Once again the weekend mornings broke light on weather that was far from perfect. It appears that the wind and rain from the early summer have returned, and have brought some cold dirty water with them. Monday morning wasn't much better, but the weathermen say that we could be moderating some by this weekend and into next week. The extended weather forecast does have the wind backing off some for this coming weekend, but the threat of rain and thunderstorms is still there.
The dirty water is a product of the wind and rain, but now some marine scientists are attributing the cooler water temperatures to more than an influx of cooler rainwater. Most of the coastal water is five to ten or more degrees below normal temperature for this time of year.
The scientists are reporting these abnormal cool water temperatures to be caused by upwellings in the ocean. They say the upwellings, which bring the colder water from the bottom up towards the surface, are being caused by the continual southwesterly winds. They say the winds are displacing the warmer surface water by pushing it northward and off the coast and that the cooler water from near the bottom is rising to take its place. Whatever is happening, there is no doubt that our nearshore and inshore water temperatures are definitely below normal for this time of year.
The one fishery that is continuing to improve is king mackerel. While the weather has been a limiting factor, there have been some pretty consistent catches of kings about 10 miles off the beach. They have been holding in fair numbers around the rocks and wrecks in 55 to 70 feet of water. Most are smaller kings, but there are a few smokers mixed in and ready to jerk up your adrenalin level a notch or two. The sharks will keep you busy until the kings decide to bite.
The piers were seeing a few kings several weeks ago, but the cool dirty water has moved them offshore a bit. With the cooler dirty water the piers have seen the sea mullet and spot catches pick up some and flounder bit well this past week. The Spanish and kings should return when the water clears.
The reports from the inside waters are mostly red drum and flounder. This past week the reds slowed some, but there some really large flounder reported. The Tarpon are still biting in Pamlico Sound, but it has slowed from the hot bite of a few weeks ago. We can probably blame this on the influx of fresh water also. When the weather allows, some large red drum are being caught at night, between the mouth of the Neuse River and Cedar Island.
When they have been able to get there, fishermen are catching some large African pompano out at Frying Pan Light Tower, off Southport. Dolphin have been the mainstay of the offshore catches, but some wahoo, kings, and a few lost tuna have also been caught. The tuna bite seems to be better north of Hatteras. The hot billfish bite of last week slowed some, but should get good again as the weather moderates.
Congratulations to Al Morris and family for catching a 38.46 pound king to win the Sneads Ferry King Mackerel Tournament. The ladies on the Fishin' Frenzy claimed the win, with 2 releases, in the Alice Kelly Memorial Ladies Only Billfish Tournament.
This weekend the Shallotte Inlet King Classic (910-754-6962) will be held in Shallotte and the Pirate's Cove Billfish Tournament (1-800-422-3610), which began on Monday, will conclude on Friday.
Capt. Jerry Dilsaver