The fishing in our local waters has continued to be very good despite the warmth of both the air and water temperatures. Conditions were good for offshore outings over the weekend, however a cold front dipping down into the area is throwing a wrench into any mid week fishing plans, with plenty of wind, rain and a significant dip in air temperatures, forecast to be in the lower seventies for a couple of days before conditions start to improve rapidly for the upcoming weekend. Water temperatures remain very warm for this time of year, reading in the lower eighties, but the fish continue to be aggressive and give anglers something to look forward to. Some rain estimates of upwards of three inches over the course of a relatively short period of time could prove to have an impact on inshore fishing for the weekend, but we’ll just have to wait and see if that pans out or not.
Offshore, the fishing was good in the Gulf Stream, with the areas of the Steeples and Same Ole producing some good action from gaffer dolphin as well as some blackfin tuna. Most anglers reported good fishing coming from the areas of temperature breaks, which will normally hold both baitfish and predators. Fishing stagnant eighty degree water in an open ocean normally doesn’t produce too much action for those fishing.
Bottom fishing was decent around the 23 Mile Rock, more so on the offshore edge in deeper water rather than the shallower eastern side. Some anglers encountered numerous sharks in the shallower end while those fishing deeper water, over 100 feet, found plenty of vermillion snapper, a few pink snapper and even some red grouper. Those electing to troll that same area found some decent action from dolphin, although slightly smaller and less quantity than their Gulf Stream cousins. A few king mackerel were also reported in the area. As the warming trend continues, expect the dolphin action to appear in the areas of 10 Mile Rock and the vicinity in the coming weeks if not days. While not as fast paced with the action as their offshore brood, there’ll be plenty of smaller dolphin, (eight to fifteen pounds), caught while anglers are targeting king mackerel in the area.
Along the beach, anglers are reporting plenty of spanish mackerel although with the heat, the early and late part of the days, normally reserved for only the hottest part of the summer, has already gone in effect. Anglers are finding fish by both sight casting to schools and also trolling Clark Spoons. They area also reported plenty of small king mackerel in the mix, so make sure you have the knowledge of being able to identify the difference. Those targeting Cobia are still finding some fish around the bait pods and inlets, but it has slowed significantly since late May.
Inshore, the flounder fishing is really producing some decent catches, with the better fishing being found towards the south, around Carolina Beach and also in the Cape Fear River. Live bait on Carolina Rigs fished in the deeper creeks and channels, especially around mud banks are good locations to try. Area docks are also a good target. Larger soft artificial baits are also working good. Red drum are being caught in the same areas, with the better fishing being found before the main boat traffic heads out for the day or, if you’re lucky enough, to find a pods of fish in a secluded creek or bay.