There is no doubt that fall is here. Through the middle of the week, the wind is forecast to blow from the northeast fairly briskly before moving to the east for Thursday and Friday. At this time, the weekend forecast isn't posted yet, but lets hope the wind changes direction and falls out some.

The wind speed will change somewhere between Cape Fear and Cape Lookout, but the entire NC coast is looking at several days of east wind. The wind should be stronger along the mid and central coast, at 15 to 20 knots and a little lighter south of Surf City. The good news is that the air temperatures will be pretty warm, with days in the mid 70's and nights in the mid to high 50's.

The inshore catch has been mixed, but with few complaints from anywhere. Spots continue to be the number one topic, but there are plenty of other fish also. For those fishermen who look around, there are speckled trout, gray trout, flounder, bluefish, croakers, sea mullet and more in the inside waters all along the coast. You can add stripers to that mix at Manns Harbor and they are biting well.

Good flounder fishing reports continue to come from Cape Lookout all the way south to the NC/SC Sate Line. Areas near the inlets have been hot for several weeks. Some good flounder catches are also coming from the nearshore artificial reefs and the piers.

As the water has cooled, red drum have become more active and are feeding heavily. Drum catches have been reported all the way from the marshes to the nearshore rocks and artificial reefs. Some large red drum are also being caught in the surf along much of the coast.

Some stripers were caught in the surf north of Avon over the weekend. The word is that they were nice fish in the 35 to 45 inch range. Maybe the ocean striper fishing is getting off to an early start.

An excellent gray trout bite is going on in many places. Most reports are of numbers of grays over 15 inches. Remember that the gray trout limit changed last spring. It is now 7 fish per person, with a minimum size of 12 inches.

Except for a few bouts with rainy windy weather, the ocean piers had another pretty good week. The catch included spots, sea mullet, flounder, trout, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, false albacore, and pompano. It is easy to tell a pier with a good spot bite going on. The crowd is thick and all on the north or east side of the pier.

The king mackerel bite has fired up everywhere but on the east side of Cape Lookout. Many fishermen are questioning what is causing this strange occurrence. The fish are biting well farther north in Raleigh Bay, but not near Cape Lookout. The kings aren't really large, but they are feeding well and make for an exciting day.

The awesome wahoo bite continues offshore. The hottest locations appear to be from just below the Big Rock to the 100-400 off Southport. Toward the end of last week, there were also a fair number of sailfish just below the Big Rock, down near the 300 line. There are some tuna mixed in too, along with a few dolphin.

Congratulations to the Second Nature for winning the Coral Bay Open King Mackerel Tournament this past weekend. Their winning king weighed 36.75 pounds.

This weekend, the Teach's Lair Shootout King Mackerel Tournament (252-726-5303 or 252-240-2751) will be held at the Capt. Stacy Fishing Center in Atlantic Beach. This tournament was relocated from Hatteras Village and will serve as a fund raising event for the Hatteras Recovery Fund. The Wrightsville Beach King Mackerel Tournament (910-256-4430 or www.wbkmt.com), which was also rescheduled due to Hurricane Isabel, will be held in Wrightsville Beach.

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


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