Several days this week have been nice temperature and general conditions wise, but they have been gusty winds at times, so there aren't a lot of specific reports. However, there are lots of good generalities and some good expectations for fishing to be really good as soon as the weather settles out, which might just be Friday.
As I was writing this, it was raining and the wind was gusting a bit but varying direction. Apparently we are being influenced some by both the passing inland front and the outer edge of the low over Florida. I don't wish the folks in the Gulf states any ill will and would gladly offer to let the front move this way if it wouldn't bring strong winds, just some rain.
It was good to see Tropical Storm Ingrid blow itself out over the weekend and not develop into a threat to us. We are right in the heart of storm season and have been lucky so far. Maybe our luck will continue.
The forecast looks pretty fishy for the weekend. The stronger winds are on Friday and Monday and are only forecast to be 10-15 knots then. The 5-10 knot range for Saturday and Sunday should allow fishermen to head to wherever they would like. The daytime highs will climb back to the mid to upper 80's by Saturday, but the evenings should remain comfortable at around 70 degrees.
The cloud cover and cooler days have allowed the water temperatures to drop back into the 70's. We may cool another degree or two by the weekend. Wednesday, Bogue Inlet Pier was reporting 79 degrees.
The most often heard fishing report is that bluefish are everywhere. These are nice blues too, with many of 2 pounds or more and some up to around 5 pounds. Even if you don't like to eat bluefish, these are fun to catch.
There are also some gray trout, but in many cases they are holding under the schools of blues and it is difficult to get a bait or lure down to them. Under the bridges, in the turning basin, Dead Tree Hole, just off the Cape Lookout Jetty and in the hook at Cape Lookout are good places to find grays.
Be aware the limits for gray trout will change on October 1. The minimum size is 12 inches and will remain the same. Currently the bag limit is 7, but will reduce to 6.
The pier fishermen caught a few more spots this week and some spot yachts are beginning to be anchored at several of the more popular spots to catch the tasty panfish. The pier catches are slow and the inshore spot fishing is very slow. It's still a little early and it will improve as the water cools.
In addition to the spots, the fishing reports from the piers included pompano, lots of bluefish, some flounder, Spanish mackerel, a few drum and some trout.
Pier king fishermen need to get ready as the Kings of the Coast tournament is at Ocean Crest Pier in Oak Island this weekend and the Bogue Inlet Pier King Tournament is coming up on October 1-5.
The large red drum bite at Cedar Island and in the Neuse River around Oriental continues to be red hot. I worked a seminar Tuesday evening in Greensboro with Capt. Ray Massengill of Down East Guide Service and he said it was the best old drum bite he could remember. Most boats are catching more than 10 per trip and Massengill said Capt. Brian Harrington released 72 one afternoon and evening.
The speckled trout bite picked up again this week. Most of the coastal creeks are holding some specks if you take the time to find them, but the hot reports are coming from the Haystacks behind Morehead City. Live shrimp are deadly baits, but minnows, grubs and MirrOlures are producing also.
Puppy drum are biting well also. They may be found anywhere there is a concentration of baitfish and are rarely picky about what they will eat. Early morning and late afternoons are usually better, but as the water continues to cool, the drum bite could be hot all day. Drum are curious and readily investigate baits suspended under popping and rattling corks.
Maybe it was just the week, but this week I had a large number of fishermen crying the blues regarding the exceptionally slow flounder bite. There are a few spots that have been pretty consistent, but overall it has been a slow year for flounder. The better flounder fishing has been in the ocean at the nearshore artificial reefs and rocks.
More good news has come from the offshore boats. The weather has been tough on the smaller boats heading offshore, but there have been some really good catches of wahoo, sailfish and dolphin all along the coast. However, one of the hottest locations for these three has been in the general area between the 90 Foot Drop and the Big Rock. A few tuna are being caught in this same area, but the tuna bite is much better from Cape Hatteras to the north.
There was a fair run of kings last weekend and early this week. Some had moved back near the beaches, including a couple of schools that invaded the hook at Cape Lookout. Capt. Noah Lynk of Noah's Ark Charters said he caught several and lost some real hard runners on a trip for bluefish and Spanish. I didn't get a report of a king from a pier this week, but with all the bait in the water, they'll be moving in close real soon.
Doug Leister of Fort Macon Marine Sales called to say the mullet minnows were thick and moving along the beaches. He also e-mailed a really neat picture that showed a school of finger mullet swimming through the crest of a wave. The presence of these baits has brought Spanish mackerel, bluefish, drum, flounder and more into the surf to feed on them. Surf and pier fishermen shouldn't be casting too far beyond the streaming bait.
The Brunswick County CCA Deep Water -- Shallow Water Rodeo began last Saturday and continues through this Saturday in Ocean Isle. At this time the All In leads the King Mackerel Division with a 25 pounder and the Nova leads the Inshore Division with a combined weight of 12.80 pounds for 1 each speckled trout, flounder and red drum. The Gambler, with Capt. Allen Kinney of Oak Island, won the Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series Atlantic Beach Tournament with a king that weighed 35 pounds and 9 ounces.
This weekend's tournaments include the Onslow Bay Open King Mackerel Tournament (www.obokmt.us or 910-326-2392) in Swansboro, the Long Bay Artificial Reef Association King Mackerel and Flounder Club Challenge (www.lbara.com or 910-278-4137) in Southport and the Kings of the Coast Tournament (www.oceancrestpier.net or 910-278-6674) in Oak Island.