While it isn't as hot as it has been, the temperatures are a little warmer this week than last, but aren't those thunderstorms something? I was in Wilmington Tuesday afternoon and the thunderstorms caused power outages and localized flooding all across the area.
When the winds finally went back around to the south last weekend, they began to puff pretty seriously. It really blew from Cape Lookout to Cape Hatteras, with a few old-timers pronouncing it a gale.
The good news is it is laying back out and should be pretty nice for the weekend. Several places might see some 10-15 gusts, but it should be less than 10 knots in most places. What I want to know is where these northeast and east winds are coming from in this much heat? I remember it cooling off when the wind got to these directions in the past.
The low pressure cell we were watching last week fizzled out and went away without tropical development. This week we are watching Tropical Storm Debby as it works its way off Africa and across the Atlantic. It is ripe for development and is forecast to grow into a hurricane over the weekend. While it is still over a week away, the forecast track has it turning out into the Atlantic and not becoming a threat to land.
Our inshore fishing continues to do very well. The big three of the inshore fish are red drum, speckled trout and flounder. All are being caught pretty consistently and in fairly good numbers.
Flounder are concentrating around the mouths of many of the smaller creeks, along the edges of channels and other places where the moving tide will sweep baitfish by them. They don't forage for food as most other fish, but lie in ambush and wait for dinner to swim by.
Red drum have been biting well all summer all along the N.C. coast. They are holding in the marshes, around prominent oyster rocks and on the shoals in the sounds. They enjoy feasting on the juvenile shrimp, crabs and minnows that live in these areas and will use the rising tide to move into shallow water and feed, then fall back to the deeper channels as the tide falls.
Trout are working through the deeper areas of the marshes, keeping cool and feeding on shrimp and minnows flushed out of the shallows by the falling tide. Pools of deeper water, near where a small channel drains the inner marsh, are good places to find them.
If you prefer inshore waters, but would like a little bigger game, there are large red drum and tarpon in the Pamlico Sound and lower Neuse River. The most consistent place for both is in the rough triangle formed by the Neuse River Entrance Marker, Brant Island Shoals and Cedar Island. There are also some tarpon Behind Bald Head Island in the lower Cape Fear River and in the ocean around Cape Fear.
In Pamlico Sound, the tarpon are typically a daytime fishery and hold in the deepest water they can find. The big red drum usually bite better during the evenings and feed around the points and sandbars in water six to twelve feet deep. In the Cape Fear area, the ocean tarpon will bite both day and night, while the inshore tarpon are primarily feeding at night. Both like big chunks of fresh cut bait.
I want to say pier fishing is in a slump, but the flounder and king mackerel catches keep improving and this week there were several flurries of Spanish mackerel activity. Several kings are being decked each week from the piers. However, after these three species, most of the other pier activity has been slow. Other pier catches have included bluefish, pompano, red drum, spadefish, sheepshead, small sharks, and a few sea mullet.
Some of the best flounder catches are coming from the nearshore ocean artificial reefs and live bottom areas. The flounder stage around the structure and feed on the baitfish seeking shelter there. Peanut pogies and finger mullets are excellent baits.
The nearshore trollers continue to have their best luck with Spanish mackerel. Get up and go early in the morning for the best catches. Once the sun gets overhead, they don't bite very well. When you see them jumping and aren't catching them, switch to smaller baits and fish well behind the boat and your success should improve. Some larger Spanish have been hitting live menhaden and finger mullet light-lined behind a stationary or drifting boat.
There have been good king mackerel reports throughout the area. The kings are from just off the ends of the piers and out. Lots of bait is moving through Beaufort Inlet with each tide change. Around the inlet and in the Turning Basin might well produce a tournament winning smoker over the next few weeks.
The offshore bite is mostly dolphin and wahoo. With all the warm water, some of these fish have moved much closer to shore. One of the most consistent areas is around 14 Buoy to the 90 Foot Drop out of Morehead City.
Congratulations to Eddie and Michelle Cameron for winning last weekend's Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series tournament in Southport. Their big king weighed 38 pounds and 2 ounces.
Not to be outdone by the crew of ladies that won the Alice Kelly Memorial Ladies Only Billfish Tournament the previous weekend, the regular Pelican crew, led by Capt. Arch Bracher, Jr., caught 10 white marlin and a sailfish to win the Pirates Cove Billfish Tournament last weekend. The Pelican topped $500,000 with the combined winnings.
Once again, there is only one tournament on the schedule this weekend. The South Brunswick Isles King Mackerel Classic will be held in Holden Beach. For more information visit www.bluewaterpromo.com or call 1-800-KING MAC.