The cooling trend forecast for early this week didn't happen. It got down to the high 80's and low 90's but the cold front never got close enough to send those northeast winds and cool temps. Something similar is on the scope for this weekend, but the wind should go east by Friday and stay that way for the weekend.
We were watching Tropical Storm Irene last week and now have Tropical Storm Katrina this week. Katrina is projected to make it to category 1 hurricane strength and then move across south Florida. The problem for us is after it crosses Florida. The forecast has it turning north, making landfall again near Fort Walton and then spinning off across the Appalachian Mountains. Remember how those storm remnants passing inland affected all of N.C. last year?
The east winds this weekend probably won't do us any favors with the fishing. All my life I have heard, "When the wind's from the east, the fishing is the least." I plan to fish this weekend and hopefully I can prove that old saying wrong. Maybe the east wind will bring the cooler temperatures we were hoping for last weekend.
Tarpon are spread across much of the lower Pamlico Sound and up into the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers. If this rain continues, it will probably flush enough fresh water down the rivers to move them back out into the main body of the sound. There are also some tarpon on Frying Pan Shoals and in Muddy Slough, behind Bald Head Island.
Large drum are in shallower waters off Cedar, Swan and Raccoon Islands and in the entrance to West Bay. The drum usually feed better in the late afternoon and evenings. There are some concerns with the drum surviving a long fight when the water is this hot and the oxygen level is so low. If you go drum fishing, fight them to the boat as quickly as possible and do not handle them unless absolutely necessary.
There has been a good puppy drum bite along the edges of the sounds and in many of the nearby creeks and marshes. This slowed some over the weekend, but that may have been due to the brightness of the full moon.
Flounder fishing has been good, especially around most inlets. Drifting with live mud minnows or mullet minnows is the hot ticket for numbers, but check the lengths closely. There are still quite a few shorts mixed in. The limit is 8 flounder per person, with a minimum size of 14 inches.
Our pier fishing slowed over last weekend, but is still producing a wide variety of fish. The mixture includes pompano, sea mullet, spots, flounder, trout, bluefish, Spanish mackerel and an occasional king mackerel.
The king mackerel bite fell off badly last weekend. There are some smaller kings around the inlets, but the larger kings were hard to find. There are a few larger kings east of Cape Lookout around the East Rock and 30 Minute Rock and east of Cape Fear at the Cucumber and 30/30. The Cape Fear River Channel could fire off again by this weekend.
Dolphin continue to be caught almost everywhere. A lot of smaller dolphin are being caught at many of the nearshore rocks and wrecks. Once you get out past 100 feet of water, you can usually find a weed line or rip that is holding dolphin.
Congratulations to Capt. Tom English and the crew of the Sea Hag. They won the Pirate's Cove Billfish Tournament by weighing a 797 pound blue marlin and releasing 6 white marlin. Our great billfishing continues as there were 535 billfish caught during the tournament. This included 488 white marlin, 35 blue marlin, 8 spearfish and 4 sailfish. All but 2 blue marlin were released.
Congratulations to Pete West and the crew of the Re-Pete for catching a 42 pound king to win the Topsail Offshore Fishing Club King Mackerel Tournament.
This weekend's tournament is the South Brunswick Islands King Classic (800-546-4622) in Holden Beach.
Next weekend is Labor Day Weekend and is the end of the busiest part of the summer. Most kids are already back in school.