That burst of cool weather on Friday served notice that fall is definitely here and winter is on the way. I was wearing sweats and a "snuggies" shirt and was cool most of the day. I really liked it too. Summer was nice, but I prefer to fish when the fish are more aggressive and I'm not sweating. That certainly was the case this past Friday.

The weather has warmed back up some, but it will be cooling again before too long. This has finally gotten me a little excited. It appears to have gotten the fish a little excited too. For those of us who like to put some fish in the freezer for the winter, the time has arrived. The big plus is we have fun doing it. Don't you just love to complain about how many fish you have to clean and prepare for the freezer?

The ocean piers had another good weekend. In most places, the spots have arrived. Several piers and tackle shops reported running out of bloodworms and having to rush some more in. That is an excellent indication that fishermen are catching---not just fishing.

Bluefish continue to bite almost everywhere along the coast. Many are fat fish of several pounds and more. A number of piers also reported an excellent flounder bite, along with some nice puppy drum. There are some sea mullet and a few trout being caught too. The water temperature has dropped into the low 70's and the fish are hungry.

There has been a pretty good gray trout bite at Cape Lookout and in the Turning Basin. Try fishing just off the end of the Cape Lookout jetty and back towards the channel going into the hook. In the Turning Basin, the edges of the channels have been where the grays were gathering. It may be hard to drift in the Turning Basin as more and more spot fishermen arrive, but give it a try.

Speaking of spots, many of the annual favorite spots along the inland waters are beginning to load up with boats full of spot fishermen. Some of the favorites are the Pungo River at Pamlico Sound, Hobucken, Fort Macon, the Emerald Isle Bridge, New River at the ICW, Snows Cut, Cape Fear River at Southport, Lockwood Folly River and Inlet, Shallotte River and Inlet, and Calabash Creek at the ICW. Fresh shrimp and bloodworms are the best baits.

In the next few weeks these areas will become very congested. Remember, it is illegal to block a channel. In some of these more congested areas, the Coast Guard will be patrolling to keep the channels clear. Anchor along the edge of the channel and cast over into it.

The king mackerel bite turned on pretty strong Saturday. While they bit all along the coast, the hot spot was in the Cape Fear River Channel off Southport. In the most impressive show so far this year, it took 24.5 pounds to make the 55 place leaderboard at the US Open King Mackerel Tournament.

The good weather allowed many folks to head offshore. There has been a good yellowfin, wahoo, and dolphin bite around the Big Rock, Rock Pile, and the Steeples.

For you folks that had charters arranged out of Hatteras, the news is not all bad. They are picking up charters at Frisco and making ferry arrangements to Hatteras Village. You will still have to stay in Buxton or Frisco, but you can get to Hatteras to go fishing. Call the captain you have booked with for the details. Cleanup work is progressing and they expect to have water and electricity going sometime this week.

Congratulations to the Coon Dog for winning the US Open KMT. Their 43.75 pound king was the class of the 523 boat field.

This weekend we have the Nags Head Surf Fishing Tournament (252-441-5464), Atlantic Beach Surf Fishing Tournament (252-726-6350), and Drum Inlet King Mackerel Tournament (252-225-8741).

Capt. Jerry Dilsaver


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