At different times toward the end of last week and over the weekend, there were some periods of truly wicked weather. The wind had been blowing and threatening to blow for most of the week, but it suddenly seemed as if Mother Nature needed to release some pent-up fury. There were periods of torrential rain, some of it propelled sideways by the gusting winds, and several truly serious thunderstorms. The wind blew pretty steadily from the southwest and kept most of the smaller boats in protected waters, but even as bad as it was, it wasn't enough to quite ruin the weekend.
The winds continued to blow pretty steadily last week and limited the ocean fishing to the larger boats and a few really serious fishermen. Our early forecast for this week has the wind subsiding some through the middle of the week but probably breezing up again for Friday and next weekend. The possibility of thunderstorms remains in the forecast for every afternoon.
Flounder and puppy drum continue to be the main inshore fish along the entire coast. There are some occasion reports of good catches of gray trout from Hatteras and the northern outer banks.
The big fish have arrived in Pamlico Sound around Brant Island Shoal and the mouth of the Neuse River. This is a double up treat too, if you have the time. Tarpon are getting more plentiful every day and bite better during the daytime. In the same general area, the large red drum are beginning to make their annual nightly appearances.
The muddy nearshore ocean waters, created by the persistent southwesterly winds have been keeping the pier fishing to a mostly bottom fishing affair. That isn't all bad, as the spots have made a mid-summer appearance along Bogue Banks in pretty good numbers. They are joined by good numbers of nice size pompano, a scattering of red and black drum, flounder, speckled trout, a few sea mullet, bluefish, and some occasional surprises. Occasionally the water clears out around the ends of the piers and the Spanish mackerel bite is on. The king action has really slowed from the piers, but a few tarpon and jacks have been hooked. Some speckled trout are still being caught from the Oak Island piers.
King mackerel fishing has been very slow along the beaches, but seems to perk up pretty well from about 50 to 80 feet of water. Some small to gaffer size dolphin are in these same areas. There were some reports of African pompano around Frying Pan Tower, but the wind and sea has slowed down the efforts to find them in the past week or so. They should be there and hungry, when the water calms out some.
Offshore the big bite has been dolphin, with some really large bulls in each day's catch. North of Cape Hatteras, the tuna bite continues well into the summer. Most of the tuna are yellowfins, but a few blackfins and bigeyes are finding their way into the catch.
Congratulations to Al Fulford and the King Creecher crew for winning the East Coast Got-Em-On Classic King Mackerel Tournament this past weekend. Their 42.95 pound king topped the 163 boat field. David Pierce's Hattaboy topped the small Cap'n Fannies Billfish Tournament field, with a single blue marlin release. This weekend's king tournament is the Carteret County Sportfishing Association King Mackerel Tournament, July 18 to 20, from Beaufort. The Capt. Eddie Haneman Sailfish Tournament will be held in Wrightsville Beach, July 17 to 19, from Atlantic Beach. For more information call 252-240-2751 in Beaufort or 910-256-6550 in Wrightsville Beach.
Capt. Jerry Dilsaver