Once the effects of Hurricane Alex passed last week, the weekend weather cooled and got pretty nice. This was our first cold front and the cooler temperatures were very welcome. Hopefully we will see nothing worse this week with the Wham-Bam-Thank-You-Mam, back-to-back passing of Tropical Storm Bonnie and Hurricane Charley.
It took almost a week after Hurricane Alex for fishing to get back to normal and now there is a good chance it will shut down again. The remains of Tropical Storm Bonnie are arriving as I am writing this. It doesn't look too bad, except for lots of rain, but Hurricane Charley, which isn't due until Saturday, could be a different creature altogether.
The projected track for Hurricane Charley has it barely inland as it moves up the east coast. If it stays inland, it shouldn't be too strong, but if it crosses Florida farther to the south and moves out over the ocean, it could build as quickly as Hurricane Alex. Not wishing any bad on the folks elsewhere, but if it has to hit land, let's hope it stays inland and weakens quickly.
The good news is the forecast shows the seas calming greatly on Sunday and becoming nice on Monday. Once the winds and seas subside, we will have to deal with the excessive rains and lots of fresh water, but hopefully our lessons of the past few years have us better prepared.
Fishing had been slow from the piers up until last weekend. Several Bogue Banks Piers reported kings. Debbie Hunter had a 24.5 pounder at Bogue Inlet Pier and Steve Mercer had a 30.4 pounder at Sportsman's Pier. There was another tarpon hooked and lost at Sportsman's Pier. Spanish mackerel and an assortment of bottom fish also returned, but will probably disappear again, as they run from this bout of nasty weather.
All the inside fishermen have been talking about flounder. Hopefully the barrage of freshwater heading downstream after these storms doesn't change that too badly. Good flounder catches have been coming from many places, including the inlets, channels, creek mouths, and the numerous nearshore artificial reefs and rocks.
Red drum were in the marshes, under docks, under duck blinds, and in the surf. A collection of live baits and soft plastics have been producing strikes very well.
There have been tarpon in Pamlico Sound and the lower Neuse River during the daylight hours and large red drum in the same general area during the evenings.
The offshore boats reported a mixed bag of fish, with dolphin being the majority of the catch. The August white marlin bite was firing up again, after slowing during Hurricane Alex, but is subject to falling off again. One hope is maybe the storms will move more yellowfin tuna our way.
Several Congratulations are in order from the many tournaments over last weekend. The Salty Fare/Caison 60, with Capt. Watson Caviness, won the Ducks Unlimited Band the Billfish Tournament in Atlantic Beach. The Swordfish, with Capt. Justin Ringer claimed the overall in the Alice Kelly Ladies Only Memorial Billfish Tournament in Manteo, while Shirley Coakley, on the Rip Tide, was the Top Angler.
Capt. Harold Hill led the Shockwave to the win at the Sneads Ferry King Tournament at Sneads Ferry and Michael Andrews won the Island Harbor KenCraft Challenger King Tournament at Emerald Isle. Danielle Stiller, on the Spread-Em-Wide, topped the Long Bay Lady Anglers King Tournament from Oak Island.
The Pirate's Cove Billfish Tournament (252-473-3610) at Manteo has been underway since Tuesday and should finish. The other tournaments slated for this weekend have postponed until better weather.
Capt. Jerry Dilsaver