In typical southeastern weather fashion, Mother Nature delivered yet another reply to those who don’t believe that she’s in control. The ground hog might also have dibs on that remark, as well as Old Man Winter, who also made a spectacular showing with just over an inch of snow, something not seen this time of year in 34 years. Fortunately, that event was short lived, as the majority of the icy stuff was gone by afternoon, but yet another cold front arrived, giving us low nightly temperatures in the 20s, which have only been seen a handful of times over the past winter months.
This influx of cold and crazy weather has resulted in water temperatures falling once again into the mid-50s and they will probably creep closer to the lower 50s by week’s end. The winds have also been a major issue the past week, due to the low-pressure systems and fronts arriving along the coast, and they will continue to impact the area into the weekend and beyond.
Fishing in the ocean, whether offshore or near shore, will prove almost impossible due to sea conditions, and even those venturing into the Cape Fear River and area sounds and inlets will have to use extreme caution if venturing out due to rough conditions and gusty winds.
Inshore fishing has been by far the best bet with good results mainly because it’s been easy fishing with little to no effort required. The lower Cape Fear River continues to produce some very good mullet fishing and catching, however, that may be slowing the coming week or more due to the change in climate. Fresh shrimp, fish bites and even cut bait have all been working for the mullet on two dropper rigs. Just be aware that conditions in that area will be impacted by the winds and weather conditions into the coming weekend and beyond and may not be very safe for the smaller boaters.
Red drum, black drum and some speckled trout have been reported in the area creeks and channels and are being caught on both natural and artificial baits. Live mud minnows continues to prove being hard to beat. However, as the waters have begun to warm, the soft scented artificial baits have been producing almost as well. Double dropper rigs loaded with fresh cut shrimp or cut bait have been producing good numbers of black drum around the docks and creek mouths.
Offshore, there were some wahoo reported coming from the area of the Steeples and Same Ole last week, but sea conditions have hampered those expeditions. Bottom fishing for black sea bass, grunts and other assorted bottom dwellers has also been good, starting in around 70 feet of water and beyond, with the deeper water holding less sharks than the shallower waters.
Hopefully this cold spell will be short lived and anglers can once again start to concentrate on the upcoming season, but as Mother Nature has responded, it ain’t over till she says so.