We have had a couple of weeks of warm sunny weather and the fishing has responded well. There are still occasionally some brisk southwest breezes, but we are warming up to the point that the winds are down in the mornings and breeze up during the afternoon in a typical summertime sea breeze pattern. The inshore and nearshore water has warmed into the 70's in the southern part of the state, to 70 or slightly better in the middle part of the state, and is only below 70 from Cape Hatteras to the north. The fishing is warming up with the weather too!
Below Cape Fear, red drum and flounder are tops in the inshore fishing. There are also a few trout, both speckled and gray, showing in the lower Cape Fear River.
In the creeks off the waterway, between Carolina Beach and Sneads Ferry, there are some red drum.
The inshore fishing in the Morehead City area is headed up by cobia. There have been several large cobia caught in the past week, behind Shackleford Banks. These fish should be spreading west to the entrance of Spooners Creek and east to Harkers Island. The turning basin, ships channel, and area around the Fort Macon Coast Guard docks have been giving up some gray trout, sea mullet, and a few flounder. Small bluefish and spanish mackerel can be caught by trolling just inside Beaufort Inlet and inside the hook at Cape Lookout.
At Hatteras and Ocracoke, the gray trout have been biting well. There are some nice size fish and plenty of "shorts".
Stripers are still biting at Manns Harbor and up the Roanoke River, near Weldon.
Surf and Pier Zone
Many of the ocean piers are still rebuilding from last year's hurricanes. Those that are open have been doing pretty well with spanish mackerel, bluefish, hogfish, along with some scattered sea mullet, gray trout, and flounder.
Sea View Pier, at Topsail, had a good week on king mackerel. There were also some kings caught off Yaupon Pier, on Oak Island. Bogue Inlet Pier, at Emerald Isle, has had a good run of cobia, including one 78 pounder.
The surf in the southern part of the state has warmed to the point that it is slowing down. There are some bluefish along with scattered red drum, gray trout, and flounder. The flounder have been biting best around the inlets.
Along the Outer Banks, there have been a few runs of large drum in the surf. Nighttime has generally been best. There are also bluefish of assorted sizes, some sea mullet, and a few gray trout.
The best know fish in this area right now are the spanish mackerel. Along with bluefish, they are scattered from the South Carolina border up to Cape Hatteras. In Long Bay, the kings have moved in within sight of the beach and they have been hungry. AR 420 and AR 425 have also been producing flounder and cobia. Onslow Bay has reported a few blitzes of nearshore kings, with the best coming from off the Topsail area. In Raleigh Bay, the kings are still a bit farther offshore.
The great yellowfin tuna fishing has become a bit less reliable, but the gaffer and larger dolphin have shown up strong. Some reports of catches of numerous wahoo have come from Hatteras, but they have been sporadic.
Last weekend, at the Hatteras Offshore Open, 26 billfish were caught and 25 were released. The "Release", with Captain Rom Whitaker, weighed a 501 pound blue marlin, to take the early lead in the N.C. Governor's Cup Series Largest Billfish Category. This did not place them in the Top 3 Places. There was a 3-way tie for 1st Place at 800 points each. Captain Walt Spruill's "Hunter" claimed the win on a time-based tie breaker. The "Hunter" caught and released a blue marlin and two white marlin.