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Brunswick County fishermen are sitting on go, waiting for summer to arrive

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By Brant McMullan, Fishing Correspondent

You ever get the feeling summer is never going to get here? The past couple of weeks have been very nice, but it’s been just cool enough to keep water temperatures stable instead of rising. And that’s what we need right now, warmer water temperatures. However, just as soon as I complain about the cool, I’ll soon be complaining about the heat, so I guess patience is required.
In talking to area fishermen as well as prospective charter clients, it seems most are holding out their serious fishing efforts for May. One of the big factors cited is the scheduled opening of the grouper season May 1. Beyond that, May is historically one of the best all-around months in this area to catch everything from dolphin in the Gulf Stream to speckled trout at the jetties. The Spanish and king mackerel show, the grouper season opens. It’s a good time to go fishing.
We have two more weeks to “practice” up before we have to get serious in May. So get ready. I have my boat on the starting line and the checkered flag is about to wave. Don’t go a lap down from the get-go, be ready.
This past week the weather did offer offshore fishermen a chance to get out for a couple of days. Daniel Simmons and Bryan Freeman caught a 47-pound wahoo and some blackfin while fishing the Steeples area. The reported seeing water temperatures to 71 degrees, which is much improved.
Closer in, the sea bass bite continues red-hot from 100 feet all the way inshore to 40 feet of water. They are hungry, and just thinking of them makes me hungry too. Inshore, the trout bite is getting a little better, but it’s been slow to mature, most in part to the cool temperatures.
The redfish have been biting pretty well, too. One of the big nearshore fisheries that’s taking place right now is the whiting run. I’ve been hearing about it each spring for the past couple of years, but it seems to be getting better every year. A hotspot is the mouth of the Cape Fear, but other reports include a hot bite from the Ocean Crest pier.
Whiting run along the beach, so it’s acceptable to assume the Whiting are running off of Holden, Ocean Isle and Sunset as well. I’m no expert, but I do remember from back in the day that the Whiting typically run right in the surf or just behind the waves.
If you fish the end of the pier or cast too far from the beach, you’ll be fishing past where they are swimming. Other than that, some fresh shrimp on the bottom should get the job done and lead to some very good eating.  
The annual Martini’s Hook A Wahoo Rodeo has begun, and fishermen can choose to fish one out of days: last Saturday until this Saturday. It looks as it the weather will be nice Wednesday and then maybe again Friday.
I would not be surprised to see a 100-plus pound Wahoo win this tournament. There are some big ones out there, and over this next week the 47 teams that have entered will all be looking. Results can be found on the web at www.martinisfinedining.com and in the report next week.
That’s pretty much the scoop this week. May is in sight and so is warmer weather. Patience is a virtue to being a successful fisherman; or is it stubbornness? My experience says the latter. See you on the water.

Brant McMullan is a charter captain and fishing columnist for the Beacon. Reach him at captbrant@oifishingcenter.com.