For another week the wind has been marginal and the ocean a bit bumpy. There were some periods of lower wind and seas, but overall it was a little rough for the smaller boats. That didn't stop them though. The boats went fishing and the catching results varied a little all across the board. Right now the forecast is for it to lay out some in the middle of this week, but it could be bumpy again by the weekend. Let's all keep our fingers crossed.
Starting offshore at the Gulf Stream, it would appear that the bite slowed down some, but I would bet that it was more from a lack of participation. With the conditions marginal, there were fewer boats fishing and they were less likely to find the hot bite. It was just at the point that it was uncomfortable enough that some of the boats that went shortened their trips. As soon as the ocean calms some, the catch should come back up.
Moving back inshore a little, the king mackerel bite is still a little slow but improving. This past weekend there were kings caught from the NC/SC State Line up to Drum Inlet. Mixed in with the kings were some dolphin, a good scattering of sailfish, and a few reports of marlin. In talking about the depths of 40 to 100 feet, the dolphin have been there for several months, the sailfish for the past several weeks, but the reports of marlin are new. This is well inshore of where marlin usually are, but with the unusual weather and lack of rain, there has not been a huge sediment discharge out the inlets and the water is much more clear than usual. This kind of makes me wonder what will be next.
Tarpon are being caught off Bald Head Island, Topsail, and Emerald Isle. There was even a report of a hookup from the surf at Cape Hatteras. With the moon moving into its final quarter, the tarpon bite in the Pamlico Sound should get better over the next few days and it hasn't been bad so far.
Red drum continue to bite well in many of the coastal creeks, marshes, and sounds along the entire coast. A good place to look is beside and under many docks in this area. Inside flounder fishing may not be as consistent right now as a few weeks ago, but there are many good catches being reported. Flounder fishing in the ocean is good in many places but there are a good number of "shorts". Release them easily as they will be the legal size flounder for next year.
Congratulations to Dieter Cardwell and Mike Lundy of the Tideline. Their 38.72 pound king mackerel won the inaugural King of The Cape Classic this past weekend in Southport. In big news for the Carolinas, this was the second winning king mackerel in over a month that didn't come from Ocracoke. In fact, even though the Ocracoke area was not excluded from the tournament, no king mackerel were weighed from this area, that had been so productive over the last month.
Along with the king mackerel tournament an "all release" kids' pinfish tournament and cast net throwing contest was also held. In the pinfish tournament, Daniel Doyle topped the under 5 group, Jeremy Hodge claimed the 6 to 10 crown, and Kory Nikolov won the 11 to 15 group. In the cast net competition, Austin Somers was the top junior, Josh Mitchell, led the teens, and James Demyan topped the adults. Congratulations to all. Proceeds from the tournament were donated to the Long Bay Artificial Reef Association. Check out the complete results at www.kingofthecapeclassic.com.
This weekend's tournaments are the Long Bay Lady Angler King Mackerel Tournament (910-278-4137) at Southport and the Ducks Unlimited Billfish Tag and Release Tournament (336-668-2736) Atlantic Beach.
Capt. Jerry Dilsaver