Fall has arrived!!! The mornings are cool, the fish are biting, and this is one thing that is right in the world right now. Get out and enjoy it.
Red drum are still biting fairly well and the trout are showing up pretty well. The drum are schooling and feeding heavily. Gray trout have showed up in fair numbers at the Ship Channel and Turning Basin at Morehead City, while the specks are spread both inshore and in the ocean.
Fishermen are catching more speckled trout and the gray trout have been reported from Manteo to Southport. Speck rigs and stingsilvers are both producing well. Remember, we have some new gray trout regulations. The absolute minimum size is 12 inches. If any gray trout in your creel is under 14 inches, then you may only have 4. If all the gray trout in your creel are over 14 inches, then you may keep 10.
The striper activity is near incredible at Manns Harbor. Catching 100 fish in a morning is happening pretty regularly. This is a special management area, with its own season and limits, so verify everything before you go. The NC Division of Marine Fisheries Web Site is at www.ncdmf.net. Right now you can keep 2 stripers per person on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, with a minimum size of 18 inches.
Surf and Pier
Fishing is good on the piers right now. Yellow belly spots showed up over last weekend, with flounder, sea mullet (whiting), speckled trout, gray trout, bluefish, a few black and red drum, blowfish, sharks, and skates in the mix.
Decent numbers of drum and the first large stripers have been caught in the Outer Banks surf.
Last week the Carolina Beach and Kure Beach piers had a great run of king mackerel but it was most likely the last blast. The water temp has dropped into the 60's and those fish have moved farther offshore
Fat alberts have arrived at Cape Lookout and the surrounding waters. Choose your favorite fly, spinning or casting gear, get a bait in front of them, move it quickly, and hang on. This fishing should get better for a few more weeks and continue into December.
There are some gray trout off Morehead City, Wrightsville Beach, and Southport. The larger fish are hitting stingsilvers, but speck rigs are also catching them.
There have been some good catches of speckled trout along the jetty at Cape Lookout.
A few large stripers have been caught around the Oregon Inlet Bridge.
This is where the kings are right now. There are lots of smaller kings scattered all along the coast, but the bigger kings are off Hatteras. There have been over a dozen in the 50's caught in the last week.
There are some yellowfin tuna being caught all along the coast, with the best catches being from the Big Rock to the north. While there are still plenty around, the numbers of dolphin in the offshore catches has fallen off a bit. A wahoo or two are also present in many catches and sometimes even a king or two. The Point, south of Oregon Inlet, has been holding lots of large yellowfins for the past several weeks. Most of these fish have been in the 50 pound range or over.
Potential Record Catches
There is still no word on the two blackfin tuna catches that were submitted to the NCDMF as a potential state record.
A pair of potential state record spadefish have been caught off Southport. One is just a an ounce or two more than the existing record of 8 pounds and 2 ounces and the other is almost a pound larger.
The certification process for a catch to become a state record involves pictures, positive identification, certified scale verification, and more paperwork, which is not yet complete on either.
As soon as one of them is certified, I will post it here.