The rain returned with a vengeance last week. I talked to numerous fishermen at different locations along the coast who reported over five inches of rain. I don't want to say we don't need it, but it sure is staying puddled up and in the ditches for a long time. It kept the fishermen fairly soggy too, but many of those who found out they wouldn't melt were rewarded with good catches.
The wind has been mostly from the north since the middle of last week. This has allowed us good access to the southerly facing beaches, but has put a good chop off the easterly facing beaches and some large swells offshore. This has slowed the fishing some but didn't stop it. The upcoming forecast is for some breezy winds during the middle of the week, that may fall out Thursday and Friday, but will return by the weekend.
There is good news coming from the Outer Banks. On Friday, the ferries began allowing non-residents to travel to Ocracoke. Power and water utilities are back on-line there and working well.
Despite finding out that it will take more sand and a longer time to fill the breaches between Hatteras Village and Frisco, there is good news from Hatteras also. The water connection was completed last week and the new lines were being blown out. I was told the water had a heavy chlorine taste at first, but was returning to more normal. Their power connections were also completed and several restaurants opened on a limited basis over the weekend.
The Hatteras restaurants are currently for residents only, as non-residents are only permitted in the marina areas for charters, but with the utilities restored this may change soon. Arrangements have been made to pick up their fishermen at Frisco and the Hatteras charter boats are fishing again. Contact the individual captains to verify their arrangements. It may still be a while before visitors are allowed to overnight in Hatteras
In the inshore waters the catch has been pretty good for those willing to brave the rain. The spot catch is getting the most talk, but there have been some very good trout, drum and flounder bites. Some of the best flounder reports have come from behind Shackleford Banks. The drum bite is not quite as hot as last fall, but there have been some good reports from all along the coast. The Turning Basin at Morehead city and along the jetty at Masonboro Inlet have been gray trout hotspots. This should spread across the coast as the water cools a few more degrees.
The ocean piers had another good week. The reports all say that the spots have arrived and are biting. Some piers have reported good numbers and some have reported large sizes. Bluefish and flounder are also mentioned in many pier reports. Call your favorite pier and see what they say.
Carolina Beach Inlet was closed last week after a shrimp boat ran aground, sank, and then broke up. The anticipation was that it would be open by today but it has not been opened yet. You may want to call and verify it has reopened, before planning to use it.
The king mackerel bite remains a bit iffy. Two of the better locations have been around the jetty at Cape Lookout and the Cape Fear River Sea Buoy at Southport.
When the weather allows, there has been a good yellowfin and wahoo bite around the Point, Rock Pile, Big Rock, and the Steeples.
Congratulations to Team Donzi for winning the North Carolina SKA Pro Tournament out of Beaufort this past weekend. Congratulation also to the Lights Out for winning the Drum Inlet King Mackerel Tournament. These folks, from Tarboro, topped all the pros on their 21 foot boat.
This weekend, the Fall Brawl King Mackerel Tournament (910-754-4454) will be held in Ocean Isle.
For more in-depth coverage on "how to" and "where to" go fishing along the Carolina coast, check out my articles and more in the North Carolina Sportsman Magazine and visit us on the web at www.northcarolinasportsman.com.
Capt. Jerry Dilsaver