Overall our weather this past weekend was much nicer than expected, but that sure was a nasty storm that came through with the front Saturday afternoon. Even though the forecast was for a bit worse, the wind stayed pretty calm until Friday afternoon and then started settling out again Sunday afternoon. We even had a little northeast wind for the first time in weeks. Maybe it will move the mullets, that were already staging around the inlets, out into the ocean.
As I write this, the forecast is only posted for through Saturday, but it is for less than 10 knots along the southern NC coast and only 10-15 elsewhere. This is Labor Day Weekend, which is considered the "official" last big weekend of the summer and a huge crowd is expected all along the coast. The crowds had been dwindling for the past few weeks, especially after school started, and they will slow even more beginning next week.
I hope no one takes this wrong, but the next 6 weeks are usually the best of the year. The weather is still plenty warm and the beaches and coastal waters aren't crowded. The lines are gone at both the stores and the launching ramps. It is actually a great time to vacation at the coast. Now, lets hope the fish decide to bite.
Last week I talked about all the rain and the dirty water along the beaches. The temperatures are still off also. I fished off Bald Head Island this past weekend and on the east beach the water was in the low 70's right off the beach and only rose to about 77 several miles offshore. On the south facing beach the water temperature was only about 75 along the beach and 81 out where we were fishing. Both areas were very reddish-brown from fresh water.
Just a few miles away, I found a good section of clean green water that was pushed up against a tide line that had formed off the Cape Fear River. The green water was 86 degrees and was full of hungry Spanish and a few king mackerel. All of these conditions were in less than 10 miles of coastline and none over 4 miles offshore. I sure hope the rains slow and the water temperature can work its way back up to near normal.
The reports from the inside waters have become mostly red drum. There are some flounder being caught, but right now it has slowed from the good bite of just a few weeks ago.
Several of the ocean piers reported some king strikes in the last week, but only a pair were landed at Topsail and Carolina Beaches. More strikes were reported Monday and a pair landed off Topsail. The good news is that there were some nice Spanish Mackerel caught. There are still some speckled trout biting at the Oak Island piers, while elsewhere they are reporting mainly evening bites of spots and sea mullet. Some smaller bluefish are scattered along about everywhere. Tarpon sightings are back up along the ocean piers, but it appears to be fish that are moving south rather than stopping to feed.
The best king bite of the past week was around Frying Pan Tower. It was pretty consistent and there were some larger kings mixed in. Unfortunately it went away over the weekend. Maybe it will start again.
Dolphin continue to be the mainstay of the offshore catches, but some wahoo and a few billfish have also been caught.
Congratulations to Capt. Benson Ybanez and the crew of the Open Wide. Saturday, they caught a 58.10 pound king to win the Topsail Offshore Fishing Club (TOFC) King Mackerel Tournament.
Capt. Jerry Dilsaver