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There’s just no way to paint this picture and make it look too bright; fishing has been tough.
The King mackerel just can’t get their act together as they start to bite one day then absolutely shut down the next. The weather was a real problem a couple weeks ago, but after it settled, I expected the king fishing to get much better; it really did not. However, do not get too discouraged, as there are fish out there and a variety of Mahi-mahi, cobia, sailfish, kings and big Spanish are making for decent catches. If you can’t load the boat with one species, one or two of each makes for a pretty good catch as well.
Close to shore, the Spanish mackerel bite has been slower than last week, but there are still plenty available along the beach in 25-35 feet as well as farther offshore near reefs in 40-60 feet of water.
The kings, Mahi-mahi cobia and sailfish we are encountering are all scattered over structure in 60-90 feet of water.
Speaking of sailfish, this weekend is the first Cape Fear Sailfish Classic. The all-release sailfish tournament will be hosted out of the Ocean Isle Fishing Center. Registration and the captains’ meeting will be on Aug. 12 at the Ocean Isle Fishing Center and fishing will be Aug. 13 and Aug. 14. The awards ceremony is Aug. 15 at the Ocean Isle Fishing Center.
Sailfish are frequently encountered during the summer months by fishermen from this area as a bycatch to king mackerel fishing. However, there are specific ways to target this beautiful, hard-fighting game fish. This tournament will offer fishermen the chance to target the sailfish and to learn and employ these techniques right here off our beaches.
Seminars and special instruction will be part of the captains’ meeting Thursday evening, so stop by to learn about this fishery and give the tournament a try. For more information on the Cape Fear Sailfish Classic, visit www.capefearsailfishclassic.com.
Beyond the above report, the other fishery not mentioned is bottom fishing. The grouper are starting to make their annual migration inshore. Right now good numbers are holding in 90-110 feet of water. As the month progresses, gag grouper will move inshore and take up residence in the 60-90 feet of water.
The dog days will continue for another month or so, but relief is on the horizon. I will have updates and reports at www.OIFC.com and I’ll catch you back here next week for a weekly recap.
BRANT McMULLAN is a charter captain and fishing columnist for the Beacon. Reach him at email@example.com.