Anglers were singing the blues over the weekend, but it’s definitely not for lack of fishing action the past week, because, wow! The amount of fishing and catching late last week and over the weekend was nothing short of fabulous; especially considering it’s still the middle of April. Water temperatures have crept up to that magical 68 degree mark, something also not normally seen during the middle of the month and with warm weather still being forecast for the foreseeable future, we could well see some spectacular reports in the coming weeks.
With all of that said, fishermen are probably getting really excited, unfortunately the upcoming forecast isn’t all that great as far as sea and weather conditions, with wind and rain being projected each day. But no matter what the effects, let’s get to this week’s report.
Large chopper bluefish arrived with a vengeance and there’s really no way to describe some of the carnage these fish left in their wake. Reports of hooking one fish with up to ten other fish chasing the hooked one to the boat or pier in an attempt to steal the bait brings images of piranhas fighting over a meal. Some fish weighed upwards of 15 pounds and there was not lack of them from the sounds to the inlets and along the surf line. Sight casting to schooling fish was a favorite of the boaters while those fishing from the beach or pier utilized both cut bait and spoons.
Anglers need to remember that these larger “chopper” blues have specific limits on their possession which are no more than five fish per day over 24 inches. Considering how these oily fish don’t freeze very well, keeping only enough for a fresh fish dinner should be the main consideration.
The Atlantic bonito continue to be elusive but anglers did manage to find a few fish that were willing to cooperate. Areas to the north, along the Topsail/Surf City area seemed to be better. Back to the south, some spring king mackerel in the 10- to 15-pound range made an impressive showing around the Dredge Wreck, with even better quantities being found in the 12- to 15-mile range. A couple of piers along the Brunswick County beaches also managed to get into the action with their first kings of the season being decked and one fish weighing in the mid 40-pound range.
Off the beach, the blue water anglers found plenty of wahoo in the Gulf Stream and some even managed to find the first good numbers of dolphin along with a few hefty blackfin tuna. Water temperature breaks were the main target that anglers searched for and those that found them had some good fishing. As conditions are constantly changing, investing a little money in a “Fish Here” map from Fryingpantower.com or another surface temperature provider, it can mean the difference between cooking dinner or eating out.