It was so good to check the tropical weather map again this morning and not see any activity. Hopefully we are through with our hurricane activity for the year. If you haven't experienced the fury of a full blown hurricane, consider yourself lucky.
Last week was the 50th anniversary of Hurricane Hazel's sweep through North Carolina. The pictures from that storm show incredible damage, but the coast was no where near as developed as today. I hope I never have to see the damage a storm of that magnitude would do to our coast with its present development.
Last week got windy toward the end of the week, but became a super fishing day on Sunday. This week's weather is forecast to be different on the opposite ends of the coast. The southern coast winds are forecast to be northerly at 5-10 knots Thursday and Friday, while the northern coast winds are projected to be from the northeast at 15 to 20. Let's hope the southerly forecast creeps northward. If this doesn't improve, it could be a bumpy tournament for those fishing the Teach's Lair Shootout and SKA Pro Tournament at Hatteras.
The water is finally cooling and our fall fishing is going really well. When the winds allow, the offshore bite is hot and when you can't get out, there is good selection of willing biters in the inshore and nearshore waters.
Drum, gray trout, speckled trout, some flounder, and lots of spots are biting from Manteo to Calabash. A hot gray trout bite has been going in the Morehead City areas around Middle Marsh, the Beaufort Inlet Channel and at Cape Lookout. Red drum are biting in the surf at Cape Hatteras to Little River Inlet. An excellent flounder bite is still happening at Carolina Beach Inlet and Snows Cut near Carolina Beach. Spots are inshore, in the surf, and being caught from the piers along the entire coast.
I know I keep repeating this, but I experienced one of the spot fishing log jams this weekend and there was no way a tug and barge could have gotten through. When fishing from a boat, it is illegal to block the channel and impede traffic. You should anchor along the channel edge and cast over into it. While they would prefer not to have to, the Coast Guard is monitoring this situation and will write tickets if the situation warrants.
The first of the big fall yellowbellies spots were caught over the weekend. Several ocean piers were loaded two deep through the strike zone. Flounder also bit pretty well. Other species also being caught from the piers include Spanish mackerel, blues, pompano, red and black drum, sea mullet, gray trout, speckled trout, and king mackerel.
The king bite was good last week and shouldn't change for a while. Good catches were reported from Oregon Inlet, Hatteras, Morehead City, Topsail, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach and Southport. Finding live bait is still a challenge in many areas.
The false albacore have shown up too. Numerous fishermen have reported catching them as surprises and the schools at Cape Lookout are getting easy to locate.
The offshore action has been good whenever the weather allowed the trip. Wahoo are the top offshore catches right now, but there are also dolphin, tuna, and an occasional billfish. A few early bluefin tuna have been caught off Hatteras, so they could be arriving in force at any time.
Congratulations to Capt. Fred Piper and the Sandpiper II crew for winning the Fall Brawl King Classic. Their winning fish weighed 42 pounds and came from off Topsail.
This weekend's tournaments are the Teach's Lair King Mackerel Shootout (252-986-2460), at Hatteras, and the re-scheduled South Brunswick Islands King Classic (910-754-6644), at Holden Beach.
Capt. Jerry Dilsaver