Overall our hurricane luck continues to go pretty well. I traveled through some of the areas flooded by Tropical Storm Ernesto last weekend and, while the water had subsided, you could tell how high it had been by the mud lines on everything. In places it was as bad as after Hurricane Floyd.
If this had happened in New Orleans, the National Guard would have been called out and someone at FEMA would be subject to answer for it. Here it all passed without much fanfare and the affected folks were out trying to clean up and put their lives back together.
Hurricane Florence passed well offshore and only sent us some large waves along the coast and Hurricane Gordon is doing more of the same. There is now a Tropical Storm Helene formed in about the same area as Florence and Gordon. It is forecast to become a hurricane by the weekend and make a westward jag that could bring it closer to us by later next week. Hopefully our luck won't run out and it will follow a similar path to Florence and Gordon.
We had a large swell hanging on for most of the week and it is finally subsiding as I am working on this. The winds were pretty strong too for the last few days, so there haven't been a lot of reports. The weather does look better for Friday through Monday, with the winds working northerly at 10-15 knots through Sunday, and then getting back to the south at 5-10 knots on Monday. The weather will be cooler also.
Once again, there hasn't been much offshore fishing in the last week. The reports were good up until then and the fish should be hungry and waiting when we get to them again. The offshore bite had been seeing a good number of wahoo, with lots of dolphin and an occasional sailfish.
There had been good king mackerel reports throughout the area for several weeks, but they disappeared last weekend. Many fishermen are wondering if that was due to the large swells, the full moon or some combination of both. The good news is both will be gone this weekend and hopefully the king fishing will take back up where it left off.
Even though the nearshore water had silted up from the swell, the Spanish mackerel have been biting most mornings. They have been especially prevalent on the piers. There big, and unexpected, pier catch this week has been spots. An early run of spots had fishermen filling coolers at every pier. They weren't huge, but they sure were nice. I wonder if this is a sign of an early fall?
There is good news from Bogue Inlet Pier this week. At their Tuesday night meeting, the Emerald Isle Town Council approved a deal to purchase the pier and keep it open and in town control. The eventual plan is for it to become a satellite facility of the N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores and be operated as an educational and self supporting facility. That is still in negotiations and probably several years away.
At Sportsman Pier, owner David Bradley made it official the pier would be closing on October 28 and not reopening. He said it was with a heavy heart he was closing, but the cost of operation had risen to the point it was no longer a feasible business. Anyone who may want one of the benches from the pier as a keepsake should contact the pier and reserve it. The benches are selling for $25 each and a final auction of all the pier's equipment will be held after the closing.
Inshore fishing has been the bright spot this week. The flounder drum and trout appear to have weathered the influx of rainwater runoff and are biting well again. Flounder and drum are in pretty good numbers all along the state and speckled trout fishing is starting to pick up.
Last week, I got in a speckled trout trip with Capt. Andy Fisher and the point was proven. We could only go for a few hours one morning, but he put me on the trout. We kept 15 and only had one under 15 inches. It was hooked deep and we didn't think it would survive. We probably released at least another 15. It was a fun trip.
The excess rain didn't seem to bother the large drum in Pamlico Sound. They are biting almost every night and some are being caught most afternoons.
The Atlantic Beach King Mackerel Tournament was held last weekend in less than perfect weather and with another low turnout. Tournament participation has been down this year almost everywhere. Congratulations to Sam Ottaway and the crew of the Out of Reach, who won the tournament with a 37 pound king.
This weekend there will be two king mackerel tournaments in Carteret County. The Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series will be in Morehead City and Atlantic Beach for the final event of the North Carolina Division. There was one spot remaining in this tournament and someone could enter Friday afternoon between 4 and 6, at the Morehead City Wal-Mart. For more information call 270-252-1000 or visit www.flwoutdoors.com.
The other tournament is the Gregory Poole Strike It Rich King Mackerel Tournament, from Beaufort. This tournament is a winner-take-all format, with a minimum guarantee of $50,000. Entry is $500 and there are numerous spots still available. For more information call 252-222-3321.