Unfortunately, the weather since last week's report hasn't been the best for fishing. When it wasn't too windy, it was exceptionally rainy, and then on some days, it was both. This bad weather got a bit of regional attention when the first storm system of the 2002 Hurricane Season became Tropical Depression 1, now Tropical Storm Arthur, in the waters off Cape Hatteras over the weekend. This is pretty far north for one of these systems to originate, but there are some concerns that it could reach hurricane strength as it moves north. Thankfully it is moving away from us.
The current weather forecast is for good weather until late Thursday or Friday and then some stronger winds with a passing front. Of course, if the forecast changes as much as it did last week, there is no telling what weather we might have for the weekend. One job that I would not want to have is of being a weather forecaster along our coast. The good news is that we have gotten some much-needed rain and should be getting some more.
The difficult weather kept all the Cap'n Fannie's Billfish Tournament boats at the Atlantic Beach docks last Thursday. Even with the strong winds, there were six billfish caught and released on Friday and Saturday. Congratulations to Capt. Adrian Holler and the crew of the Sea Striker, who claimed the tournament win with two blue marlin releases on Saturday.
Also on the tournament scene last week, the Fish Meister, with Capt. Dean Spatholt, claimed the win in the East Coast Got-Em-On Classic, out of Carolina Beach. This was the Fish Meister crew's second king mackerel tournament win of the year. Probably even more impressive than the double wins is that both have been in the last three weeks and have been secured by kings that weighed over 50 pounds. This winning king tugged the scales to 52.10 pounds. Congratulations.
Along the beaches, there are some Spanish mackerel being caught from both the boats and the piers. Scattered reports of kings, jack crevalle, and tarpon keep coming from the ends of the piers. Even closer to the beach, the pier and surf fishermen are catching some spots, bluefish, sea mullet, and flounder. Many of the flounder are too short to keep, but there are some nice ones mixed in.
The following is a request to boaters: Please give the ends of the piers plenty of room. Sometimes a big fish can run out over a quarter mile (440 yards) of line from the pier. Several nice fish have been lost on NC piers this year, from boaters getting too close to a pier and running over and breaking the line. It really is just a simple courtesy to give these fishermen adequate room to land their catch.
Up in the marshes, the puppy drum continue to bite well. They should soon be moving out onto some of the shallower flats around the sounds. Look under duck blinds and docks. The early morning and late afternoon are the best times. Along most of the coast, there is good inside fishing for flounder. Moving current is a big key and the mouths of large creeks and the inlets are excellent places to try. It is time for the large drum and tarpon to be around the mouth of the Neuse River in Pamlico Sound. I have had some good reports of tarpon and the drum fishing should increase as we build into next week's full moon.
Capt. Jerry Dilsaver