Ciao Alberto. It was good to see you go. It appears the N.C. Coast escaped much other than rain from this early storm and that is good. Unfortunately the middle of the state was inundated with an overabundance of rain and there was substantial flooding and one death. More flooding may be forthcoming in the next couple of days as the runoff finds its way into and backs up local streams.
In trying to find the silver lining in this cloud, it should have helped bring reservoirs back up to near normal levels and ease the drought conditions throughout the Piedmont.
The forecast for the remainder of the week is pretty good. The winds and seas began laying out Wednesday night and are really good today (Friday). The current forecast has the winds at less than 10 knots through Monday and with sunny to partly cloudy weather. It could be a good time to get the boat out and see just what is biting.
The offshore fishing was good over the weekend and in the beginning of the week. The Ladies Big Rock was won by the crew of the Hatterascal, with the final tally being decided by the extra points awarded for their use of circle hooks, rather than j-hooks.
The good fishing continued Monday with the release of 21 billfish and 2 blue marlin, including the current leader, brought to the scales. At the lines out call on Thursday, Can Do Too remained in the lead with a 451.5 pounder.
Tuesday saw 14 more releases and 1 blue marlin brought to the scales. Unfortunately, while of legal size to keep, that marlin didn't quite meet the tournament minimums and was disqualified and the boat penalized 400 points.
Wednesday was the "Alberto Day" and for the only time anyone can remember, no boats went fishing on a Big Rock tournament day. The ocean calmed quickly and 33 boats returned to action Thursday. There were 2 releases and 3 lost fish of 5 hookups and no marlin boated on Thursday. The balance of the field will be back in action on Friday and Saturday.
Before Alberto's passing and a little closer in, there had pretty good reports of kings and a growing number of small dolphin. Several dolphin had been reported inshore of 15 miles and the kings were getting larger. Fortunately Alberto's winds weren't near hurricane force as it passed and the ocean should settle out quickly. I expect to continue hearing these reports again by the end of the weekend.
I keep hearing good reports of cobia. All along the N.C. coast there have been fish caught from barely legal (33 inches fork length) up to around 90 pounds. The bite isn't quite as hot as it had been, but there are enough cobia being caught to make the trip.
A new state record cobia was caught off Salvo last Sunday. While fishing with Capt. Troy Crane on the Marauder, Billy Ray Lucas, Jr, of Wilson, reeled in a 116.5 pound cobia. This eclipses the old state record by 3.25 pounds and may also qualify as an International Game Fish Association (IGFA) 50 pound class line record.
Good Spanish mackerel catches were being reported along the N.C. beaches from Little River Inlet to Oregon Inlet. The catches should pick up again as soon as the nearshore water clears. Around the inlets have been the hot areas and 0 and 00 size Clarkspoons, behind small planers or trolling sinkers have been the hot lures.
The pier fishing has slowed some as the water continues to warm, but the pier fishermen continue to see a pretty mixed catch.
Early and late in the day, the Spanish mackerel bite has been good on Got-Cha jigs with gold hooks. The flounder bite has also picked up some in the past week and the number of keepers to shorts is improving drastically. Other fish being caught include trout (speckled and gray), spots, blowfish, drum (red and black), dogfish, pompano and bluefish.
A few cobia and kings have found their way to the decks of the piers. The cobia are spread all along the coast, but the kings are from Topsail to the south. With the water warming and schools of bait growing, the Emerald Isle to Hatteras king bite could begin at any time.
More flounder are being caught throughout the area. Inside the hot spots have been around the inlets and at the mouths of the marsh creeks. In the ocean the flounder bite is heating up at the nearshore artificial reefs and patches of live bottom scattered along the beaches.
Red drum continue to bite pretty well as the trout bite tapers off a little. Those flats with growth on them have been drum hotspots in the sounds, especially around duck blinds. The edges of marsh areas that drain on a falling tide are also usually good places for drum.
The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament ends on Saturday and many of those boats will immediately leave for Hatteras and the Hatteras Blue Marlin Club Release Tournament (252-986-2454) next week and weekend. On the southern end of the state, the Jolly Mon King Classic (910-575-3474, www.oifishingcenter.com) will be held June 21 to 23.