THIS Weekend!

•October 17, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Finally getting out there.  Myself.  Live, in person.  It’s been a difficult fall…or whatever you want to call the weather for the past month.  First Florence, and then Michael which screwed up my plans for last weekend — fishing was good, but we lost power here in the Piedmont, so I couldn’t really leave the family to fend for themselves.

This weekend looks a little trickier, weather-wise, with a great window on Friday, following a cold front rolling through now, but then Saturday the SW picks up on the front end of the next cold front – definitely not the worst conditions, but for someone who prefers lure fishing for speckled trout and puppy drum, I’d rather have the lesser winds stick around for a bit.  I’ll make do – hey, I am bringing nine rods.  I can bait fish too!

Fishing has been good.  Amazingly, Spanish mackerel are still hitting north of Oregon Inlet.  By this time of year, they are usually absent from all of the Outer Banks, at least from the surf zone.  I think they will be leaving soon with cold front after cold front finally making up for lost time, but maybe I’ll have a shot at them this weekend.  And, if not, everything else should pick up the slack: blues galore, drum of all sizes, specks (mostly small but some keepers starting to show) and bottom fish. Reports from further south in NC are harder to come by, due to storm damage, but its safe to say that the fall progression is underway.

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This weekend…

•September 22, 2018 • Leave a Comment

This weekend would be a good one to hit the Outer Banks.  The southeastern beaches are still in rough and – in some cases – inaccessible condition due to Hurricane Florence.  However, Ocracoke north is open and in good shape. The fishing is picking up.  We haven’t had much fall-like weather yet, first day of fall notwithstanding.  However, hurricanes have a tendency to kick things up, especially in that northern edge where the winds run mostly north and northeast.  Copious amount of rain also doesn’t hurt for driving fish out of the rivers and sounds toward the ocean.

Blues and Spanish have started reappearing at the Outer Banks the past few days and big drum are starting to run, mostly on the piers north of Cape Hatteras.  Small speckled trout and a nice variety of bottom fish including some particularly large pompano have made for a good couple days on the Banks.  The weekend weather looks nice and fishing should remain good.

Fishing Report – July 23

•July 23, 2017 • Leave a Comment

It’s been a while since my last report and, frankly, we haven’t missed much.  It’s been a weird surf season for sure, starting off great in March and April, slowing down in May and slowing to a crawl in June and July.

Ironically, the culprits are probably both hot (south of Oregon Inlet) and cold (north of Oregon Inlet) water. Water temperatures north of Oregon Inlet have been in the high 50s-mid 60s for most of the summer, due to persistent SW winds that are hot, but also cause ocean upwelling that cools off the surf zone. Accordingly, there have been few of the prized summer quarry of Spanish and king mackerel, bluefish, pompano and the like. Rather, its been mostly scattered small bottom fish. There have been pretty good flounder in the surf, mostly taken on Gulp! baits.

Things haven’t been much better on Hatteras Island or further south either, with most of the action consisting of sharks around the Point, and more scattered bottom fish along all the beaches. There have been some Spanish and blues, but widely scattered from day to day. Black drum and puppy drum have been caught up and down the beach but not consistently.

The real bright spot of the summer has been the sound fishing for both puppy drum and speckled trout, with strong action particularly for trout, and some very nice sized fish including an 8.5 pounder from an inshore charter out of Hatteras this weekend. Trout fishing has been excellent all along the coast, with both strong numbers and nice sizes. Although typically considered a Brunswick County summer pier fishing phenomenon, pier fishing for trout has been good as far north as the Topsail Island piers. Again, good sizes.

Ironically (or not), the fishing to our north (as in New Jersey) had a similar pattern, with tons of bluefish early in the season, but a weak spring striper run. They’ve had good flounder fishing this summer as well.

The prognosis moving forward in the summer would have to be more of the same, unless the pattern of persistent SW winds change to onshore bringing better water and more predatory fish.

May 16, 2017 Fishing Report

•May 16, 2017 • Leave a Comment

After a torrid April start to the surf season, May has quieted down a bit. In North Carolina, there are still some big blues around, but much fewer than there had been. Delaware and Jersey have them thick now. Drum are also still being caught but not in the same numbers as they had. There is a distinct transition to early summer happening; a bit early, not not abnormally so.

Sea mullet have picked up some of the slack, no doubt feeding easier now that most of the choppers are gone. Spanish mackerel have been caught up the coast to Cape Hatteras, with the southeastern piers seeing good runs of Spanish and small blues on gotcha plugs consistently.

The speckled trout bite has slowed north of Oregon Inlet, but there are still some being caught, though mostly shorts. The sound has lots of small stripers and good trout fishing. Pups and yearlings are scattered along most beaches.

In Jersey, some nice weakfish are starting to be caught, but the trick is to avoid the blues. In addition to chopper blues, some nice stripers are staring to show up, but the best is probably yet to come.

I’m at Ocracoke for the week, and the fishing is only fair. The weather and conditions, however, are great. I caught a nice 47″ drum Sunday night and have had a good number of sea mullet and small biter sharks on small bottom rigs. No bluefish yet, of any size! More later.

Water temps from low-mid 60s north to mid 70s south, but a picture is worth a thousand words:

May 16, 2017 temps

Right Time, Right Place. Right Time, Wrong Place. Wrong Time, Right Place.

•April 28, 2017 • Leave a Comment

That’s pretty much fishing, isn’t it? (except for the ever-popular Wrong Time, Wrong Place!) This past weekend, I hit all three in the title.

Right Time, Right Place: south of a pier north of Oregon Inlet, light SW winds, beautiful evening.  Lots of nice trout along with some blues.  I find it unusually cool that we catch trout north of the piers in the fall and south of the piers in the spring.  Catching them moving south in the fall, and north in the spring.  The fact that this equation works validates our theories and assumptions, when so much about fishing only confounds them!

Right Time, Wrong Place: I fished a GREAT hole north of Cape Point Saturday, while everyone caught fish within spitting distance (but not quite my line of sight) south of the Point.  I should have known better, with the SW wind and all, but I was really enjoying my own private hole and probably a few too many beers.  I did catch a couple small things (blowtoads, sea mullet) and lost a big blue in the suds, but it was sssssllllllooooowwww.

Wrong Time, Right Place: South of the Point, but on a hard NE blow Sunday (boy that thing came in quick and with a fury!).  There were a few big blues caught, but not by me. However, there was a pretty steady bite of (small) sea mullet and toads. And, for the record, I did try fishing into the wind, at my own private hole north of the Point and it was much the same as the day before.

Oh well, Friday night was really good and made my weekend.  So did the speckled trout ceviche last night!

ceviche - 1

It’s Spring!

•April 15, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Exhibit A:

plot_met

Look at that jump in water temperature at Duck on the switch to a NE wind.  Somewhat paradoxical that a “cold front” wind would jump the water temperature, but that’s what happens when onshore winds blow warmer surface water into the surf zone.  The fishing rose precipitously with the increase in water temperature as well.  Lots of puppy drum and trout with some big bluefish on the northern Outer Banks.  Avalon Pier in KDH reported some big trout after dark last night.  Further south, it is mostly the same, just more consistent.  Big drum have been hitting the Point and areas south for a couple weeks, and big bluefish are everywhere along the coast in good numbers (the first big blues showed in early March given the warm late winter), along with the standard spring fare of blowtoads, sea mullet, black drum, and even some (very) early big pompano.  There have also been lots of small stripers mixed with the pups and trout in the surf zone north of Oregon Inlet, along with a small handful of big stripers.  The coastal fishing is hot in other words.

The rivers are generally fishing well also, when the flow and clarity is reasonable. The usual for this time of year.  Hickory shad are just about done, but American shad are in full swing, and stripers are on the move.  With the very warm weather we are having, the up-river migration and spawn will be peaking shortly. Lots of white bass on the Piedmont rivers, although the big females may already be gone.

I’ve gotten a few river trips in, along with a nice February weekend at the coast, that although pretty, didn’t produce anything.  A mix of pics below. Will be fishing next week, somewhere.

Water temps, for the record: Norther OBX: low 50s (on SW winds) to mid-upper 50s (on NE). South, the range is more like low 60s to upper 60s.

 

Crazy weather, good fishing

•December 21, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I usually try to use the wind, tide, and surf forecasts to chart out an approach prior to a fishing trip – especially a short weekend trip where time is of the essence – but this past weekend was just perplexing with odd conditions for late fall. It started with a snotty, cold day Friday with highs in the 30s, moderate-to-strong northerly winds, and light rain. Saturday saw a wind shift to the southwest, fair skies, and much warmer temperatures in the 60s. And Sunday was warmer yet. My plan, such as it was, was to just try my favorite spots and adjust from there. Fortunately, my favorite spots held fish, more-or-less regardless of conditions.

Friday night (actually early Saturday morning), I braved wind, rain, and frozen fingers and had a good flurry of fish with three nice keeper trout on successive casts. Saturday was mostly for recovery (my target of low tide fell at the ungodly hour of about 3:30 am Saturday) and time with my wife, with another couple stints on the early rise around sunset when I had a couple nice trout in quick succession, and then the best stop of the trip early Sunday morning when I had steady action with small trout and blues mixed with a four fish limit of nice trout. The bigger fish really seemed to stalk and ambush my mirrolure – fun night!

Elsewhere in North Carolina, surf fishing reports have been pretty scarce with the fairly cold fall-winter weather pattern continuing and surf fishing effort lagging.  Water temps in southeastern NC are in the mid-to-upper 50s. Far north, at Duck, water temps are in the upper 40s. Cape Hatteras and south through Ocracoke are (probably) ranging from the mid-50s to low-60s. Clearly trout are a good bet from any good beach with water temperatures above about 55 F. It’s been a good year for trout (great in inside waters) and they should continue to hit with favorable conditions. We’ve probably seen the last of the big drum in the surf, but puppy drum, black drum, sea mullet, and blowtoads are all good bets for bottom fishing with bait. This is one of the better times of the year for bottom fishing the surf in southeastern NC, in particular.

Elsewhere along the Atlantic Coast, Jersey saw a great run of big blues and stripers for a few weeks, but it kind of peaked out around Thanksgiving and lately those surf casters are in a winter close-out pattern of only short stripers very close to the beach.