The first two weeks of October have, if nothing else, been hot, and also humid, something most local anglers this time of year don’t really want to see or want to endure. The upcoming weekend doesn’t look to provide much relief, although a cold front is scheduled to arrive late Friday, adjusting temperatures just a tad for the better. A stronger cold front may arrive towards the middle of next week and may have a little more substance to bring temperatures down to a more seasonable tone. Water temperatures have actually risen the past week and are now back to reading in the upper seventies, but even with all that the fishing has remained fairly good throughout the abnormal climate.
Off the beach, the king mackerel fishing has been very good along the Brunswick County beaches, with lots of bait and lots of large king mackerel feeding on them. The US Open King Mackerel Tournament, held over the weekend out of Southport, produced a winning fish tipping the scales at 49.75 pounds followed by a respectable 43.85 pound fish and a 41.85 pound fish rounded out third place. In addition to other secondary prizes, the tournament paid out 55 places, of which all were held by fish weighing 30 pounds or more, other than 55th place weighing in at 29.80 pounds. Obviously, there are some big fish on the beach and now is the time to catch them.
Anglers live baiting are also finding a good quantity of large cobia feeding on the baitfish and also around the artificial reefs, but remember, this fishery is closed for the season, so while fighting them is fun, they are catch and release only.
Spanish mackerel have been plentiful just outside the inlets and those fishing live baits have also encountered some large six to seven pound spanish attacking those baits intended for king mackerel. False albacore are schooling up as well and can be caught on small spoons.
Fishing along the beach in the surf areas and from the piers has been good when conditions allow. Fresh shrimp is catching some spots, mainly towards the Topsail and Surf City area but a few have been caught down our way. Virginia mullet and pompano are also biting good along with a few black drum. Cut bait and live minnows is drawing interest from red drum and flounder.
Inshore, the fishing is really picking up with lots of slot sized red drum being caught in the creeks and around oyster beds. Speckled trout have shown an increased presence around Wrightsville Beach in the past few days but with the warming waters, they may be hit or miss until conditions cool down again. The lower Cape Fear River has been on fire for red drum, speckled trout and some large flounder. Flounder fishing has been good around Carolina Beach, especially in the inlet. Wrightsville Beach waters have been producing some flounder, and while there are some decent ones being reported, anglers are having to weed through some smaller ones.