Every time I think we are about to leave behind those sudden chilling cold fronts of spring another one pops up on the weather radar. It looks like this weekend won't escape unbothered either. Our last two weekends have seen some kind of front approach and chill them off and the pattern seems set for a three-peat.
These fronts don't always have a lot of rain, they just back in, turn the fans up a notch or two, shift the wind to the north, drop the temperatures (both air and water) and delay our spring fishing from getting into a wide open mode. It was just an annoyance three weeks ago, but now it has become a growing pain. I'm ready for some hot days with light winds and slight seas.
Unfortunately this weekend isn't shaping up to be particularly good. Friday looks to be the best day for a while with winds forecast at 15 knots from the southwest and 3 to 5 foot seas. Saturday the winds and seas should kick it up a notch before the front rolls in for Sunday and Monday. Those will be colder days with northeast winds at 10-15 and 15-20 respectively.
The bigger boats might be able to head offshore, but the smaller boats should stay in protected waters.
The water temperature that reached 70 degrees Tuesday at Bogue Inlet Pier last week has dropped back to 68 and may lose another degree or two before it warms again. A couple of weeks of warm sunny weather would go a long way towards warming the water and getting the fishing really going wide open.
There weren't many boats headed offshore this week, so there aren't many reports from there. The ones I got were of rough seas most days, but fish that were hungry and biting--when you found them. The offshore reports included some scattered yellowfin and blackfin tuna, a few wahoo, some kings, and an increasing number of dolphin. Trust me; these reports will get really good once the weather calms to the point a number of boats are making this trip regularly.
I heard a couple of reports of good king mackerel bites around the Papoose on the two decent days this week. If the weather will ever warm up and stay warm, those fish should move right on in.
Several boats made trips into the ocean near the beaches and the reports were bouncing between barely OK and good. These catches included Atlantic bonito, false albacore, bluefish and the first Spanish mackerel.
Even with the stirred up water, several large bluefish were taken from the ends of the piers. A few Spanish were also caught from the piers this week.
Otherwise, the piers are reporting fair to good mixed action. Sea mullet are generally the biggest part of the pier catch, with some gray trout, speckled trout, spots, big blowfish, red drum, black drum, dogfish, a few early pompano and a couple more flounder than last week.
With the strong winds, many fishermen have been gathering in the protected waters of the Morehead City Turning Basin and it has been pretty choppy even there a few days. These fishermen are catching sea mullet, gray trout, croakers and a few flounder.
There are some puppy drum and speckled trout scattered through the holes and flats of the inshore marshes and coastal creeks. Many of the trout are small, but occasionally a citation size speck will surprise you.
Even with the water temperature fluctuating some, the flounder are waking up. It isn't a classic bite, but there are a few more reports every week. With a few weeks of nice warm weather, the flounder fishing could get pretty good. The flounder catches are spread around and are coming from inside waters, the inlets, the piers and some of the nearshore ocean rocks and artificial reefs.
Last weekend I had the privilege of instructing at the Women Anglers In Training (WAIT) School on Saturday and then assisting at their Fishing Outing on Sunday. I believe the ladies had fun and learned a little and I sure had fun doing it.
Congratulations to Larry Fowler, Ty Cobb and Earl "Radar" Blake of Team Chevy for winning the Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series, Florida West Coast, event last week in Tierra Verde, Fla. They are now qualified for the championship of this series in Orange Beach, Al. in late October.
There are two tournaments this weekend and both are in Brunswick County. The Spring Flounder and Trout Challenge will be held May 5 and 6 at the Ocean Isle Fishing Center in Ocean Isle Beach. Call 910-575-3474 or visit www.oifishingcenter.com for details. The Rebel King Mackerel Pier Fishing Tournament will be held May 5-7 at Ocean Crest Pier in Oak Island. Call 910-278-6674 or visit www.oceancrestpier.com for details.