First--an apology to those folks who were looking for a report last week and didn't find it. Sorry, but I got called out on the road unexpectedly and it was one of the (many) things that got overlooked in the shuffle. I would love to say it won't happen again, but I'm not that optimistic. I'll sure try to keep it to a minimum.
The wind blew just enough to be disruptive last weekend, then settled out some during the week, but is forecast to build again this weekend. One tournament postponed last weekend and that might be something to consider again this weekend. The forecast is for a little gusty on Saturday, then increasing on Sunday. It might be a good weekend for pier fishing, fishing inside or possible even polishing off a few things on your honey-do list.
Once again we have a flurry of storm action in the Atlantic. TD 16 has formed and Tropical Storm Omar is forecast to move east and pass off Bermuda Friday night and Saturday morning. Even that far away, it seems to be affecting our weather a little.
One of the best reports this week has been the arrival of spots. Bogue Inlet Pier had a couple of days when they caught them two at a time. These weren't the big yellow-belly spots, but they weren't bad. Numerous fishermen said they couldn't wait to introduce their catch to some seafood breader mix and hot peanut oil.
Some spots were caught on shrimp, but live bloodworms and the Fishbites, Blurp and Berkley synthetics were the hot ticket. A double drop rig completed the outfit and prepared you for the action. In addition to the piers, there were several good runs around the bridge across Gallants Channel at Beaufort. Here the fishermen were in boats and along the little bit of bank around the bridge.
Other pier and channel catches included black drum, pompano, sea mullet, bluefish and Spanish mackerel. The water temperature at the pier had only dropped one degree to 72 degrees, but the cool front that is bringing the weekend's wind will probably help the water temperature fall below 70.
The inshore action continues to see lots of puppy drum and speckled trout and a few flounder. A fair number of flounder are being caught, but many are shy of the 15.5 inch minimum size and must be released. There was a good flounder bite around the jetties at Fort Macon early in the week, but many were shorts.
Once again there were schools of drum in the surf. The hot spots were along Shackleford Banks and Hammocks Beach State Park. One fisherman commented that it was because these beaches are undeveloped and don't have any lights at night. There are also some schools of drum in the surf at all three Drum Inlets and some large drum at Ocracoke Inlet. Maybe there is something to that dark beach theory?
Speckled trout are almost foolproof with live shrimp. They like them so much you can occasionally catch a few even when fishing in a marginal spot. Scented grubs and MirrOlures have been the top artificials for trout. Check out the Haystacks, Newport River, North River and Core Creek. Under the lights around the high-rise bridges at night is another good place to catch trout.
When the weather allows getting to them, the kings have been biting. There has been a fair bite at the Dead Tree Hole to just off the Cape Lookout Jetty and out to the Rock Barge. A few have also been caught in the Beaufort Inlet Channel and at AR 315. Larger kings had been caught across Cape Lookout shoals prior to the blow and should be there when conditions allow going. Several places mentioned often were AR 285, 1700 Rock, the Atlas Tanker and Chicken Rock.
There has also been a pretty consistent king bite off Long Beach. They aren't always close enough to be caught by pier fishermen, but they aren't very far off. Last weekend's Rumble in the Jungle winner was caught just off the big hill and several more placing kings came from nearby. This area is blocked when the wind is northerly and it isn't rough along the beach.
Once the water temperature drops below 70, they will probably be gone for the year, but Spanish mackerel continue to bite well. They have been as close as the ends of the piers and are spread along the beach. Assorted reports say the Spanish have generally been a little larger at Cape Lookout. Some nice Spanish have been caught along the Cape Fear River channel also.
I didn't get any reports this week, but the wahoo bite had been pretty good before the latest blow. Wahoo were reported to be mixed in with the kings at many of the king spots east of Cape Lookout and the offshore boats were catching them beginning around the 90 Foot Drop and out to the Big Rock.
This isn't saltwater, but bears mentioning. Over the weekend, I was invited to Roanoke Rapids to attend a Sugarland concert at Carolina Crossroads Amphitheater and go fishing. We all think of Roanoke Rapids and Weldon as a spring striper destination extraordinaire, but I didn't know what to expect during the fall. Boy, was I in for a pleasant surprise. Oh, the concert was excellent also.
My wife, donna Mooneyham, and I fished with Capt. Don Enderle, of Tri-Lakes Guide Service (252-451-0770), in Roanoke Rapids Lake and had a great time. Enderle said we would be fishing for stripers, but might also catch bass, catfish and walleye and we caught all but walleye. Donna even caught a channel catfish that would have been a state record just 5 weeks ago. It weighed 19.6 pounds and gave her quite a fight.
North Carolina Sportsman Magazine will be hosting a pair of saltwater fishing seminars this week on Tuesday, October 21, in Salisbury and Wednesday, October 22, in Greensboro. The seminars will offer a session on inshore saltwater fishing (trout, flounder and drum), then a break for refreshments and socializing and conclude with a session on king mackerel fishing. The speakers for the seminars will be Capt. George Beckwith of Down East Guide Fishing in Oriental and Capt. Jerry Dilsaver of N.C. Sportsman Magazine. Registration is $20 in advance and $25 the day of the seminar and at the door. For more information or to register, visit www.northcarolinasportsman.com or call 1-800-538-4355.
The week-long Bogue Inlet Pier King Mackerel Tournament concluded Friday and was topped by the 29 pound king Herb Chilton, of Reidsville, caught early in the week before the weather changed.
Fishermen in the CCA-NC Inside and Out Tournament, held October 11 in Morehead City, fought weather issues as a windy front arrived on Friday. W.F. Bulow, of Greenville, topped the King Mackerel Division with a 20 pound king, Lee Sykes, of Morehead City, topped the Speckled Trout Division with three trout that measured 24, 23 and 23 inches and Roy Long, of Raleigh, teamed with Jay Dail, of Charlotte, to top the Red Drum Division with a 5.13 pounder. No flounder, tuna, dolphin or wahoo were caught during the tournament.
The Crystal Coast Fishing Association Redfish Series Championship was held in Swansboro on October 11 in association with the Swansboro Mullet Festival. Lane Hurst and Jamie Riggs were the third qualifiers, but worked hardest in the tough conditions and won the championship with a pair of red drum that weighed 13.36 pounds.
There were several tournaments over the weekend. The King of the Coast Pier King Mackerel Tournament was held from Ocean Crest Pier on October 10-12. Unfortunately a run of bad weather moved in and messed up the king fishing that had been so good at Ocean Crest Pier for several weeks. No kings were caught during the tournament, so the awards had to go to secondary species and all three of the top places were won by bluefish catches. The winner was Joe Usery of Concord.
It's a little ways away, but is worthy of reporting for a couple of reasons. The Rumble at the Jungle King Mackerel Tournament, held in N. Myrtle Beach, S.C. over the weekend is actually 2 tournaments in one--an open tournament and a SKA Pro Tournament. Dan Upton, of Greenville, and the crew of the Team Donzi won the Rumble with a 34 pound king, while the Posse, with Capt. Dan Crowley, of St. Augustine, Florida topped the SKA Pro Division.
Of special note is that once again a North Carolina team has won the coveted Southern Kingfish Association Anglers of the Year Award. This year that award goes to Capt. Mark Henderson and the Liquid Fire Fishing Team, from Swansboro. Congratulations to all these winners.
One of last weekend's tournaments was postponed due to the weather. The Cedar Point King Mackerel Tournament was postponed until October 24 (Final Registration) and 25 (Fishing). For more information call 252-342-3589.
A couple of tournaments are on tap for this weekend and the Gordie McAdams Speckled Trout Surf Fishing Tournament begins at Emerald Isle on Saturday and runs through November 29. For more information visit www.emeraldisle-nc.org/eiprd or call the Emerald Isle Parks and Recreation Department at 252-354-6350.
The Drum Inlet King Mackerel Tournament will be held in Beaufort on October 18. For more information, call 252-225-8741.
The final event of the 2008 FLW Kingfish Tour began this morning in Wrightsville Beach. All participants will fish Friday and Saturday, with the top five fishing again on Sunday. For more information, visit www.flwoutdoors.com or call 270-252-1000.