Everything we do, and the success or failure of it, depends greatly on the weather. This has been the most unusual autumn. Southwest winds and warm one day, northwest and cold the next. Yesterday it was in the 70s, today it’s not supposed to get above the low 50s, and we’re battening down the hatches for another cold, windy weather event for the weekend.
Offshore fishing has been good, and as you know, fall is about my favorite time to be fishing. Not as many visitors here now, but the ones who come out for a fishing charter are rewarded with great action and lots of fish! Lots of citation size, 20+ pound blackfin tuna have been coming to the dock. These fighters can be caught a number of ways, including jigging, live bait fishing, kite fishing or trolling. King mackerel fishing has been good as usual for this time of year, and a lot of the charter guys are rigged up to take live menhaden to the hot spots and battle these speedsters on light tackle. Most of the time the strikes are on the surface, and are fast and explosive. Wahoo fishing was good last month, and I’m sure that if you had a pretty day to run down to the “deep south,” you would be rewarded with a few of these gorgeous and tasty gamefish.
Since I sold the big Godspeed, most of my commercial efforts have been focused on flounders in the sound. This year, as I mentioned, the weather dictated our success, or lack thereof. It was a slow, late start for most of us, due to hot water in the sound. Once the temperatures started cooling off, we had a couple good weeks, but it cooled off so quickly that the season was over about as quick as it started.
The pound netters had some good fishing for the flat fish, but it was a less than stellar year for me. There have been lots of mullet in the sound, and fishermen have done well cast netting and gill netting these jumping baitfish. Commercial king mackerel fishing was one of my favorite fisheries to participate in, and – as with the sportfishing guys – the fishing has been great. Trolling with menhaden strips and spoons is the traditional method of commercial kingfishing, and is typically good through the end of the year. Gill netters in the ocean will typically set for croakers this time of year, but I heard that the best fishing has still been a little further up the coast, towards Oregon Inlet, so far this fall. The longliners usually do well on swords this time of year, as well as yellowfin and big eye tuna.
The inshore fishing guides did very well on speckled and grey trout this fall. Lots of small specks were reported, but there were some nice keepers landed as well.
Drum fishing was off the chain as well, with all sizes being caught, from the bigger “bulls,” yearlings, and nice slot size puppies. The colder water temps have pushed a lot of the fish that were in the sound out into the ocean now, so things are winding down for these guys.
I’ve talked to a number of locals who have headed out to the beach to take advantage of the action in the surf. North of Cape Point, I heard that the flounder fishing has been great. I’ve also heard about an abundance of speckled trout and drum. I would have to imagine that there is a pretty good sign of sea mullet as well.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over and gone, but there are still shops open and sales on for those looking for some cool stuff to buy for Christmas. Why not head on out for one last beach weekend? Enjoy the beach, catch some fish, and pick up some gifts – all in one swoop! Merry Christmas, everyone!