Well, we basically had a good last weekend except for some gusty winds Sunday morning and then had a couple of nice days earlier this week. The forecast is for the winds to blow up a little over the weekend, but stay warm and even approach getting hot. There is a threat of some north winds early next week, but hopefully this forecast is far enough out it will change before then.
The warmer temperatures and lighter winds allowed more fishermen to get out on the water and they found fish that were hungry and cooperative. If the temperatures, air and water, continue to rise, the fishing should continue to heat up also.
There is a band of warmer water along the beaches and then it cools off for a few miles, before warming again as you pass 15-20 miles offshore. The temperature in the surf at Bogue Inlet Pier hit 70 degrees late last week and has warmed another degree this week. It is a degree or two warmer along the Brunswick County beaches.
The calmer winds allowed many more boats to head offshore and most of them found fish. There are still good numbers of yellowfin tuna in the offshore catch, but more dolphin are arriving almost daily. These are mostly gaffer size dolphin, so if you want some prime mahi fillets for your freezer it might just be time to get going. The more frequently reported offshore locations include the Point, 230 Rocks, Rockpile, Big Rock, Rise, Swansboro Hole, Same Ole, Steeples, Blackjack Hole, 100/400 and Winyaw Scarp.
There are also some wahoo luring along the offshore eddies and they are assembling a collection of lures rigged on mono or fluorocarbon leader. The razor-like teeth of even a small wahoo can quickly shred anything but wire leaders. Unfortunately they don't know the difference between the mono of fluorocarbon leaders you are using for tuna and the one deep wire leader intended for them.
The Hatteras Village Offshore Open is taking place as I write this. The fishing days are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Three blue marlin were caught on the first day, with two of them being released. At the end of the first day, the Reel Love was leading with a 469 pound blue marlin.
There were more reports this week of kings moving closer to the beaches. The 210 and 240 Rocks off Morehead City, the 23 Mile Rock off Wrightsville Beach and the Horseshoe, Shark Hole and Jungle off Southport were mentioned in many reports.
One king was reported caught while flounder fishing on the nearshore rocks out of Bogue Inlet. Maybe there will be some numbers of kings inshore by Memorial Day Weekend and the Swansboro Rotary Memorial Day Tournament.
One 23 pound king and one 27 pound cobia from Ocean Crest Pier (Oak Island) and a 43 pound cobia from Bogue Inlet Pier (Emerald Isle) topped the pier reports this week. Large bluefish are also being caught from the ends of the piers and more Spanish mackerel arrived this week.
Otherwise, the piers continue to report fair to good mixed action. Sea mullet are generally the biggest part of the 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.
The nearshore trollers reported good catches of blues and Spanish mackerel from Little River Inlet to Ocracoke Inlet. They said to look for fish jumping and birds diving and to troll around, not through, the schools of fish.
Some red drum were also reported in the surf at Cape Lookout, Drum Inlet, Ocracoke Inlet, Hatteras Inlet and Cape Hatteras. Most were caught on bottom rigs using chunks of fresh cut bait.
Cobia moved inshore this week and were welcomed heartily. Several were caught in the waters behind Shackleford Banks and in the hook at Cape Lookout. The largest report is of a 96 pounder. I had one rise beside the boat but not take the bait on Saturday.
There were also some big bluefish in these areas and while they aren't as desired as cobia, they fight well, provide some excitement and help keep you concentrated for when a cobia bites. There should be a lot of boats in this area this weekend.
In the inshore waters, trout, drum and flounder are biting pretty consistently. They are responding well to a mixture of smaller live baits and artificials. Most fishermen are suggesting using soft plastics and fishing the bottom, but a few have said they were having good success with topwater lures.
There are still some sea mullet, gray trout, croakers and a few flounder in the inlets and the Morehead City Turning Basin.
For those of you in the Raleigh area, I will be giving a seminar Tuesday evening on Kite Fishing for Kings and Cobia at Carolina Outdoor Sportsman on Strickland Road. Call 919-676-6799 for more details.
Next weekend is the Swansboro Rotary Club Blue Marlin and King Mackerel Tournaments and the Far Out Shoot Out from Ocean Isle. Call 252-422-9100 or 910-575-3474 respectively for more details.