Isn't this strange fall weather even for eastern N.C.? A cold front backs in from the north and after dropping our temperature a few degrees, our weather warms up the front and turns it warm. We haven't had a 95 degree day in a couple of weeks, but it's still odd to walk out before daylight in October and break a sweat loading the boat. I heard a TV weatherman commenting that this morning was 20 degrees warmer than normal. I guess we should enjoy it before it gets cold enough to complain about that.
We are sort of stuck between two weather systems and neither is particularly good. Early in the week, we were looking at gusty northerly winds through the weekend, but now that has been changed to gusty southerly winds through Saturday night, then switching back to the north and northeast and of course gusty.
Once again a cold front is supposed to move in over the weekend. Maybe this one will. The slightly cooler and cloudy weather of this week has dropped the water temperatures to around 80. With another cold front, maybe we can get it down into the mid-70's.
If you are planning to fish this weekend, you should plan to stay in protected waters through Saturday. Once the wind switches on Sunday, we should be able to get into the ocean, as long as we hug the south facing beaches.
The spots began biting on the Bogue Banks piers a couple of weeks ago and it is still going in several places. On the east end of Bogue Banks, the spot fishing has been inconsistent, but it has been good at the west end. This bite is moving down toward Topsail, Wrightsville and Carolina Beaches, but hasn't turned the corner at Cape Fear just yet. This still isn't the main part of the spot run, but the catches have certainly made fishing for them worthwhile.
For years the primary bait for spots has been bloodworms, with shrimp a reasonable second choice. However, many fishermen are singing the praises of the Fishbites synthetic bloodworm alternative, Bag O' Worms, from Carr Specialty Baits.
Other fish being caught from the piers includes puppy drum, speckled trout, gray trout, pompano, bluefish, flounder, Spanish mackerel and some nice sea mullet. A hot flounder bite is going on at Ocean Crest Pier in Oak Island right now. Lots of nice flounder have hit the deck over the past week. The most unusual pier catch of the past week was a 4-3/4 pound stargazer at Triple S Pier in Atlantic Beach.
Even with the breezy and overcast weather the inshore bite has been pretty good. The reports include flounder, red drum, speckled trout, black drum, sheepshead and bluefish.
The windy conditions have kept many of the offshore boats at the dock. When they can get out, there have been some scattered dolphin, a mixture of yellowfin and blackfin tuna, a few billfish and a great fall wahoo bite. At Oregon Inlet, the bigeye tuna have shown up and add another dimension to the tuna fishing.
King mackerel move to the forefront in N.C. fishing this weekend and next week. Over the weekend, the Drum Inlet King Mackerel Tournament (252-225-8741) will be held from Beaufort. The Rumble in the Jungle King Mackerel Tournament (843-458-1698) originally scheduled for Little River, SC this weekend has been postponed until October 21 and 22, due to bad weather. On Monday, the Wal-Mart FLW Professional Kingfish Tour takes center stage for the remainder of the week.
First up for the FLW fishermen is the final qualifying tournament, which was relocated and rescheduled from Southport in September, due to Hurricane Ophelia. This event will fish on Monday and Tuesday, with weigh-ins at Sea Water Marina both afternoons.
Tuesday afternoon, the 50-boat field will be set for the Wal-Mart FLW Professional Kingfish Tour Championship. These fishermen, who have competed for these spots at qualifying tournaments along the east and gulf coasts, will then fish Thursday and Friday, with the top 10 boats fishing again on Saturday. Friday and Saturday the weigh-ins will be at Seawater Marina. Saturday's final weigh-in will be in the Morehead City Wal-Mart parking lot.
Congratulations to Joe Winslow and crew on the Hooligan for winning the Toys for Tots King Mackerel Tournament and to Ron Sutton and crew on the Hammer for winning the US Open King Mackerel Tournament. Their fish weighed 35 and 38 pounds respectively.