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I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend. Mother Nature did her part and gave us one of the nicest weather weekends we have had all year.
It was beautiful. Offshore fishermen were finally given a multiple-day weather window to get offshore and take advantage of the area’s great late fall fishing. The Gulf Stream yielded good catches of wahoo with mixed in Mahi-mahi and blackfin tuna. The bite was not red-hot but respectable with most catches bringing in multiple wahoo, averaging in the 40- to 50- pound class.
Closer inshore about 15 or so miles, the king mackerel bite has been red-hot near the Frying Pan Tower. If you can’t catch one now, you might as well take up another sport.
It is a long way, but the good news is the weather was great and once you’ve had your fill of kings, you are near prime bottom fishing grounds for snapper or grouper. Slow trolling dead cigar minnows has been sufficient to catch all the kings you can stand in the 12- to 18-pound range.
Move a bit closer in and the rumors start flying, as fishermen traversing to the offshore waters are swearing up and down they have seen bluefin tuna near the knuckle buoy off Frying Pan shoal.
There are big schools of menhaden offshore in this area and the bluefin are nearby. I do not know anyone who has put forth any effort to catch the bluefin, but it has got me a bit eager to go give it a try. Maybe this year we can make up for the last year’s lackluster showing.
Although not quite as glamorous as the offshore fishing world, the inshore fishing is where the best action has been for the past week or so. The speckled trout bite has been extremely good; even I got out and caught some, and that means they are biting.
The Shallotte River, Lockwood’s Folly River and Bonaparte’s Creek areas are a couple of the hot spots. However, I know people have been catching trout just about everywhere.
The weird thing is many of the trout are in the 12-to 14-inch range. Many are throwbacks. There have been few trout caught more than 4 pounds, which is unusual for this time of year.
So, last year supposedly it got so cold there was a big trout kill and Marine Fisheries had to close the fishery all spring and early summer.
However, we now have what many are saying is the best “numbers” trout fishing they have ever seen.
Wouldn’t you think a cold-weather fish kill would affect the smaller fish more than the larger? I don’t have an answer, but it is a question worth consideration.
Anyway, the fishing has been good, and I know many folks visiting over the holiday weekend had successful fishing outings.
I will keep you posted on what is going on, and I’m hoping soon report the arrival of Bluefin tuna.