While the weather has included forecasts of 10 to 15 knot winds for the past week, most of the days have started out really nice and not chopped up much until the seabreeze picked up in the afternoons. That forecast remains with us into this weekend. Of course there is the daily threat of showers and thunderstorms, but when the temperature and humidity are both in the 90's that is a standard warning.
I saw pictures this week of some nice red drum. Pups above the slot size are being caught along the entire coast. Several fishermen reported catching the first big reds off Cedar Island and the mouth of the Neuse River.
There were also reports of the first tarpon in Pamlico Sound late last week. They were in the deeper water between the Neuse River Entrance Marker and the end of Brant Island Shoals. Many boats had multiple hookups.
The same general area in Pamlico Sound holds both the tarpon and the large red drum. You can fish for tarpon during the daytime and then switch over to drum for the late afternoon and early evening bite. It is something everyone should try at some time. There are numerous guides who will be glad to accommodate you.
Speckled trout are biting from the piers on Oak Island. Live shrimp, floated just above the bottom, are the hot baits. Some nice specks are also being caught in the marshes and creeks around Morehead City and Pamlico Sound.
I had thought the hot cobia bite was over for the year, but there were several good reports from around Cape Hatteras. The big fish in these reports was a 77 pounder from Frisco Pier.
Fishermen on the piers are still seeing a mixed catch. It is a combination of gray trout, speckled trout, flounder, red drum, black drum, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, pompano and sea mullet. Some excellent summer spots showed off Atlantic Beach last week and numerous anglers took good advantage of them. The king bite has slowed right now, but could bust out anywhere at any time.
Tarpon are also working their way into the catches at the ends of the piers. It is an awesome test of tackle and fisherman to battle one of these brutes from a pier.
There are still enough undersize king mackerel being caught to continue my weekly warning. The easiest way to identify large Spanish and small kings is the fingernail-size black spot at the front edge of the leading dorsal fin. If it has one, it is a Spanish. If not, it is a king.
Do not mistake these small kings for Spanish and keep them. The minimum size for kings is 24 inches and the limit is 3. For Spanish it is 12 inches minimum length and a limit of 15. Mackerel are measured from the tip of the nose to the middle of the fork of the tail
The offshore fishing continues to be excellent for the middle of the summer. The fishing commences with dolphin, often beginning within sight of the beach and builds to billfish at the edge of the Gulf Stream. The sailfish and white marlin bite has been exceptional for several weeks. Several grand slams are being reported almost daily. A few tuna are also being caught, along with some wahoo.
Congratulations to Joe Winslow and the Hooligan crew for winning the Boater's World-Carteret County Sportfishing Association King Mackerel Tournament. At the Long Bay Artificial Reef Association Club Challenge, the Charlotte Offshore Fishing Club swept the club categories of the flounder and king mackerel competition—again! Andy Fisher took individual honors in the flounder category, while Al Fulford, of the Holden Beach Fishing Club, slipped in and claimed the individual honors in the king mackerel category.
This weekend's tournaments are the King of the Cape Classic King Mackerel Tournament (910-278-4575) in Southport, Barta Boys and Girls Club Billfish Tournament (252-808-2286) in Beaufort and the North Carolina Boat Builders Challenge (252-473-3610) in Manteo.