As certain as I was last week that fall was here, I am now thinking that maybe summer has returned. The water hasn't warmed back up, but Sunday afternoon it was 80 degrees and the forecast is for the high 70's all week. This is such a strong warm front that the winds will be blowing from a southerly directions until the end of the week. The forecast says that by Friday it will have returned to the northeast, but the temperatures aren't supposed to drop very much until later.
Some folks are wondering what the south winds will do to the fishing. It will be interesting, but as long as the water doesn't warm back up, things shouldn't change too drastically. After all, it is November now. Not that I really mind it, but the weather should start cooling off at any time.
The inshore catch continues to be mixed, with lots of smiles and few frowns. The spot bite has slowed, but there are still lots of spot fishermen and occasional excellent catches. Many fishermen reported a pretty good speckled trout bite in the last few days. There are also some gray trout, bluefish, croakers, sea mullet and more in the inside waters all along the coast. Some flounders are also still around, but their numbers are falling. The striper bite at Manns Harbor is improving and it's already good.
The puppy drum fishing is good, but not quite as good as many folks expected. The early freeze last December may have hurt them more than we thought. Drum are biting from the marshes to the nearshore ocean rocks and artificial reefs. Some large red drum are also being caught in the surf along much of the coast. Cape Point and Avon Pier at Hatteras have been the better big drum spots and appear to be improving.
The gray trout bite, both inside and in the ocean, continues as the best of the last several years. Many are 16 inches and longer.
The ocean piers had another pretty good week. While the spot catch is tapering down in many places, the sea mullet catch jumped over the weekend, with the better bites coming late at night. The pier catch also included a few flounder, both gray and speckled trout, bluefish, black drum, false albacore, and pompano.
The fall king mackerel bite has fired up everywhere but on the east side of Cape Lookout. The fish are biting well west of Cape Hatteras and west of Cape Lookout. There is also a hot king bite going on down near Southport. More large kings were caught last week. Several of the tournaments had numerous kings in the 30's and a few really large kings were caught otherwise.
The hot offshore bite is still happening also. North of Cape Hatteras there are more tuna, with wahoo continuing as the top fish from the Big Rock to the south. There were also some sailfish, king mackerel, and a few dolphin mixed in.
Congratulations to the Reel Justice and Chain Smoker for winning the Wrightsville Beach and Teach's Lair Shootout King Mackerel Tournaments this past weekend. At the Wrightsville Beach Tournament, the top five kings were all within 1.35 pounds.
This weekend, the Toys For Tots King Mackerel Tournament (252-728-6817) will be held in Beaufort, the Friendly City Speckled Trout Tournament (910-326-4462) in Swansboro, and the Cape Hatteras Anglers Club Surf Fishing Tournament (252-995-4253) in Buxton. The US Anglers Association Championship King Tournament will be next week, November 12 to 15, at Oak Island. Visit http://www.usaaanglers.com for more details.
Capt. Jerry Dilsaver