The weather has been warm since the cold front of two weeks ago and the water has climbed back up into the lower 70's in numerous places. The surf at Bogue Inlet Pier was reported at 72 degree earlier in the week and the bite had gotten rather sporadic. We are looking at another cold front rolling through beginning Friday and hopefully it will cool the water to a more normal temperature and bump the fishing back to wide open again.
The front escorting this cold snap our way will be rather gusty at first, but is forecast to begin laying out by Friday night. Then it looks like we should have some sunny, cool weather with winds of 10 knots or less through Monday.
Even though there is not a local tournament, there has been a lot of chatter this week about king mackerel. The king mackerel fishing is good, real good, and maybe even great. They are holding at almost all of the rocks, wrecks, and artificial reefs from about 70 feet deep on out. Live bait has been scarce and many fishermen are quickly limiting out using frozen cigar minnows and lures.
The trout bite, both specks and grays, is also going well. One excited fishermen said it seemed like the speckled trout were everywhere and biting almost anything. I don't think it's quite that good, but they are biting from the marshes and creeks to the surf. Live shrimp and live minnows are almost foolproof baits, while color 11 MirroLures in the TT and 52M series and green grubs with red jig heads are also catching well.
The gray trout are along the edges of the Morehead City Ship Channel, at the Dead Tree Hole, John's Creek, Sheepshead Rock, AR 420 and AR 425. They are hitting Sea Striker Jig Fish, Stingsilvers and speck rigs.
There are still some spots around, but the bite hasn't been consistently good over the past week. Maybe this cold snap will get them going again. One thing most fishermen agree on is the new synthetic bloodworm baits from Fish Bites are catching as well or maybe even better than the real thing.
The piers continue to be good locations for catching spots. There are numerous local hotspots on the inland side. Several of the more popular ones are Gallants Channel and Taylors Creek around the Duke Marine Lab at Morehead City, the Intracoastal Waterway near the Emerald Isle Bridge and the junction of the White Oak river and Intracoastal Waterway at Swansboro, near the Highway 172 bridge at Sneads Ferry, Snows Cut at Carolina Beach, the edges of the Cape Fear Ship Channel at Southport and the junction of the Lockwood Folly Inlet Channel and the Intracoastal Waterway, between Oak Island and Holden Beach.
The fall pier fishing continues to be pretty good. In addition to the specks and spots, there have been many coolers filled with mixed catches including sea mullet, gray trout, pompano, flounder, bluefish, black drum, red drum, Spanish mackerel and sheepshead.
Red drum continue to bite well. The marshes and sounds are good places to find them. They are catching some big reds in the surf at Hatteras, Ocracoke, Portsmouth Island, and Drum Inlet, so it could fire off at Cape Lookout and Fort Fisher State Recreation Area at any time. The better catches have been at night.
The false albacore bite has been hit and miss. When you find them they are hot, but some days they have been difficult to find. This cold snap should get them feeding again. The best spot has been around Cape Lookout, but there have also been some off Topsail, Wrightsville Beach and Little River Inlet.
Some early bluefins have arrived off Cape Lookout and Cape Hatteras. Due to a low catch so far this year, the closed commercial (general category) fishing days for November have been waived. Boats with General Category permits may keep 2 bluefins greater than 73 inches per day, while boats with Angling Category permits may keep 1 bluefin between 47 and 73 inches each day and 1 bluefin greater than 73 inches per year. The big schools of bluefins shouldn't arrive until the water temps drop several more degrees.
Even though the offshore fishing is pretty good, the offshore boats aren't running regularly during the week. The wahoo bite has been very good and some late season sailfish are being caught fairly regularly. A few dolphin are still around, but not many. The tuna bite improves as you move to the north.
Congratulations to Greg and Tony Carroll and the Dig It crew for catching a 53 pounder to win the Drum Inlet King Mackerel Tournament.
There is no king mackerel tournament this weekend, but many area fishing teams will be heading out for the SKA National Championship in Ft. Pierce, Fla. next weekend. Good luck to all of them.
The Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour Championship, which was fished off Morehead City in mid-October, will be televised this weekend. The time is 11:00 A.M. Sunday morning on the Fox Sports Network. Set your recorder and you can watch it when you get home from church.