The water is still dirty and the fish are still biting - maybe even biting better than last week.  What to do?  Well the first thing is not to complain or question it and the second is to make some time to go catching.  All things considered, fishing is surprisingly good.

The early weather forecast has the days mostly sunny and moderate for the next week and that's what fall weather is about.  Even better, the early wind forecast is pretty good.  This shows the wind puffing up overnight on Saturday, then again on Monday, but being around 10 knots or less most of the time through the end of next week.  That's an invitation to go fishing you shouldn't refuse.

I'm going to lead with pier fishing as it has been pretty good with a lot of variety along the entire NC Coast.  The king mackerel showed up again like we hoped they would and a few have been caught on the Outer Banks piers, while there has been good action from Bogue Inlet Pier in Emerald Isle to Ocean Crest Pier in Oak Island.  The kings range from the teens to a couple of 40 pounders.

Pier fishermen are also catching large red drum.  They have been hitting the king baits at the end and even a few live baits fished closer to shore.  Bogue Inlet Pier fishermen caught more false albacore this week.  They usually are in deeper water, farther offshore than piers would be.  However, off Emerald Isle they're coming in close enough pier fishermen are catching them. 

The preferred lures are Got-Chas and shiny metal jigs.  Working them quickly is the key.  If a fat Albert decides it wants a lure, you can't reel fast enough to pull it away.

Pier fishermen have also been catching good numbers of nice speckled trout and black drum.  Other pier catches include pompano, bluefish, flounder and a scattering of other fish. 

Surf fishermen are catching a few fish, but there haven't been strong reports.  The biggest news for surf fishermen in the large red drum at Oak Island.  They don't come close enough every day, but they have been moving within range of surf casters occasionally and it's a big deal when one of them takes off with your bait.  Surf fishermen are catching a mixture that includes big red drum, puppy drum,  flounder, speckled trout, black drum, and more. 

Many fishermen are ready for the spot run, but we haven't seen a really good one in more than a few years.  There have been a few spots at places, but the run isn't strong and fishing for them hasn't become consistent.  Some are being caught from the piers, while there have also been scattered inside catches at most of the favorite local holes.

Inside fishing is good - as it should be in late October.  The highlight is all the nice trout.  It appears most of those spikes from last fall made it through the winter and after feeding for another summer, they're more than just keepers.  Most are running 1 1/2 to 3 pounds.  There are also some older big trout being caught.  It seems that every tackle shop is weighing several citation trout each week.

Many trout are being caught on live shrimp and minnows, but they are hitting artificials too.  Soft plastics, especially shrimp shapes have been producing well and suspending hard baits are getting wacked too.

Puppy drum are biting.  They seem to be moving around more and aren't always in the same places, but when you find them, they usually bite well.  Pups that are feeding aren't picky.  They will hit the same live baits as trout, plus crabs, sandfiddlers, plus chunks of cut bait.  They like the same lures too, plus you can add curltail and paddletail grubs and weedless spoons.

There are still some nice flounder being caught.  The numbers might not be as good as before the water started cooling, but there are more doormats being caught now.  Flounder like live baits, but will also hit a variety of lures worked slowly along or just off the bottom.

Moving back to the ocean, the hot nearshore action off Cape Lookout and Wrightsville Beach is with false albacore.  They don't seem to be too spooky right now and let you get within casting range pretty easily.  That is helped by them being busy gorging themselves on glass minnows.  Just about any lure that even vaguely resembles a glass minnow and can be retrieved quickly will draw strikes. 

Fat Alberts are favorites of fly fishermen and the fishing has been about as good as it gets several days this week..

King mackerel had moved offshore a bit during the storm and the initial deluge of dirty water, but are working their way back closer to the beach.  the pier catches really put an exclamation point on this.  There have been some kings caught close to the beach this week, including one 29 pounder by a kayak fisherman off Oak Island.

Offshore fishing is good!  The trolling bite at the Gulf Stream is primarily wahoo and there are lots of them.  Offshore trollers are also catching blackfin tuna, a few scattered yellowfin tuna, some occasional late dolphin, and even a lost sailfish or two.  The bite may slow a little, but this action should last until around Thanksgiving unless there is a major change in the weather.

Offshore bottom fishing is good too.  Several fishermen reported some action on every rock and wreck they tried.  The offshore bottom catch regularly includes grouper, beeliners. black sea bass, triggerfish, and grunts.  Last week there were a few hog snapper and spiny lobster caught too.   

Flounder Season Has Not Closed
I get this question several times a week and the answer is that flounder season did not close on October 16 as had been previously scheduled by the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission.  There was a suit and the judge granted an injunction to keep the season open.  Timing on the final hearing in not yet known, so keep catching with the limit the same at 15 inches minimum size and a limit of 6 per person per day.

Feds Propose New Cobia Regulations in Hope of Avoiding Closure During 2017
At their September meeting, the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council adopted new cobia regulations for federal waters (3-200 miles offshore) for 2017.  The new regulations reduce the bag limits and increase the minimum size in hopes of avoiding a closure during the 2017 season.  However, there are also provisions to close the season if the allocation is caught.

The new federal regulations allow 1 fish per person up to a maximum of 6 per boat, with a 36 inch fork length (tip of lower jaw to middle of fork in tail) minimum size. 

North Carolina currently has more restrictive regulations and the Marine Fisheries Commission will have to decide to stay with the current N.C. regulations or change the lesser limits and larger minimum size to meet the federal regulations.  If N.C. stays with the current regulations, they will in effect become the regulations for federal waters off N.C. also as fish must be landed at ramps and marinas in N.C. waters.  Information on N.C. regulations can be found at www.ncdmf.net and information on federal regulations can be found at www.safmc.net.  

The SAFMC held a webinar on the new cobia regulations on October 25.  Those who missed the webinar may submit written comments by using the online public comment form, mail, or fax.  The amendment materials are posted to the website and comments must be received by 5:00 P.M. on November 15, 2016.

There is an online public comment form at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf2M4xv4fu3OZdOGLon1xbZZ8Zw8rL8v-CSENu-EKgWsxeSOw/viewform?c=0&w=1.  Comments with letterhead, graphics, images and the like must be mailed or faxed to Gregg Waugh, Executive Director, SAFMC, at 843-769-4520 or mail to Gregg Waugh, Executive Director, SAFMC, 4055 Faber Place Drive, Suite 201, N. Charleston, SC  29405.

NC Wildlife Resources Commission and N.C. Aquariums Host Ongoing Fishing Programs
The NC Wildlife Resources Commission operates four education centers across N.C. and offers a variety of fishing and outdoor education programs. The closest of the education centers is the John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center in Fayetteville.  Others are at the Centennial Campus Center at NC State University in Raleigh, the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education in Corolla, and the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education in Pisgah Forest.  For more information on the centers and their programs, go to the Wildlife Resources Commission website at www.ncwildlife.org and open the "Learning" tab.  The John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center also has a Facebook page. 

The North Carolina Aquariums offer fishing and other outdoor programs through their aquariums and Jeanette's Pier in Nags Head.  The Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium is local and others are at Fort Fisher and Manteo.  For more information on the Aquariums and their programs, visit www.ncaquariums.com and select your preferred location.

NC WRC And DU Offer Free Duck Hunting Seminars
Three of the seven free waterfowl hunting seminars0offered by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and Ducks Unlimited across N.C. remain and the closest is in Onslow County on November 15.  The seminars, which will be held from 6:00 to 9:00 P.M. are designed for new and experienced hunters.  Topics will include waterfowl identification, hunting methods, decoys and calling, firearms and ammunition selection, specialty clothing, plus bird cleaning and cooking.  Pre-registration is required and participants must register online. 

Dates and locations are:

*Nov. 15, Onslow County Extension Center,4024 Richlands Hwy., Jacksonville, N.C. 28540;
* Nov. 16, Bass Pro Shops, 8181 Concord Mills Blvd., Concord, N.C. 28027;
* Nov. 17, Forsyth County Extension Center, 1450 Fairchild Rd., Winston-Salem, NC 27105;

 “Similar to the turkey hunting, deer hunting and deer processing seminars we’re offering this year, these waterfowl seminars are designed to serve the growing interest in the great waterfowl hunting opportunities our state offers,” said Walter “Deet” James, the Commission’s hunting heritage biologist.

Justin Aycock, the N.C. youth and education coordinator for the North Carolina Chapter of Ducks Unlimited said, "The seminars also provide a forum for Ducks Unlimited to promote its Sportsmen for Tomorrow program which promotes youth involvement in the outdoors and conservation.  These seminars will engage a new generation of sportsmen, so that we can pass on the waterfowl hunting and conservation tradition.”

For more information on the seminars, contact James at 919-707-0059 or walter.james@ncwildlife.org.  For more information on Ducks Unlimited and their mission to conserve, restore and manage wetlands and associated habitats for North America’s waterfowl, visit www.ducks.org.

Wildlife Resources Commission Will Host Public Forum on Alligators
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC) and the N.C. Alligator Task Force are holding public forums Nov. 1, 2 and 3 to receive public input on management of American alligators in North Carolina.  Alligator Task force members will consider this input as they develop an alligator management plan. At these meetings, Commission staff will not present proposals for changes in regulations governing alligator hunting.

The locations for the forums, which will run from 7:00 to 9:00 P.M. are:
* November 1, Leland Town Hall, Council Chambers, Leland;
* November 2, Swansboro Parks and Recreation, Multi-Purpose Room, Swansboro;
* November 3, Dare County Center, Multi-purpose Room, Manteo.

Gordon Myers, WRC executive director, appointed the 15-member North Carolina Alligator Task Force and charged it with writing an alligator management plan for the state.  Task force members include landowners, homeowners, scientists and WRC staff. The alligator management plan will include:
* Evaluation of all available biological information on alligators in North Carolina;
* Identification of knowledge gaps and additional research needed on alligator population demography, historical changes in alligator habitats, and public attitudes and opinions on alligator conservation;
* Identification of areas where alligators may be over-populated and recommend biological and social strategies to address alligator management issues in these areas;
* Recommendations of geographical management zones;
*Recommendations for metrics to establish the number of permits per year that could be issued for opportunities to harvest alligators by hunting where sustainable and consistent with local alligator population, habitat, and social conditions; and
* Recommendations on a framework for gathering public input on the North Carolina Alligator Management Plan.

Those who cannot attend a forum but would like to offer input can submit their comments to Allen Boynton, Wildlife Diversity Program coordinator, at allen.boynton@ncwildlife.org.  For more information on alligators in North Carolina, visit www.ncwildlife.org/conserving.

Catch the Right Fish and Win a Truck
The Coastal Conservation Association is hosting an inshore tournament on November 5 in Beaufort that has an interesting twist.  The tournament is based on the heaviest red drum and speckled trout, but there are also some CCA tagged red drum swimming around in area waters that could make a lucky angler the winner of a new Chevrolet Silverado Pickup truck from Stevenson Chevrolet.   The tournament will be based from the Boathouse Marina in Beaufort.  It will begin with an oyster roast at the captains meeting Friday night and conclude after fishing on Saturday.  It might be worth a trip up the coast to test your skills and luck.  For more information or to register, visit www.ccanc.org.    

Fisheries Meetings
October 31-November 1:  SAFMC Snapper Grouper Advisory Panel Meeting, Crowne Plaza, N. Charleston, S.C., Webinar available, www.safmc.net.

November 2:  Shellfish Lease Public Meeting, 6:00 P.M., Fessenden Center, Buxton, Contact Valerie Wunderly at 252-808-8061 or Valerie.Wunderly@ncdenr.gov.

November 2-3:  Information & Education Advisory Panel Meeting, Crowne Plaza, N. Charleston, S.C., Webinar available, www.safmc.net.

November 15-16;  Habitat & Environmental Protection Advisory Panel Meeting,   FWRI, St. Petersburg, FL, www.safmc.net.  

November 16-18:  N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Meeting, Hilton Garden Inn, Kitty Hawk, Contact Nancy Fish at 252-808-8021 or Nancy.Fish@ncdenr.gov.

December 5-9:  South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council, DoubleTree by Hilton Atlantic Beach Oceanfront, www.safmc.net.

Tournaments, Seminars, Boat/Fishing/Outdoor Shows, and Other Events
July 1 to October 31: Spanish Mackerel Jackpot Challenge, Chasin' Tails Outdoors, Atlantic Beach, www.chasintailsoutdoors.com.  

September 10 to December 3:  Tex's Tackle Trout and Flounder Tournament, Tex's Tackle, Wilmington, www.texstackle.com.             

October 8-30:  Hook a Hoo Rodeo,  Multiple weigh stations from Atlantic Beach to Murrells Inlet, S.C., www.hookahoo.com.

October 16-January 31:  Intracoastal Angler Speckled Trout Tournament, Intracoastal Angler, Wilmington, www.intracoastalangler.com.  

October 17-November 28:  Gordie McAdams Speckled Trout Surf Fishing Tournament, Emerald Isle Parks and Recreation, Weigh at Reel Outdoors, www.emeraldisle-nc.org/eiprd.  

October 29:  Cape Lookout Shootout 3, The Boathouse, Beaufort, www.capeshootout.weebly.com.  Postponed from October 8.  

October 29:  Tammy Baxley Memorial Redfish Tournament:  Surf City Welcome Center, Surf City, www.facebook.com/fishfortammy/?fref=ts.  

October 29-30:  Crystal Coast Surf Fishing Challenge, Atlantic Beach, www.fishermanspost.com.  Postponed from October 8-9.

October 29-30:  Fall Brawl King Classic, Ocean Isle Fishing Center, Ocean Isle Beach, www.oifc.com.  Postponed from October 8-9.

November 2-4:  Cape Hatteras Anglers Club Team & Open Invitational Surf Tournaments, Cape Hatteras Anglers Club, Buxton, www.capehatterasanglersclub.org.  

November 5:  CCA-NC Inshore Open Fishing Tournament, The Boathouse, Beaufort, www.ccanc.org.  

November 5-6:  Topsail Island Fall Surf and Pier Fishing Challenge, Topsail Island, www.fishermanspost.com.

November 11-12:  Southern Kingfish Association National Championship, City Marina, Fort Pierce, FL., www.fishska.com.       

November 12:  Friendly City Speckled Trout Tournament, Casper's Marina, Swansboro, 910-389-0607.

Good fishing
Capt. Jerry Dilsaver


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