Our introduction to fall was even more complete this week, when we woke several mornings to find some frost on the pumpkins. It got cold Monday night and has continued to be cool for the balance of the week. Some windy conditions have posed problems for fishermen, but those making the trip are reporting good catches.
The water temperature at Bogue Inlet Pier was 73 degrees on Monday, but certainly has fallen since then. Capt. Dave Dietzler reported the upper 60's in the creeks around Morehead City on Wednesday and we may lose another degree or two before the weather warms and stabilizes some beginning on Saturday.
We've got a pretty fair blow forecast for this weekend, but it isn't a mullet blow--it's coming from the south. It looks like Friday will be pretty decent through the day, with the winds swinging to the south and beginning to increase during the late afternoon. The real blow will come overnight Friday and through Saturday when the winds build to 25 to 35 knots. Sometime late Saturday night into Sunday, the winds should move back around to the north and slowly begin falling out. Sunday will probably still be a bit breezy, but Monday looks better.
I spent a little time Saturday afternoon chasing trout with very limited success. I got the spot I wanted in the creek I was in, but they just weren't real interested. I caught enough red drum and assorted other stuff to have fun.
Tuesday night I was at a fishing seminar at AK McCallum Company in Fayetteville and a fellow walked up and said he had seen me in the creek and wondered if I had caught any trout. When I replied it had been very slow, he commented that he had fished the same spot in the morning and it had been slow then also. He said he went around the next bend in the creek and found a school of red drum to keep his buddies happy.
With the cooling water temperatures our red drum are gathering in schools. Usually if you find one, more are close by. Some of these fish are in the marshes and some have moved through the inlets and into the surf.
Several fishermen I have spoken to lately have said their flounder fishing has been a little slow over the past few weeks. This current cold spell and the dropping water temperature should help the flounder bite. There are flounder in the marshes and creeks and they should be moving towards the inlets. Good numbers of flounder being caught at the nearshore artificial reefs and several nearshore hardbottom areas.
Speckled trout fishing is good! There are specks in many of the popular inshore spots from Hatteras to Calabash. They have also moved into the ocean in places. The surf, especially from the middle of the state and northwards is holding some specks, plus they are around the jetties at Cape Lookout, Fort Macon, Masonboro Inlet and Little River Inlet.
Capt. Charles Brown said the trout and drum fishing was going well in Core Sound and they had seen some really good days with flounder also. He suggested the areas around all three Drum Inlets as good places to fish.
The gray trout in the Morehead City Turning Basin have been joined by some sea mullet and an occasional spot bite. They are mixed with speckled trout and bluefish under the lights of the high-rise bridges at night. The grays are also biting through and just outside Beaufort Inlet and up to the Dead Tree Hole. Grays have also made a good showing at Browns Inlet, New River Inlet, Johns Creek Rock and along the rocks at Fort Fisher.
The spot run is still having its ups and downs. Perhaps this latest cold spell will fire it off. Currently, they aren't really thick, anywhere. The spot yachts aren't hard to spot as they congregate in various areas along the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). Several places that have been crowded are Gallants Channel, around Middle Marsh, between the Turning Basin and Beaufort Inlet at Morehead City, the ICW between the Bogue Inlet Channel and the Emerald Isle Bridge at Swansboro, the pigfish grounds and Coast Guard Channel at Southport, the ICW between Lockwoods Folly River and the Lockwoods Folly Inlet Channel and at the intersection of the ICW and Calabash Creek, near Calabash.
The pier catches of spots have been inconsistent also. After the Sportsmans Pier closed last Sunday, There are only three piers (Oceanana, Sheraton and Bogue Inlet) remaining along Bogue Banks. Other piers catches include pompano, bluefish, flounder, sea mullet, red drum, black drum, croakers, gray trout and speckled trout.
There were several good schools of false albacore along Shackleford Banks and Cape Lookout this week. They are just in time for the Cape Lookout Albacore Festival this weekend. Call 252-646-2032 or visit www.claf.org for more information. A few schools of them have been spotted off Wrightsville Beach also.
The fall king mackerel run has started and slowed over the past several weeks. Maybe this latest temperature drop will be the catalyst to stop the sputtering and really get it going. The fall bite off Hatteras and east of Cape Lookout is past due on getting hot. Last week's best bite was off Carolina Beach and Southport.
The offshore boats continue to find good catches of wahoo and dolphin. Capt. Joe Shute reported some sailfish mixed in with the wahoo off Morehead City. There are some tuna to the north, off Hatteras and Oregon Inlet.
The fall grouper bite is going strong. When the weather allows, there are good reports of gags, scamps and reds. Beeliners, black sea bass, triggerfish and grunts are also being caught by the offshore bottom bouncers.
Capt. Lou Roberts and the crew of the Weldor's Ark blew away the field at the Calcutta Wahoo Challenge. They caught a 50 pounder on Friday and the tournament winner at 71.75 pounds on Saturday. Their aggregate topped that category also. Terry Godwin and the Rawhide crew topped the Wrightsville Beach King Mackerel Tournament with a 40.15 pound king. Jonathan Lane led his Efishency crew to the win at the Cedar Point King Mackerel Tournament with a 26.35 pound catch.
Congratulations to all the successful tournament fishermen.
The Gordie McAdams Speckled Trout Surf Fishing Tournament (252-354-6350, www.emeraldisle-nc.org/eiprd) continues through December 2 in Emerald Isle. The Cape Lookout Albacore Festival Tournament (252-646-2032, www.claf.org) is this weekend in Morehead City and the Fall Brawl King Classic (910-575-3474, www.oifishingcenter.com) will be in Ocean Isle. The Cape Hatteras Anglers Club Invitational Surf Fish Tournaments (252-995-4253, www.capehatterasanglersclub.org) begin Wednesday of next week in Buxton.
The Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series Championship is currently underway in Orange Beach, Alabama, with many area anglers participating. I wish all of them well.