July 22, 2002

Summer continues to heat up, with many NC areas having heat advisories over the past week and weekend. It appears we may be a few degrees cooler this week and it is very welcome. Right now, the forecast for the next few days is pretty typically summer. It should be fairly calm in the morning, with the winds building to an afternoon sea breeze of 10 to 15. Even with a slightly lower peak heat each day, there is still a chance for scattered showers and thunderstorms. Just to make things interesting a weak low pressure has been holding just inland, trying to find a weak spot in the coastal high and move in. It hasn't happened yet and hopefully it won't.

Inshore there has been good action in the marshes for red drum. Amazingly enough, there are some bluefish mixing with the drum in the same areas. Flounder fishing is pretty good around the inlets and is starting to heat up on some of the nearshore ocean structure. The artificial reefs are easy to locate and are an excellent place to try. Big live baits are the ticket for the reefs. Use stronger line also.

Ladyfish are making another appearance along the coast again this year. While a few are caught during the day, the best fishing is usually at night and under lights. The most consistent reports so far have come from the high rise bridges at Morehead City and from around the ADM dock, just upriver from Southport. These feisty little fish really give you a battle and are often described as being like little tarpon. Many baits will work, but the surface strikes are the most spectacular. Ladyfish are a natural for fly fishing.

The piers are having pretty good mid summer action also. I didn't hear of a king this week, but there were jack crevalle and a tarpon or two scattered along the coast. Just in from the end, Spanish mackerel and blues are hitting Got-Cha's and gold hook rigs. Closer to the beach, there are some fair size summer spots off the mid coast and some sea mullet scattered all along. A few pompano are being caught and the flounder fishing varies from day to day. The bottom line is that there is reasonable activity along the piers.

The offshore bite continues to be fairly good. There are some billfish encounters almost daily and mixed size dolphin are in just about every fish box. Some scattered tuna and an occasional wahoo are in the mix also. It can be hot and slow, then bust wide open instantly.

The kings are showing again at places other than Ocracoke. The winner of this past weekend's Boater's World CCSA King Tournament was caught much closer back to Morehead City. The captain asked to keep its location unknown, but said he was very close to the tournament headquarters.

There was another surge of larger kings at some of the favorite spots off Carolina Beach, Cape Fear, and Brunswick County. With a week of good weather, there should be some really good catches.

Everyone needs to come on down to the King of the Cape Classic this weekend in Southport. At registration on Friday, there will be cast net contests for all ages. Then, on Saturday, while the adults are out fishing the king tournament there will be a pinfish tournament on the docks for the kids who couldn't or didn't go king fishing. Chris Bellamy, who sings Jimmy Buffett-like songs about the Carolina Coast will be performing for the awards on Saturday Night. This should be a whole lot of fun. For more information call 910-278-4575 or visit www.kingofthecapeclassic.com.

Good Fishing
Capt. Jerry Dilsaver


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