Just like that, in typical east coast fashion, weather conditions have finally materialized close to normal for this time of year and have brought with them, typical seasonal water temperatures and a angling bite that is now resembling what November should normally be, but it’s still far from that with what anglers have been experiencing the first couple of weeks. Water temperatures have dipped pretty dramatically and are now reading in the mid sixty-degree range, a stark contrast to the seventy degree readings just a week ago. Also with the cooler temperatures come some winds and brisk winds at that, making fishing in locations absent of some form of shelter rather difficult but not impossible.
Speckled trout fishing has been the main topic of conversation among anglers the past week mainly due to the fabulous bite that has transpired since the arrival of the colder weather. While the trout fishing has been relatively good for some but a bit slow for most, the cooler conditions have brought an increase in bites, action and quality of fish for a lot of those looking for some keeper fish for the table and even a few trophy size fish, some up to 9 pounds, being found here and there. Soft baits such as DOA shrimp and paddle tails rigged on jig heads have been a great bait while others have been utilizing varying colors of Mirrolure’s in their arsenal to catch some decent fish. Live baits such as finger mullet and live shrimp fished on popping cork have also been working well in areas that the larger trout are being found, which has mainly been around the jetties and lower Cape Fear River areas.
Red drum have also been plentiful for anglers and are being caught on the same baits and also fresh cut bait soaked on the bottom near the deeper creek mouths and channels. Most of the inshore fish are in the slot limit while those found around the inlets have been mainly over slot. Some fish have also been reported coming from the surf areas with both slot and larger fish being encountered.
The king mackerel action was pretty good just off the beach last week, with some good fishing being found in the five mile range. Some lucky anglers fishing in areas just a couple of miles more offshore also reported running into an occasional dolphin and those really lucky reported getting into some action with sailfish within ten miles of the beach. With conditions as they were this is not that surprising other than it being the month of November. Unfortunately those spectacular near shore catches are more than likely done for the year but anglers can always anticipate the possibilities for next year which will be here before you know it.
Elsewhere, the surf fishing has been decent for Virginia mullet and pompano and in certain areas, lots of spots. Fresh shrimp is a good bet for those wanting some fresh fish for dinner. Cut bait has been producing some red drum and flounder and an occasional bluefish. With current forecast calling for the weather conditions to remain stable for the upcoming week, expect some decent fishing to be had all along the coast. Offshore forecasts are not looking all that great for boaters, which again, is normal for this time of year, but be ready, because there’ll still be an opportunity in there sooner or later, and if you’re prepared for late season offshore boating and fishing, you sure don’t want to miss it when it arrives.