Saturday morning, At least down in Oak Island, there was some really nasty weather. I was there to work the weigh-in for the Long Bay Lady Anglers King Mackerel Tournament and the squalls were pretty severe. The rain was really coming down hard and lightning popping all around. Fortunately, the wind wasn't whipping too badly. There were numerous waterspouts sighted off Oak Island, however no damage was reported. And during it all, the ladies kept fishing.
With the exception of those thunderstorms, last week the weather was nice, the wind low to moderate, and quite a few boats went fishing. Now it looks to be puffing up again for part of this week, but may be falling out by the weekend. Keep an eye out for those thunderstorms while you are out. With the high humidity and temperatures, they can form very quickly, as many folks found out this past weekend.
The king mackerel bite is continuing to improve and that is making a lot of fishermen happy. There are pretty consistent catches of kings around the rocks and wrecks in 55 to 70 feet of water. These are mostly smaller kings, but they are fun to catch and good to eat. The piers have again reported some kings, even though most of them are small. The tournament results show some big kings are also working their way into the catch and just in time. The next several months are the peak time for the NC king mackerel tournaments.
The reports from the inside waters are mostly red drum and flounder, but there are a few other species biting. There has been a pretty consistent summer speckled trout bite in several places, but the New River may be the best. The Tarpon are biting in Pamlico Sound, near the mouth of the Neuse River. At night, some large red drum are also being caught in this same general area.
There are still some pretty good catches of African pompano out at Frying Pan Light Tower, off Southport. Also around the base of the tower there are some kings, a good assortment of bottom fish, some hungry barracudas, and a collection of amberjack that are hungry and ready to rumble.
During this recent stretch of nice weather, there have been a lot of smaller boats heading offshore. Dolphin have made up the largest part of their catches, but some wahoo, kings, and a few lost tuna have also been caught. The tuna bite seems to get better as you move northward and has been pretty good north of Hatteras. The billfish bite is picking up as it usually does at the beginning of August. White marlin should lead the catches, but there will be blue marlin and sailfish also.
Congratulations to Bobbie and Molly Hobbs, and Carol Nash for catching a 43.92 pounder to win the Long Bay Lady Anglers King Mackerel Tournament. These ladies, fishing on the Half Time, represent 3 generations of the Nash family. Congratulations also to Tommy and Margaret Johnson for winning the Island Harbor Marina KenCraft Challenger King Mackerel Tournament. In the Ducks Unlimited Band the Billfish Tournament, the Frequent Flyer, with Capt. Glynn Loftin, paced the field with 1,600 release points for 1 blue marlin, 4 white marlin, and 4 sailfish. The Frequent Flyer had a Grand Slam and an extra sailfish on Friday, then 3 white marlin and 2 sails on Saturday. That's good fishing!
This weekend the Sneads Ferry King Mackerel Tournament (910-327-3953) will be held in Sneads Ferry and the Alice Kelly Memorial Ladies Only Billfish Tournament (1-800-422-3610) will be held in Manteo. The Pirate's Cove Billfish Tournament (1-800-422-3610) will begin in Manteo next Monday.
Capt. Jerry Dilsaver