Folks, please pardon me if I depart from the usual format of this report, but it has been a somber week for many of us. The ongoing tragedy of Hurricane Katrina's rampage across the Gulf coast hit really close to home. Many of us have good friends in that area, some have family, and some have business relationships. As one who has all three, I have found it nearly impossible to turn away from the television coverage and jump every time the phone rings.
Most of my family, friends and business associates have fared fairly well under the circumstances. I have managed to talk with many of them and while they are devastated, they are genuinely amazed and thankful. Many folks, as we have seen on TV, have lost everything.
These folks need our help. While it isn't quite exactly the right thing for us to try to head off down there, we can support the relief agencies and disaster team who are already in place. My suggestion is to donate to the American Red Cross or Salvation Army and have then distribute the food, water and clothing. That area is fragile right now and regardless of how well intentioned we might be, a large influx of people will strain the few food and housing systems still working and the new ones being put into operation. We may well be able to help better from a distance away.
There are those of us who remember similar devastation from Hurricane Floyd not too many years ago. Remember those who helped us in our time of need and now it's time to pass it on.
This is Labor Day Weekend, which is usually a very big weekend along the Crystal Coast. Hopefully that is true again, but many folks are wary of soaring gas prices and forecasted gas shortages. The good news is the weather looks to be pretty nice, especially for today and Saturday, and even a few degrees cooler. There is some storm activity in the tropics, but at this time only Tropical Depression Lee has been named and it is already above us.
There have been some good catches of fish since last weekend and they should still be around.
Things heated up a little in the surf and from the piers this week. The mixture of fish from the piers includes pompano, sea mullet, spots, flounder, trout, bluefish, Spanish mackerel and an occasional king mackerel. Add tarpon to that list also. On Tuesday, Danny Glover of Emerald Isle released an estimated 120 pound tarpon at Bogue Inlet Pier. Numerous kings were caught at Ocean Crest Pier early in the week, with Dave Roseman of Oak Island leading the way with three catches.
Some tarpon and large red drum remain in the lower Pamlico Sound. The drum are in shallower waters off Cedar, Swan and Raccoon Islands and in the entrance to West Bay, while the tarpon are just out between the Neuse River Entrance Marker, Brant Island Shoal Light and Brant Island Shoal slough.
The puppy drum have been biting fairly well in the creeks and marshes.
Flounder fishing has been good, especially in the hook at Cape Lookout, Beaufort Inlet and at several nearshore rocks and artificial reefs.
The sheepshead are biting and could be a good alternative for anyone with the feel and patience. I went after sheepshead on Wednesday and had some difficulty feeling their subtle bite, but still managed to catch dinner.
This South Brunswick Islands King Classic (800-546-4622), scheduled for last weekend in Holden Beach, has been postponed until September 23 and 24.
Next weekend is the Atlantic Beach King Mackerel Tournament (252-247-2334). The registration, special events and awards will be in the parking lot at Outer Banks Outfitters and the daily weigh-ins will be at Seawater Marina. The Hatteras Village Surf Fishing Tournament (252-986-2579 will be at Hatteras.
Due to the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in the Biloxi area, the Walt Mart-FLW Kingfish Tour Championships have been relocated to Morehead City and Atlantic Beach for October 12 to 15. This is a no entry fee tournament for the top 50 boats on the Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour. The final regular season tournament will be in Southport on September 15 to 17. Currently 20 of the top 50 boats are from North Carolina and another half-dozen or more are from South Carolina.