Up until the monsoons that began early Saturday morning, the past few weeks had been some of the best weather of the year. I hate to complain, as we could use the rain, even though it would have been much better spread out over time rather than dumped in three days. With the rain, the air temperature cooled some, but as of this morning it hasn't cooled the water temperatures.
Our fishing all across the state has been good and is still getting better. I have a few surprises to report this week and they are all triggered by the hot sunny days that have warmed the water so well. This morning the water temperatures were reported at 70 degrees at Bogue Inlet Pier in Emerald Isle, 69 degrees at Long Beach Pier in Oak Island, and 65.7 degrees at Sportsman's Pier in Atlantic Beach.
The surprises this week come from opposite ends of the state. On Sunday, at Cape Point in Buxton, Paul Cupka landed an 87 pound cobia in the surf. If it wasn't just the second of May, this wouldn't have been all that unusual. As you well know, the last two NC state record cobia have come from just a little off the beach in this area, but also a little later in the year.
Last Thursday and Friday, the king mackerel bite fired off at Ocean Crest and Long Beach Piers in Oak Island. On Thursday, at Ocean Crest Pier, Bob Davis decked a 24 pound king to claim the honors for the first pier king catch of 2004. Several smaller kings were decked later that day. Meanwhile Ray Hautlaub, landed a 20 pounder at Long Beach Pier. The largest so far is a 25 pounder that Craig Cook landed on Friday at Ocean Crest Pier.
While there are many good inside locations with good reports, the most consistent report from inside waters right now is from the State Port Turning Basin in Morehead City. For several weeks now, the Turning Basin has been a hot spot for sea mullet (whiting, Va. Mullet) and gray trout. In the past week, they have been joined by some bluefish of 1 to 2 pounds.
The speckled trout are still back in the creeks and marshes, but they are biting when found. This bite is slow and scattered and several successful fishermen have let it slip that they are showing a preference for soft plastics, on the lightest head possible and fished very slow.
The puppy drum were a little more active last week. There are some drum moving around the inlets and in the surf, but some schools are starting to form back in the marshes.
Even with the stormy weather of the weekend, there was another good large drum bite in the Outer Banks surf. Saturday and Sunday nights the bite was very good at Cape Point at Buxton. Some other catches also came from Ocracoke, especially the south end near Ocracoke Inlet.
The ocean piers continue to report good catches of sea mullet, spots, and blues. The first Spanish mackerel are being caught from the piers also. Some blues of 8 to 12 pounds are being caught and keeping both the pluggers and the live baiters on their toes. The rest of the pier catch includes puffers, gray trout, false albacore, Atlantic bonito, and the occasional keeper flounder.
Over the past week, the false albacore and Atlantic bonito bit well a few miles offshore. Some Favorite spots are AR 315 off Atlantic Beach and AR 370 off Wrightsville Beach. The pluggers on the ends of the piers are also occasionally catching some.
The offshore fishing was hot through Friday, but almost no one went over the weekend due to the weather. Because of the shorter run, a few of the larger boats went from Hatteras and had pretty good catches in the big seas. They have been catching tuna, dolphin, wahoo and a few kings. This should be good again as soon as the weather settles out and folks can get there.
Capt. Jerry Dilsaver