The fall weather returned Friday morning and then gave us a preview of winter on Saturday morning, as the mercury dropped into the 30's along the coast. Both days warmed into the 60's in the afternoon and were bright and sunny. Perhaps this is a sign of good fall weather to come?
The good news is the sudden weather change didn't seem to affect the fish. There have been good reports over the weekend from just about everywhere.
This latest cold snap should be the one that takes the coastal water temperatures below 70 for good. They were still hanging on at about 71 along the southern facing beaches over the weekend, but the cool nights should cause them to start slowly dropping.
We fought changing windy conditions, with periods of calm, over the past few days. The current forecast has the wind blowing some early in the week and then laying out beginning Wednesday night and Thursday. It appears another good weekend is shaping up.
In the past few weeks there have been good gray trout reports along the entire coast. The surf and just inside the inlets at Hatteras and Ocracoke have been good spots along the Outer Banks.
Along the central coast, the grays have been hot at Cape Lookout, Dead Tree Hole, Middle Marsh, Morehead City Turning Basin and under the high rise bridges.
Along the southern coast, the hot spots for grays have been at Johns Creek Rock and the Fort Fisher rocks on the New Hanover County side and The WOFES on the Brunswick County side. There have also been occasional hot gray bites at the nearshore artificial reefs.
The water temperatures have dropped into the low 70's and high 60's and the speckled trout have begun biting well also. Most are still in the marshes and working their way toward the inlets. They are just starting to show well at the Cape Lookout jetty.
Some big flounder are still biting along the edges of the inlet channels and at the nearshore rocks and artificial reefs.
The king bite was hot over the past week, especially off Southport and Oak Island, during the 2004 US Anglers Association Championship Tournament. Almost every boat reported releasing lots of fish as they looked for a really big one. Several nice kings were caught as close in as Yaupon Reef.
Pompano are still being caught from the surf and piers and the sea mullet bite is cranking up. There are mixed report on spots. They seem to have slowed some along the central and southern coast, but another run was reported from the Outer Banks.
The false albacore bite is on. The hot spot has been off Cape Lookout, but there are also some nice schools off Wrightsville beach.
The offshore action has been good whenever the weather allowed the trip. Wahoo are the top offshore catches right now, but there are still some dolphin and a growing number of tuna.
Congratulations to Capts. Brett Barnes of the Hot Rod and Daniel Mason of the Gone Again, and their crews. They captured the wins in the US Anglers Association King Mackerel Championships held at Southport/Oak Island over the weekend. The Hot Rod topped the 24 Foot and Over Class, while Gone Again topped the 23 Feet and Under Class. Also crowed were the Anglers of the Year. Michael Sellers and the Squeeze Play received the award for the larger boats, while Michael Landreth and the Hit-N-Run claimed the honors for the smaller boats.
The Rock the Inlet Tournament (252-473-3610) at Oregon Inlet began November 1 and runs through January 15.
Capt. Jerry Dilsaver