving through the coastal marshes, sounds and in the surf, especially around the inlets. There was another good large drum bite this past weekend in the Outer Banks surf. The tide was low right around sunset and that was the hot time. The better catches were at the south end of Ocracoke and at Cape Point at Buxton. The area tackle shops are predicting that this bite will last as long as the wind stays out of the south.
The ocean piers continue to report excellent mixed bag catches of fish. In the southern end of the state sea mullet have been the most prominent fish in the pier catches, with bluefish coming on strong. In the middle of the state, the last week has seen a spot bite that rivals any fall spot bite. The spots have been large for the spring and thick enough to catch two-at-a-time pretty frequently. The rest of the pier catch includes puffers, gray trout, some small sharks, some false albacore and Atlantic bonito, and the occasional keeper flounder.
Harkers Island Tackle Company reported someone had a nice catch of Spanish mackerel from Cape Lookout on Sunday. Some of the Myrtle Beach, SC piers have been catching them for about a week, so the pier fishermen should see them at any time.
Over the past week, the false albacore and Atlantic bonito bit well a few miles offshore. There were also a few caught by the pluggers on the ends of the piers.
The offshore fishing remains good with tuna, dolphin, and wahoo all biting well. Billfish are being seen pretty regularly and a few caught each week also.
The king mackerel moved inshore some this week. There were reports from 23 Mile Rock off Wrightsville, the 390/390 off Ocean Isle, and Jerry's Reef off Emerald Isle.
Capt. Jerry Dilsaver