In the event you weren't out, the temperature and humidity combination on Friday and Saturday was stifling. While the temperatures were just in the high 80's and low 90's, the heat index was well above 100. These are serious conditions and need to be approached that way. Sunscreen is an absolute must, as are drinking plenty of proper fluids, such as water and sports drinks. Beer, soft drinks, and energy boosting drinks are not good in this situation.
With those days being so hot, the drop into the lower 80's for Sunday and Monday was a welcome relief. The temperatures will be climbing back to near 90 by the weekend, so be prepared.
After some northerly and easterly winds over the weekend and early in the week, the winds will return to a more summery southern direction by the weekend. After a little surge above Cape Lookout on Thursday, the winds should return to under 15 knots for a few days-maybe even the whole weekend.
The undersize king mackerel are back and are being caught from the piers and by many fishermen trolling for Spanish mackerel. Please pay attention and do not keep any of these undersize kings. The fine is significant.
There are several differences between kings and Spanish, but what I have found to be the most reliable is the black spot that Spanish have on the leading edge of their forward dorsal fin. This spot is about the size of a quarter and kings do not have it. The limits on Spanish are 15 per day, with a 12 inch minimum size, while for kings it is 3 per day and a 24 inch minimum.
Flounder fishermen are reporting more and larger flounder. While the Turning Basin, creek mouths and the inlets are good places to find flounder, there are also a good number of flounder being caught at the nearshore artificial reefs and hardbottom areas. Finger mullet, mud minnows, and peanut pogies, on a Carolina rig have been the top producers.
Red drum and black drum are being caught in inside waters. There have been some good reports of speckled trout, especially from the edges of Pamlico Sound and to the north. While the catches have been slowing some, there are still a few cobia behind Shackleford Banks and in the hook at Cape Lookout. Blair Channel, just inside Ocracoke Inlet, was the inshore cobia hotspot for last week and some of the reefs off Brunswick County were the top producers in the ocean.
The piers continue to report mixed catches, including an assortment of bottom fish, plus bluefish, Spanish mackerel, and a few kings. The top pier catch of the past week was an approximately 75 pound tarpon that was caught and released at Long Beach Pier by Jeff Whitaker. Whitaker hooked the tarpon while king fishing and worked it to the beach for the release. Another was hooked, but broke off.
While the emphasis last week was on billfish, the offshore catch continued to include lots of various size dolphin, plus some wahoo and tuna. The dolphin are spread along the entire coast, while the tuna fishing is better from Hatteras north. There are still some excellent catches coming from the Oregon Inlet area.
Congratulations to the crew of the Impulse for winning the 45th Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament. Their 555 pound blue marlin was worth almost half of the record $1.47 million purse.
This week the Hatteras Marlin Club Invitational Tournament began on Monday and the Greater Wilmington King Mackerel Tournament is Thursday to Saturday. Call 910-617-7797 or visit www.gwkmt.com for more information.
Capt. Jerry Dilsaver