If you haven’t yet had a chance to wet a hook during the month of May, I wouldn’t wait too much longer, as this month has been one of the best that our area has seen in quite some time and while it is not showing any signs of slowing down just yet, it’s bound to happen sooner or later. It’s hard to believe that we’re only in the middle of the month. Water temperatures are reading in the lower 70s and the fishing reports are more than can be summarized into a logical weekly report as by next week there will be even more to talk about.
Spanish mackerel! That’s it and they’re everywhere: along the beach, off the beach, and in the sounds already. Everywhere! But as usual there’s a catch — no pun intended. A lot of the fish are on the smaller side and while most are legal, careful measuring is mandated unless you want to take that chance, and really with the abundance of fish being found, why would you or anyone try to keep that one undersized fish. Trolled Clark Spoons on small planers seem to be the ticket although some anglers are still having fun finding the schools and sight casting to them but that proves rather difficult when the fishing is being done over the weekend when everyone else is looking for the same thing. Water depths of around 30 feet are a good place to start and then adjust depths accordingly once you find the fish, which shouldn’t be too difficult if the numbers of fish remain the same. If you’re looking for some larger Spanish, there are still a few being found off of Fort Fisher as well as some around the Topsail area.
There have been a few very small king mackerel mixed in with the Spanish so be sure to know what you’re putting in the cooler as the kings have a much different size and possession limit than the Spanish do. For possession, size and identification information, visit the Marine Fisheries website at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/
For the larger kings, they have started showing in pretty good numbers around 10 miles out of Wrightsville Beach. The Brunswick County beaches have been seeing a good run of large fish being caught off the pier which should be an indicator that it won’t be too much longer in the local waters. Another fish whose arrival is highly anticipated is the cobia and the past week has seen a couple of fish being caught in our waters with the main arrival continuing into the month of June. The limit for these fish has been reduced to one fish per person with a 33-inch fork-length minimum. The season for cobia will also be closing during the month of June so if your goal is a trophy fish in a brown suit, it’s time to get serious.
Along the nearshore reefs, wrecks and live bottom, the flounder fishing has been pretty good with some decent fish being reported. Those fish are also starting to come into the inlets, allowing some good inshore fishing as well. The baitfish are becoming more plentiful by the day and those flounder are getting bigger daily as well.
Offshore the fishing is also producing good numbers of dolphin, wahoo and tuna, both blackfin and a few yellowfin. Ocean conditions are the main cause of few to no reports and this week doesn’t look that great, but there’s always next week to cross your fingers for.