Unfortunately, there’s not much to report on the fishing front, as all eyes were on Hurricane Irma for the past week or so. Fortunately for us, we only got a sweeping and glancing blow, that brought a little wind and some heavy rains to our local area. Jose is yet another system that we need to pay close attention to and with the hurricane season not officially ending until the end of November, we can all use this last event as a training scenario and hopefully we won’t need to put any of our plans into action. Water temperatures have dropped into the middle seventies, no doubt coo enough to get the fish in an eating mood, but the winds and seas won’t be allowing much offshore action for the foreseeable future.
The near shore and offshore forecasts are not looking that great going into the weekend and beyond that remains to be seen. Stiff north east winds and choppy seas will prevent most, if not all, from venturing outside of the inlet. Once the conditions calm down, the reports should be pouring in, but anglers will just have to wait until Mother Nature allows it.
Inshore, the fishing should pick up right where it left off, with red drum being the primary species that being caught. Both over slot and slot fish have been reported for weeks and there’s no reason that with cooler water temperatures that fishing and catching won’t be increasing. Anglers had been commenting that with the large amount of bait in the water, they were having better luck using cut bait instead of live bait, mainly because the cut bait emits more scent for the fish to focus on.
With the cooler water temperatures, the speckled trout fishing should start to improve once the water quality also does. Artificial baits had been working well for the trout, mainly in the lower Cape Fear River, but as the month progresses, there will be many more reports of fish being encountered in the Wrightsville Beach area.
Flounder fishing should also start improving; although a lot of anglers targeting them have been have decent success with finding keeper fish. Many fishermen were finding good quality fish around the near shore reefs but that fishing will cease until conditions improve. The area docks and creek mouths as well as the inlets, when conditions allow, should begin to start producing some decent catches of keeper flounder. Both live finger mullets fished on Carolina Rigs and soft artificial baits should work well to attract some interest from the flatfish.
Surf anglers will find that fishing the surf will yield some good results once the seas allow anglers to try their luck. With the churned up waters, the fish will be looking to eat, and anglers can expect some decent sized virginia mullets, pompano and black drum on fresh shrimp and sand fleas. Cut bait and live minnows should produce some red drum, bluefish and flounder. If fishing your favorite spot right after the storm, make sure you visit it during the time of low tide, as the churning waves probably repositioned or filled in your secret fishing hole, and you may need to find another, of which there’ll be many.