While it wasn't exactly great, we had pretty good weather for the weekend and early week. Even better, it should continue, except for the possibility of some thunderstorms, into this weekend.
The humidity has been choking, and the temperatures rather warm, which always creates the conditions those thunderstorms love. They can have some serious rain too, as evidenced by all the flooding last Thursday morning in Atlantic Beach and Beaufort. The water was well over the curbs at the Causeway/Fort Macon Road intersection in Atlantic Beach. I was surprised there wasn't someone there riding a jet ski.
There was some great news from offshore over the weekend. There were a few tuna and lots of dolphin caught, but the billfish were the stars of the show.
There was a hot billfish bite from just below the Big Rock up to around the Rock Pile. White marlin accounted for the majority of the action, but there were also some blue marlin and sailfish. With a little luck, this hot bite will continue into the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament next week.
The big news from inshore and close to the beaches continues to be cobia. There were a few more around this week and they were a little larger. There are reports of several nice cobia, including one 80 pounder, from around Shackleford Banks and Cape Lookout. The first cobia of the year was caught from the surf at Cape Hatteras over the weekend.
The good gray trout bite continues. They are biting from the surf, piers, in the Hatteras-Ocracoke Ferry Channel, Wallace Channel, the Morehead City Turning Basin, along the edges of the Beaufort Inlet Shipping Channel and at Johns Creek Rock off Wrightsville Beach.
Sea mullet are biting in many of these same areas. A rising tide around dark is the hot ticket for fishing in the surf and from the piers.
Bluefish are biting well along the entire N.C. coast. They are mixed from just over a pound to 10 pounds and larger.
There were a few more large red drum caught in the surf at Ocracoke Inlet and Cape Hatteras Point over the weekend. Every wind change influences this bite. It could go on for a while until the water temperatures rise and remain steady.
The inshore drum bite in the creeks and marshes remains good and includes everything from rats to big pups. There are also some speckled trout and nice black drum being caught.
Spanish mackerel were biting well again this week and had moved as far north as Oregon Inlet. Got-Cha's and small spoons have been the hot lures.
The early run of small kings slowed during the past week, but they are still around and hungry. Unfortunately, many of these kings are below the 24 inch minimum size.
Do not mistake these small kings for Spanish and keep them. You would have undersize fish and would be exceeding the limit, if you have more than 3.
The easiest difference to recognize between Spanish and kings is at the front edge of the leading dorsal fin. If it has a fingernail-size black spot, it is a Spanish. If it is completely gray, it is a king.
For Spanish mackerel the minimum size is 12 inches fork length, with a limit of 15 fish.
Congratulations to Matt Glancy for catching an 80 pound cobia to win the Carteret County Sportfishing Association Cobia Tournament, held from the CCsa Clubhouse in Beaufort over the weekend.
The Pirates Cove "Inshore Attack" Cobia, Spanish and Bluefish Tournament (800-422-3610) has been postponed until the last weekend in June and the first weekend in July. Fishermen will still be allowed to fish their choice of any two of the four tournament days.
The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament (252-247-3575) begins this weekend. The ladies tournament is Saturday and the regular tournament is Monday through Saturday.
Capt. Jerry Dilsaver