Last week we saw a bunch of rain along the N.C. coast and this week hasn't started off much better. In addition to the rain, we have Tropical Storm Alex, which formed over the weekend off Georgia and has been supposed to start moving by for over a day now. I hope that will have actually happened by the time you are reading this.
It seems TS Alex took a liking to the waters off southern South Carolina and decided to hang around a bit. The storm was intensifying on Monday, but National Hurricane Center forecasters said they thought it would stay below hurricane force and converging fronts would push it to the northeast in a day or so.
Until TS Alex passes and the converging fronts settle, the weather forecast is extremely uncertain. The current forecast has the winds going to the northeast after the storm passes, and gradually falling back to 10 to 15 knots by Friday. They are even showing some sunny days by the weekend.
Tarpon were still a big deal in the fishing reports until the ocean got rough from the building swell. They had been all along the coast and in Pamlico Sound.
The fishing from area piers has slowed, but it hasn't stopped. The bottom fishermen have been catching a mixture of flounder, spots, black drum, bluefish, pompano, sea mullet, and more. When the water is clear, the pluggers are also catching some Spanish mackerel. When the weather is as oppressively hot and humid as it has been lately, the fishing is often better at night-for both the fishermen and the fish.
Flounders remain the prime target for inside fishermen, but red drum catches have been increasing almost daily. Hopefully the rain from TS Alex stays offshore and doesn't affect this fishing. The flounder are showing a preference for the inlets, along the edges of channels and at creek mouths. The drum are holed up in the marshes, under docks, and in Pamlico Sound off Cedar and Swan Islands. Live mullet minnows are the preferred baits, but mud minnows and peanut pogies will also draw strikes.
Flounder fishing has also been good at most of the artificial reefs just off the beaches and at many of the nearshore rocks. AR 315 off Morehead City and AR 425 off Southport are excellent examples.
Offshore, dolphin remain the mainstay of the catch, but there are pockets of wahoo off 14 Buoy at Morehead City, and the August white marlin bite is beginning. The tuna bite remains hottest off Oregon Inlet.
Congratulations to Capt. Blake Justice and the crew of the Team Concept. They caught a 40.70 pound king to win the Raleigh Saltwater Sportfishing Club King Mackerel Tournament on Saturday. The word is they caught it right at Beaufort Inlet.
This weekend, there are four tournaments along the N.C. coast. The Long Bay Lady Anglers King Mackerel Tournament (910-523-0596) in Oak Island, the Sneads Ferry King Mackerel Tournament (910-327-3953) in Sneads Ferry, the Island Harbor Marina KenCraft Challenger King Mackerel Tournament (252-354-3106) in Emerald Isle, and the Alice Kelly Memorial Ladies Only Billfish Tournament (252-473-3610) in Manteo are all scheduled between Thursday and Sunday. Let's hope TS Alex gets gone, the weather clears, and the winds fall out to make fishing easy.
Capt. Jerry Dilsaver