The month of May is normally a month that the fishing really starts to get good and this month is no disappointment with some anglers eluding that it’s some of the best they’ve seen in years. Water temperatures, no doubt, have had a major impact on the fishing and have actually been reading well above normal for the majority of the year. With water temperatures already reading well into the upper 70s, the month, especially the past couple of weeks, have seen a lot of catches and reports of some incredible fishing.
The rest of the week, unfortunately, is looking rather dismal for boating and offshore fishing however, as winds and thunderstorms are being forecast into the first part of weekend. The extended forecast shows an improvement starting Saturday and hopefully that continues into the beginning of next week as numerous families will be off for the Memorial Day Weekend.
Inshore fishing is starting to shows some real signs of improving with reports of some decent keeper flounder being caught in the local waters as well as the Cape Fear River. Live bait has been easy to find and anglers rigging minnows on Carolina Rigs are reporting some good action coming from the area docks and also the inlets and deeper creeks that have a constant flow of water. Anglers are also reporting that some flounder are being caught on the larger scented artificial baits. Red drum are also hanging out in the same areas and anglers are reporting seeing an increasing number of them as well. Surf and pier fishermen are reporting some flounder on live minnows and some Virginia mullet on fresh cut shrimp. Pier anglers are also managing some Spanish mackerel and bluefish on Gotcha Plugs.
Along the beach, boater trolling Clark Spoons on planers are finding good amounts of Spanish mackerel in around twenty to thirty feet of water. Some are also having excellent success by finding schooling fish early and late in the day and sight casting small spoons into the schools. Along with Spanish anglers have also been finding some false albacore in the mix as well as small king mackerel. As usual, make sure that you can recognize the difference between a Spanish and king, as they look alike at first glance when small.
Cobia continue to be in the fishing reports with some local fish being reported coming from the bait pods of menhaden running the beach and also anchoring up near the inlets and fishing live or dead baits on the bottom. Fish up to 60 pounds were reported this week with some fish pushing close to one hundred pounds being reported coming from the Cape Lookout area. When fishing bait pods, large bucktails fished around the outskirts of the school should draw interest but not necessarily a bite from any cobia in the vicinity. Drifting a dead bait around the school will also work.
While some small king mackerel have been found along the beach the better fishing has been starting around five miles out. Areas around the 23 Mile Rock has been producing some good fishing for kings as well as producing some early season dolphin. Bottom fishing in the same area, in water depths around one hundred feet has also been producing some decent grouper and snapper action.
Further off the beach, the Gulf Stream fishing has been very good for a lot of gaffer dolphin around the usual spots such as the Swansboro Hole, Same Ole Hole and the Steeples. Anglers also reported some good numbers of blackfin tuna being found in the same areas. Good weed lines and temperature breaks were reported in the areas that a lot of the fish came from.