The weather was rather sporty on Friday and into Friday evening along parts of our coast, as Tropical Storm Kyle passed through the area. After hanging around for 3 weeks and backtracking twice, Kyle swept up the Atlantic Coast late last week, passing across NC Friday and Friday night. There were some strong winds, locally heavy rains, and local flooding, but overall we came through pretty well. Some boats fished early Friday and many were back on the water Saturday.
Contrary to what usually happens, the fishing stayed amazingly good as Kyle passed. Saturday morning was a little slow but it soon picked back up. For the first time in many weeks, there is not an active tropical system as I prepare this report. We will have a few fronts roll across us this week and see the wind vary in intensity and direction. The good news is that we should see cooler temperatures all week.
Offshore, the wahoo bite has been red hot. There have also been a good number of late season sailfish caught. Yellowfin and blackfin tuna fishing is getting better, and there are still plenty of dolphin around. With calmer weather, the offshore catches would be even better.
Those king mackerel that weren't around all summer have really shown up recently! They have been biting very well from Oregon Inlet to the NC/SC State Line. Off Southport, the hottest spot has been the Cape Fear River Shipping Channel. There are good numbers of kings and some really big ones too. Off Cape Lookout, the Dead Tree Hole and the Morehead City Ship Channel are holding some kings, but the area off the Cape Lookout jetty has been holding the best concentration of them. Larger kings are being caught off Drum Inlet, the Summerlin Reef, and at East Rock.
Congratulations to Chip and Chad Sanders of the Reel Screamer. They led the field of the Drum Inlet King Mackerel Tournament by almost 10 pounds, with their 43.35 pound smoker. Congratulations also to Mike Mitchell, who won the Bogue Inlet Pier King Mackerel Tournament. Mitchell's 28.2 pound king topped eight others caught from the pier during the event.
Pier fishing all along the NC coast has moved into the fall, wide-open mode. Spots, mullet, some gray trout, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, and more are being caught daily. With all this activity, the kings have moved in and are dining on the buffet. There have also been some straggler tarpon and jack crevalle caught from the piers. That will most likely end as the cooler temperatures this week finally allow the water temperatures to drop. Several pier owners are reporting that the best catches of larger spots are coming later in the day and at night.
Red drum continue to bite well from the marshes to the surf. There have also been some large drum caught at the artificial reefs off Oak Island. At AR 420, the flounder fishermen have been catching them in excess of 40 inches long. Gray trout and sea mullet catches continue to pick up weekly. The same is true for speckled trout fishing. Some larger flounder are still around, especially around the inlets and most nearshore ocean structure. Many of the closer artificial reefs are holding some real doormats. The water temperature is holding in the high 70's, which is about 5 degrees warmer than normal for this time of year, but should cool some with the cold front this week.
The Carteret County Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) Chapter will host a Fundraising and Membership Banquet at the Crystal Coast Civic Center on October 24. The tickets are $50 single or $80 per couple and include a year membership to CCA. For more information on the banquet or to purchase tickets, contact Dr. Bogus at 252-354-4905.
Capt. Jerry Dilsaver