Our weather along the NC Coast has definitely been a series of good news-bad news events this spring. Late last week we had a strong low, officially termed a Nor'easter (in May?), give us one more strange weather event to add to this spring's list of weird weather. This front was strong, with winds recorded well above tropical storm levels and approaching hurricane force in many areas.
If this storm had occurred after the first of June and before the end of November, it would have been named, but the National Weather Service doesn't name storms except during hurricane season.
While this unnamed storm, complete with gale force winds, is obviously the bad news, the good news is the great weather since the storm passed and the forecast for it to continue for a while.
When the weather allows, tuna are still the hot offshore catch. There were a couple of short weather windows last week and the bite was hot. This fishing should be taking up right where it left off and give us several days in a row to give it a try. The offshore catch includes yellowfin tuna, blackfin tuna, wahoo, king mackerel, a couple of billfish and a lot of dolphin arrived last week.
Last year there had already been some kings caught from the piers by this time, but the cooler water is holding them offshore in the 80 to 100 foot deep range. As the water warms, they will move closer in. With the great weather forecast for this week, that could happen very soon.
Atlantic bonito were caught last week at Ocean Isle, Wrightsville Beach and Atlantic Beach. These are tasty fish—unlike false albacore, which many people mistakenly call bonito. Do yourself a favor and learn to tell the difference.
More Spanish mackerel were caught last week. They are being caught by casting Got-Chas from the piers and trolling Clarkspoons from boats close to the beaches and inlets.
The storm interrupted another run of large drum at Cape Hatteras. Hopefully they will return in the next few days and also spread along rest of the coast.
Sea mullet are biting along the entire coast. Most have been caught in the surf, or from the piers. They have also moved into the Morehead City Shipping Channel and Turning Basin.
Gray trout are being caught in the surf and from the piers along much of the coast. There were also a few reports from the Morehead City Shipping Channel and Turning Basin during the last week. One report highlighted fishing under the high-rise bridges and fishing at night. The biggest problem here is getting your bait down past the bluefish, which are holding just above the trout.
There are good reports of bluefish along most of the coast. They are being caught in the surf and from the piers, with some larger ones just offshore for the boat fishermen.
The puppy drum bite in the creeks and marshes has been the one thing that has withstood our barrage of strange spring weather. This has been the most consistent inshore fishing over the past few weeks and continues to get better.
I heard a few more good speckled trout reports this week. As the water and air warm this week, trout fishing could get hot. Most are being caught in coastal creeks, but there have been some caught in the surf and a few caught from the piers.
The Swordfish, with Capt. Justin Ringer, won the storm-tossed Hatteras Village Offshore Open last weekend, with a blue marlin release. The only other billfish was a white marlin, released by the Frequent Flyer and Captain Glynn Loftin. At last report, late in the final day, no kings or cobia had been caught in the Rebel King Mackerel Pier Fishing Tournament at Oak Island.
For more in-depth coverage on "how to" and "where to" go fishing along the Carolina coast, check out my articles and more in the North Carolina Sportsman Magazine and visit us on the web at www.northcarolinasportsman.com.
Capt. Jerry Dilsaver