As mentioned last week, there was a small window of opportunity for anglers to head to the blue water and that they did. In fact it even managed to extend into day 2 so there was some real offshore fishing and catching going on. After that anglers had to wait and they are still waiting as Maria continues to creep by the coast. Luckily the only effect is some rough ocean conditions, some wind and very little rain. As this system heads off into the Atlantic, the force taking it is another cold front and this one is fairly potent, brining rough conditions just in time for the weekend. Water temperature have dipped into the upper seventies and are making the fish pretty aggressive. The air temperatures will be pleasant through the weekend and even with less humidify, so make sure to enjoy the sunny skies and wet a line.
Those that were able to make it offshore last week before the blow, managed some pretty impressive catches with wahoo, and a lot of fish averaging in the forty to fifty pound range. The Same Ole, Swansboro Hole and Steeples all produced some fish as did some of the areas in between. Blackfin tuna were also reported being fairly common and the dolphin were eager to eat. This weekend won’t be productive due to some stiff winds, but look for the Gulf Stream fishing to produce through the remainder of the year when conditions allow.
Along the beaches, the rough conditions and current have hampered those wanting to soak a line, but when they could, the pompano and virginia mullet have been biting pretty good on fresh shrimp and sand fleas in the surf zones. Cut bait has been drawing interest from a lot of small, undersized red drum but there are a few keepers in the mix. Bluefish have made a regular fall appearance and can be caught on both artificial and natural baits. Spanish mackerel have been abundant just outside of the inlets when boaters can get out. Some decent sized spanish have also been reported being found inside the inlet in the deeper channels and waterway.
Inshore, the red drum fishing has been on fire, with both slot and over slot fish being caught. As mentioned previously, if targeting the big boys, make sure your tackle is appropriate to ensure a good release. Otherwise, the areas around the docks and the creek mouths have been producing some decent action on both cut baits and soft artificial baits. Cut bait and shrimp is also drawing some interest from black drum, mainly around the oyster beds and around the bridges.
Speckle trout and flounder have become more active as the water temperatures declines. Better fishing for keeper fish is being found around Carolina Beach and also the Cape Fear River but conditions are improving around the Wrightsville Beach waters, so expect some good reports to start trickling in from this area soon.