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We’ve been toying around with feelings of fall for about a month now, but as of today, there is no doubt fall is here.
You’ve heard me say it many times, but there is no place like the Carolinas in October. And besides the light north winds, comfortable temperatures and low humidity, fishing is about to be incredible.
This past week the king mackerel bite fired off again in the vicinity of the Cape Fear ship channel. One day they’d bite at Yaupon reef, the next day near Ocean Crest pier and the next in the river channel, but regardless, there have been good early fall catches, which will no doubt kick in to overdrive this week.
With lows in the 50s, water temperatures will fall into the low to mid-70s range, which is ideal for hot king mackerel fishing.
It just so happens this weekend is also the annual U.S Open King Mackerel tournament, based at Southport, and the fishing this year looks to be just as good as, if not better than, fishing in previous years.
This tournament has been around for more than 25 years, and annually hundreds of fishermen from the southeast compete for the $25,000 top prize. One of the best things about this tournament is the fishing is historically predictable and accessible to almost any size boat.
This year will be no different, as I can nearly guarantee the winning fish will come from within sight of land and almost certainly from the Cape Fear ship channel. The beachfront is lined with schools of menhaden, mullet, bluefish and Spanish mackerel—all favorite foods of king mackerel.
Looking ahead at the weather, the long-range forecast looks promising for the weekend, so get your boat and your gear ready for some great fall king mackerel fishing.
However, if you aren’t a kingfish person, don’t be alarmed. The grouper fishing has been good in the range of 70-100 feet. As is typical for this time of year, most of the grouper are gag grouper, aka greys, which are the largest and considered best eating of the grouper family.
The thing you must remember is the limit for gag grouper is one per person, so plan your fishing day accordingly.
That’s pretty much the story for this week. I am excited about the weeks of great fishing ahead and the tournament this weekend.
For more information on the U.S Open King Mackerel tournament, contact the Southport Chamber of Commerce at (910) 457-6964.
Good luck and good fishing.
BRANT McMULLAN is a charter captain and fishing columnist for the Beacon. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.