The winds were pretty unpredictable during last week, but fell out over the weekend to give us access to just about anywhere we wanted to fish. Unfortunately they started building again on Monday and are forecast to be generating unpleasant sea conditions for most of this week and weekend. After a nice day on Thursday, the winds should begin climbing again to their usual 20 knot plus weekend velocity. I guess we should be happy with last weekend's weather and plan to use this one for Christmas shopping and honey-do's.
There is really only one word to describe the fishing this past weekend. WOW! If you didn't get out, you missed it. It seemed like everything was biting well somewhere. This may have been our last big bite for the season, but if it was, we really went out in style.
Most of the piers are closed and that was a shame last weekend. There were several species of fish really gnawing in the surf and from the piers. The best reports were of sea mullet, speckled trout, gray trout, red drum and black drum. There were even a few flounder caught down in the southern part of the state.
There are some red drum scattered throughout many of the sounds and marshes. They have been reported from fish that are below the slot size to many that are well over. Several guides along the southern coast have been slowly riding along, just offshore of the beaches, and finding the schools of red drum by seeing them in the water.
The first time you locate a school of reds this way, it is quite an experience. Some folks can pick it up with their naked eyes, but with polarized sunglasses, I can see the red tint in the water. It is awesome!
Speckled trout are still holding in many inside waters. This weekend they were biting softly down south and misses were far more common than catches with artificial baits. They were still biting softly, but were taking live shrimp well. Luckily there are still some shrimp in several of the creeks.
The ocean speck bite is getting better almost daily. Many surf fishermen are reporting good luck around inlets, jetties and near the ocean stop nets. Boat fishermen are also doing well around nearshore structure, like the Cape Lookout jetties.
Gray trout fishing is good also. While there is some inshore action on the grays, the hot spots have been the nearshore rocks, wrecks and reefs.
Once again there was a good false albacore bite this weekend. There were good catches reported from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout.
The king bite has been hot for almost two months and this weekend was no exception. There were scorching hot bites at many places along the coast. Excellent reports came from the Bad Bottoms, Atlas Tanker, Northwest Places, Rock south of 13, 23 Mile Rock, and the Horseshoe. Both dead and live baits were catching well. While the majority of the fish were 15 to 20 pounds, there were several in the 40's and a couple over 50 pounds reported.
The offshore action has been good whenever the weather allowed the trip. Wahoo remain the top offshore catch from the central and southern coasts, with yellowfins dominating the catch from Cape Hatteras northward.
We are anticipating bluefin tuna season will reopen sometime this week. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) first said they would post the information on their web site last Friday and then today (Monday) by 4:00 PM. The NMFS web address for tuna information is www.nmfspermits.com. Take the time to know before you go.
Capt. Jerry Dilsaver