Hey, we finally got that cold front. It rolled in Sunday, just like it was forecast and had us digging for some jackets and long pants. I don't know about you, but I like it. We are going to begin warming back up though. Our forecast for the next few days has us warming up beginning Sunday, getting back up into the mid-70's by early in the week and being more seasonable for a while.
I really believe this cold snap was just what the fishing needed. The water temps have cooled to the high 60's to low 70's and the fish have gotten really active. Now if we can just get the wind to calm down. The winds look blustery for Friday and Saturday, then laying out some for Sunday and getting even better into early next week.
Our weather continues to throw some curves and knuckleballs our way. We were fortunate to only get some rain and gale force winds as Hurricane Wilma passed early in the week. The surfers loved it as the big swells and offshore winds gave them some waves they usually have to go to movies to see.
Then we had Tropical Storm/Depression Alpha form and fizzle out in the Atlantic near Bermuda. Now, I am looking at Tropical Storm Beta, which quickly formed in the Caribbean and turned west toward Central America. This has been a very prolific hurricane season and I am ready for the storms to end.
While the winds kept the offshore boats at the docks for several days, the cold snap turned on the inshore fishing. I have heard good speckled trout reports from all along the coast
The trout are hitting a variety of soft plastic grubs and hard plastic stick baits. One sure-fire bait is live shrimp and many tackle shops have them. Several guides have been touting the Berkley Gulp Shrimp as being almost as good as live. You might want to try them and see for yourself.
The spot bite seems to be hot and cold and sometimes varies on the same day. While there are some large spots at times, this isn't the run of the big yellowbelly spots. Several local experts have said this cold snap may get the big spots here at any day.
The spot fishing has been more consistent from the ocean piers and from Wrightsville Beach to the north. There have been some good days inshore also. Gallants Channel and Taylors Creek around the Duke Marine Lab at Morehead City, the Intracoastal Waterway near the Emerald Isle Bridge near Swansboro, the lower Cape Fear River between Southport and Bald Head Island, and where the Lockwood Folly Inlet Channel intersects with the Intracostal Waterway are several very popular locations.
When you are fishing for spots at these locations, you must remember it is illegal to anchor so you block a navigable channel. The larger boats are constrained to operating in the deeper water of the channel and large rigs, especially tugs and barges, have limited maneuverability and require long distances to slow and stop. You should anchor along the edge of the channel and cast over into it. Two weeks ago a barge accidentally bumped a small boat that refused to clear the channel near the Emerald Isle Bridge.
The ocean piers have had another good week. While there have been good catches of several different species at times, the order of the day has been coolers full of mixed catches. These good fall mixed-bag catches have included speckled trout, sea mullet, gray trout, pompano, flounder, bluefish, black drum, red drum, Spanish mackerel and some sheepshead.
With the cooling water temperatures the red drum are getting very active and biting well. Almost all of the coastal creeks and marshes have a few spots that hold pups well. There was a good catch of big reds in the surf at Portsmouth Island, Ocracoke, Hatteras and Oregon Inlet this week.
There were several good king bites reported all along the coast. The kings were in close, but may be moving off some as the water cools.
The offshore boats only got in a couple of trips this week, but the wahoo were hungry. There were also a few late sailfish. Off Hatteras and Oregon Inlet, the tuna also bit well. The tuna catch was mostly yellowfins, with a few bigeyes and blackfins.
Congratulations to Capt. Daryl Brower and angler Windsor Berringer for catching a 66.75 pound wahoo to win the inaugural Calcutta Wahoo Challenge last weekend in Morehead City.
This weekend's tournaments include the Cape Lookout Albacore Festival (252-726-3773) and CCA Inside-Out Tournament (919-256-4430) from Morehead City and Atlantic Beach and the Wrightsville Beach King Mackerel Tournament (910-256-4430) from Wrightsville Beach.